August 8, 2012 by Warren Wilkinson
Two months ago I wrote my first nutrition analysis on meat. Since then, my methods have improved and I’m going to revisit this topic again.
The question is: Which meats are brain foods, and how much better cooked is compared to raw.
So how about eating offal? Here are the brain-nutrients in 50 calories of various animal products.
(The USDA has no DHA data for raw lamb liver and raw lamb lung)
50 calories of meat isn’t much. 20 to 30 grams of these foods is about 50 calories. Eight pennies weigh 20 grams.
Conventional cuts from don’t have any DHA, fish does. Conventional cuts don’t offer many brain nutrients.
Our ancestors would consume all of a whole chicken and not the breast meat of twenty. But modern consumers tend to eat just a few, nutrient poor, cuts.
Even in tribes, members probably ate a wider range of cuts and offal than modern man. Wild animals prefer organ meat to muscle meat, and will eat that first — sometimes leaving the rest.
Cooked vs Uncooked meat nutrition
Lets take a look at uncooked vs cooked Lamb meat:
Cooking changes the nutrition profile, but not in a consistent way. While cooking destroys B-12 in liver, it makes it more accessible in hearts and kidneys.
But these quantities are determined by lab machines. What our digestive system can actually absorb might be very different. Half as much vitamin B-12 in an easily digestible cooked form might be better than double in the raw form. Just like a million dollars in a bank’s vault won’t buy the ice cream that $3.50 in your pocket will.
But, for kicks… here is fish, cooked vs uncooked.
Cooked vs uncooked fish has very little nutritional difference. Eat sushi because you like the taste.
Composite Meats Vs Fish
Lets compare a composite of lamb vs salmon. The lamb composite is 20 cal Lamb Liver, 20 cal Lamb brain, and 10 cal Lamb kidney — something you might find in a homemade sausage. Both the composite and the fish are cooked.
A full serving of either Lamb medley or fish would probably have your daily DHA and B-12 (these are graphs of only 50 cal of each). But to get your DHA with land animals you need to eat the brain. If you won’t, eat fish.
Zinc is in short supply on an all fish diet. But Zinc is abundant in mollusks (clams, mussels, etc). It’s also abundant in red meat and poultry. So if you are eating lots of fish, consider having some clams — or some land animals from time to time. Also lots of cereals products are fortified with Zinc.
If you are going to try eating brain be careful about prions. They’re like a disease, but different than viri, bacteria and fungal infections. I don’t know much about these.