The offal refers to those parts of a meat animal which are used as food but which are not skeletal muscle. The term literally means “off fall”, or the pieces which fall from a carcass when it is butchered. Originally the word applied principally to the entrails. It now covers insides including the HEART, LIVER, and LUNGS (collectively known as the pluck), all abdominal organs and extremities: TAILS, FEET, and HEAD including BRAINS and TONGUE. In the USA the expressions “organ meats” or “variety meats” are used instead. Offal from birds is usually referred to as GIBLETS.
Organ meats are the most concentrated source of just about every nutrient, including important vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and essential amino acids.
Not unlike liver, kidney supplies good quality protein, essential fatty acids and many vitamins including all the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Kidneys are a rich source of iron and all the B vitamins. They also have good levels of zinc.
Like liver and kidneys, heart is an excellent source of protein, B vitamins and iron. They do contain some essential fatty acids and a little vitamin A. Heart contains appreciable levels of taurine which is important nutrient for the heart!
Heart is a very concentrated source of the supernutrient, Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10, important for cardiovascular health and also rich in kidney and liver), contains an abundance of Vitamin A, Vitamin B12; folic acid, iron, selenium, phosphorus and zinc, and is the number one food source of copper. Heart also contains twice as much collagen and elastin than regular meat (which means it is rich in the amino acids glycine and proline), which are essential for connective tissue health.
Tripe is the edible lining and accompanying content of a cow or other ruminant’s first or second division of the stomach. Paunch tripe comes from the large first stomach division and honeycomb tripe comes from the second division. Both wild canids and domestic dogs benefit from eating tripe as it contains a very diverse profile of living nutrients including enzymes, omega- 3 and 6 fatty acids, probiotics, and phytonutrients. It has long been quoted as being “the finest of natural foods”.
Liver is an important source of retinol, which is pre-formed vitamin A. Just three ounces of beef liver contains 26,973 IU of vitamin A, while pork liver and chicken liver contain 15,306 IU and 11,335 IU, respectively. Folate, choline, and vitamin B12 are three more nutrients that are found abundantly in liver. Although all meats contain some amount ofvitamin B12, liver (especially beef liver) blows everything else out of the water, with almost three times as much B12 as kidney, seven times as much as heart, and about 17 times as much as tongue or ground beef. Cholineis concentrated mainly in egg yolks and liver, so if you aren’t eating egg yolks it’s important to get some liver into your diet. One of the main nutritional differences among the livers of different animals is copper content. Beef liver contains 14.3mg of copper per 100g, while chicken and pork livers contain less than 1mg.
Certain types of offal, including kidneys, stomach, intestines, heart, tongue, and liver, can be very high in cholesterol and saturated fats. This is visceral fat that nature has placed around it as a natural shock absorber for protection. If consumed in excess, thi increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases especially atherosclerosis.