About chicken heart
Organ meats are packed with nutrients, including high amounts of vitamins and minerals. Chicken heart is no exception. A 100-gram serving (about 3 ounces) of a cooked chicken heart contains:
- Protein: 26 grams
- Total fat: 8 grams
- Phosphorus: 199 milligrams
- Potassium: 132 milligrams
- Magnesium: 20 milligrams
- Calcium: 19 milligrams
- Iron: 9 milligrams
- Niacin (B3): 3 milligrams
- Pantothenic acid (B5): 2.6 milligrams
Organ meats are not the most popular sources of meat, mainly due to personal taste and religious or cultural reasons, but they’re often cheaper to buy. If you’re on a budget, eating some chicken heart can be an affordable part of a healthy diet.
Benefits of eating chicken heart
Chicken hearts have some health benefits. For instance, a chicken heart contains:
With 26 grams of protein in a 3-ounce serving, a chicken heart is an excellent source of protein. Your hair, skin, nails, internal organs, and many other body parts are produced and maintained using protein, so you need plenty for your body to function properly.
The National Academy of Medicine recommends that you maintain a daily protein intake of 7 grams for every 20 pounds of weight. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you’ll want about 52.5 grams of protein per day. One serving of chicken heart would get you halfway to your daily recommended intake.
Vitamins and minerals
A chicken heart is also rich in vitamins and minerals like iron, B vitamins, and selenium. You need iron to make hemoglobin, which is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen in your blood. Without enough iron, you will lose red blood cells and become weak and tired.
Eating a diet rich in iron can help you maintain healthy levels. Iron from animal food sources is often abundant and easier to absorb, so chicken heart and other organ meats can be excellent iron-rich options.
Organ meats are also an excellent source of selenium, which is an essential trace mineral. Selenium is important for proper thyroid function and protects against infections and cell damage. You only need small amounts (about 55 micrograms daily for adults), though it’s a higher priority for pregnant and nursing women. One serving of cooked chicken heart contains 8 micrograms of selenium.
Less saturated fat than some meats
Saturated fat is solid at room temperature and found in animal products, especially red meat and dairy products. Saturated fats are sometimes called unhealthy fats because they can raise your blood fat and cholesterol levels, which raises your risk of heart disease.
There is some debate about saturated fats, but experts suggest it’s best to limit fats from animal foods and mostly eat healthy fats from plants. The recommended limit for saturated fat is an amount equivalent to no more than 7 to 10 percent of your daily calories.
Chicken hearts contain a lot of saturated fat: about 2.26 grams per serving. However, this is less saturated fat than what you will find in a typical serving of ground beef or steak.
Consequently, a chicken heart could be a slightly better option than other meats if you’re looking to cut down on saturated fat intake, but it’s still best to eat it in moderation.
Possible risks of eating chicken heart
While chicken hearts have nutritional benefits, there are also potential risks associated with eating them.
Cholesterol and heart disease
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in your blood. Your body uses cholesterol to make cells, hormones, and vitamin D. It doesn’t dissolve well in blood or water, so it’s combined with fat into compounds called lipoproteins.
There are two main types of lipoproteins: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). When LDL builds up in your blood, it sticks to your arteries and causes them to narrow, leading to blood flow and heart problems.
A chicken heart is high in cholesterol: one 3-ounce serving contains 242 milligrams. For healthy people, this likely isn’t a problem, but it can be for some people with high cholesterol or those at risk of heart disease.
For a long time, experts said that eating foods high in cholesterol was harmful to everyone because it could raise your blood cholesterol levels and lead to heart disease. However, it’s not quite that simple.
The cholesterol in your blood comes from your liver, not your food, so having a diet high in cholesterol doesn’t mean you’ll have high blood cholesterol levels. More important factors include your genes, the types of fat in your diet, and the mix of fats and cholesterol in your blood. Some people are sensitive to cholesterol in foods and must be especially careful.
If you are healthy, the daily recommended amount of cholesterol is 300 milligrams per day. If you have high cholesterol, high blood fat, or other risks of heart disease, the limit is lower: 200 milligrams per day (less than the amount in a single serving of chicken heart).
Gout is arthritis that occurs when uric acid builds up (commonly in your foot) and forms crystals. Your body makes uric acid by breaking down purines from red meats, organ meats, seafood, and alcohol. Eating a lot of chicken heart, then, could raise uric acid levels and cause or worsen gout symptoms.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) occurs when you have too much fat in your liver, even though you drink little to no alcohol. Eventually, this excess fat can cause liver damage.
It’s possible that eating a lot of chicken heart could increase your risk for NAFLD. One study found that adults who ate organ meats had a moderately high risk of NAFLD, though more research is necessary.
Some chicken heart is likely okay for most people
Chicken hearts are often more affordable meat and can be a good way to get your daily protein intake. It’s also high in saturated fats, though. If you have high blood cholesterol or blood fat levels, you’ll want to avoid chicken heart and eat leaner proteins. Regardless, consider eating chicken hearts in moderation.
American Heart Association: "What is Cholesterol?” “Saturated Fat."
British Journal of Nutrition: "Organ meat consumption and risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: the TCLSIH study."
Cleveland Clinic: "The Pros and Cons of Eating Organ Meats."
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "Cholesterol," "Iron." "Protein," "Selenium," "Types of Fat."
Mayo Clinic: "Gout," "Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease."
Ockerman, H.W., Basu, L., Encylopedia of Meat Sciences, "BY-PRODUCTS: Edible, for Human Consumption," Elsevier, 2014.
University of California San Francisco Health: "Cholesterol Content of Foods."
U.S. Department of Agriculture FoodData Central: "Beef, ground, unspecified fat content, cooked," "Beef, short loin, t-bone steak, bone-in, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, choice, cooked, grilled," "Chicken, heart, all classes, cooked, simmered."
Top Is Eating Chicken Heart Good for You Related Articles
Bile Acid SequestrantsBile acid sequestrants are medications prescribed for lowering LDL cholesterol in conjunction with diet modifications. Bile acid sequestrants are not absorbed into the body, and therefore they do not have systemic side effects (affecting other organs). Their most common side effects are gastrointestinal and these include constipation, abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, excessive passage of gas (flatulence), heartburn, and gallstones.
chitosanChitosan is a complex carbohydrate (polysaccharide) derived from chitin, a major component of the shells of crabs, shrimps and clams, and also found in insects and cell wall of reishi mushrooms. Chitosan is orally taken as a supplement to aid weight loss and reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Common side effects of chitosan include constipation, flatulence (gas), bloating, nausea, and abdominal cramping. Allergic reaction in people with shellfish or mushroom allergy. Avoid if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Chitosan is likely safe for most adults if taken orally in recommended doses for up to three months.
Diet and Nutrition: Healthy Ways to Use Rotisserie ChickenHere's how to work this lean protein into everything from soups and salads, to wraps and tacos.
red yeast riceRed yeast rice has been used in China and other Asian countries for centuries as food and red yeast rice extract is used as a medicine to reduce blood cholesterol levels, and improve blood circulation and digestion. Common side effects of red yeast rice include nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, gas (flatulence), heartburn, gastritis, dizziness, muscle pain and weakness, muscle damage (rhabdomyolysis), increased creatine phosphokinase, liver damage, and increase in blood levels of liver enzymes. Do not take red yeast rice if pregnant or breastfeeding.
14 Delicious Ways to Season Your ChickenThere are many ways to season and prepare one of the most versatile meats in the world: chicken. Find out what they are with this WebMD slideshow.