Bone marrow is a delicacy that has been enjoyed by many cultures for centuries. It’s a fatty tissue found in the center of animal bones, and it’s known for its rich flavor and nutritional benefits.
But with all the talk about cholesterol and heart health, you may be wondering if beef bone marrow is high in cholesterol. In this article, we’ll explore the nutritional profile of beef bone marrow and whether or not it’s something you should be adding to your diet.
So, let’s dive in and find out if this delicious treat is as bad for your heart as some people claim.
Is Beef Bone Marrow High In Cholesterol?
Yes, beef bone marrow does contain cholesterol. However, the actual quantity can vary depending on the animal from which the bone marrow is obtained, as well as the specific cut of meat.
Bone marrow is a rich source of nutrients and minerals, including vitamin B12, iron, and phosphorus. It’s also high in fat and calories, which can be a concern for those watching their weight or trying to maintain a healthy diet.
One tablespoon of raw beef bone marrow contains approximately 30 milligrams of cholesterol. While this may seem like a lot, it’s important to remember that dietary cholesterol does not have as significant an impact on blood cholesterol levels as was once believed.
In fact, recent studies have shown that consuming moderate amounts of dietary cholesterol may not increase the risk of heart disease in healthy individuals. However, those with existing heart conditions or high cholesterol levels should still exercise caution and limit their intake of high-cholesterol foods.
What Is Beef Bone Marrow?
Beef bone marrow is a culinary and butchery term used to refer to the marrow found in the bones of cows. It is typically obtained from the femur, shank, or tibia bones of the animal, which are cut for eating. The femur bone, being the largest bone in the animal, has the best marrow-to-bone ratio and is often preferred by butchers and chefs for its easy and uniform cuts.
Bone marrow is a type of spongy tissue found in the center of bones, which contains stem cells that develop into red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets. These cells are responsible for various functions in the body, including oxygen transportation, immune function, and blood clotting. Beef bone marrow is commonly consumed in many types of cuisine due to its rich, slightly sweet flavor and smooth texture.
While beef bone marrow is high in fat and calories, it is also a rich source of nutrients and minerals such as vitamin B12, iron, and phosphorus. It can be served alongside toast or used as a base for soup. It can also be used to make bone broth or spread over bread, roasted vegetables, or meat dishes.
Nutritional Profile Of Beef Bone Marrow
When it comes to the nutritional profile of beef bone marrow, it’s important to note that this food is primarily made up of fat, with small amounts of protein and no carbohydrates. One tablespoon of raw beef bone marrow contains approximately 12 grams of fat and 1 gram of protein.
In terms of vitamins and minerals, beef bone marrow is a good source of vitamin B12, providing 7% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) in just one tablespoon. It also contains small amounts of other nutrients, including riboflavin (6% of RDI), iron (4% of RDI), vitamin E (2% of RDI), phosphorus (1% of RDI), thiamine (1% of RDI), and vitamin A (1% of RDI).
Aside from these known nutrients, bone marrow is also believed to contain other important compounds such as collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and is essential for maintaining healthy skin and joints. Glucosamine and chondroitin are commonly used supplements for joint health, while CLA has been linked to various health benefits including weight loss.
It should be noted that while beef bone marrow does contain cholesterol, the amount is relatively small at approximately 30 milligrams per tablespoon. As mentioned earlier, dietary cholesterol does not have as significant an impact on blood cholesterol levels as once believed.
Cholesterol Content In Beef Bone Marrow
The cholesterol content of beef bone marrow can vary depending on the source. According to research, one tablespoon of raw beef bone marrow contains approximately 30 milligrams of cholesterol. It’s important to note that this amount can vary depending on the specific cut of meat and the animal from which the bone marrow is obtained.
While beef bone marrow does contain cholesterol, it’s important to remember that dietary cholesterol does not have as significant an impact on blood cholesterol levels as was once believed. Recent studies have shown that consuming moderate amounts of dietary cholesterol may not increase the risk of heart disease in healthy individuals.
However, it’s still recommended that those with existing heart conditions or high cholesterol levels limit their intake of high-cholesterol foods, including beef bone marrow. It’s also important to consider the high fat and calorie content of bone marrow when incorporating it into your diet and to consume it in moderation.
Health Benefits Of Beef Bone Marrow
Despite its high fat content and cholesterol levels, beef bone marrow offers various health benefits that make it a valuable addition to your diet.
Firstly, bone marrow is a rich source of stem cells that can help your body produce both red and white blood cells. These specialized cells move oxygen throughout your bloodstream and reduce the chance of blood clotting. Additionally, bone marrow contains myeloid and lymphoid stem cells that contribute to cell repair and regeneration, improving the immunity of the body.
Secondly, bone marrow is full of collagen, which improves the health and strength of bones and skin. It is also rich in glucosamine, a compound that helps against osteoarthritis, relieves joint pain, and reduces inflammation in the joints.
Thirdly, bone marrow contains glycine and conjugated linoleic acid, both of which have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation is linked to serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s. Therefore, consuming bone marrow regularly can help reduce the risk of inflammation-related diseases.
Finally, bone marrow contains adiponectin hormone that helps break down fats and maintain insulin sensitivity. It has been linked to lower risk of diabetes, cardiovascular (heart) disease, and other obesity-associated cancers. High levels of adiponectin are directly linked to a decreased risk of getting diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases.
Risks And Precautions Of Consuming Beef Bone Marrow
While beef bone marrow offers various health benefits, it’s important to be aware of the risks and precautions associated with consuming it.
Firstly, as mentioned above, beef bone marrow is high in fat and calories. Overconsumption of high-fat foods can lead to weight gain and other health issues. It’s important to consume beef bone marrow in moderation and as part of a balanced diet.
Additionally, beef bone marrow contains cholesterol, which could be a concern for individuals with high cholesterol levels or heart conditions. While dietary cholesterol may not have as significant an impact on blood cholesterol levels as was once believed, it’s still important to exercise caution and limit consumption of high-cholesterol foods.
Another potential risk associated with consuming beef bone marrow is the presence of harmful bacteria. Proper cooking and handling of the meat is essential to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. It’s recommended to cook beef bone marrow to an internal temperature of at least 145°F (63°C) to ensure that any harmful bacteria are destroyed.
Lastly, it’s important to consider the source of the beef bone marrow. Grass-fed, organic beef is generally considered a healthier option as it contains fewer toxins and higher levels of beneficial nutrients.
How To Incorporate Beef Bone Marrow Into Your Diet
If you’re interested in incorporating beef bone marrow into your diet, there are several delicious and nutritious ways to do so.
First and foremost, it’s important to source your bone marrow from a quality butcher. Look for clean bones that are pale pink in color and come from animals that lived organically and range-free. Beef marrow is the most popular type of bone marrow, but you can also get it from other animals such as lamb or pork.
One traditional way to use bone marrow is in a broth or soup. To extract the marrow, simmer the bones for 36 to 48 hours. The thickness or richness of your liquid will dictate how much marrow you should put in. You can also use bone marrow like you would work with any other type of oil. Heat it up on a frying pan and let it melt, then dig the marrow out of the bone with a spoon and put it on a hot skillet with some olive oil or canola oil.
Another great way to use bone marrow is in a sauce, especially for meat dishes. Extract the marrow as you would for a broth and add it into your sauce for an extra boost of flavor and nutrition.
You can also enjoy bone marrow just like butter – spread some on a cracker or a piece of toast. It’s like a trough of garlic butter, but with concentrated meat goodness! Serve it alongside a hearty steak or add it to your favorite winter vegetable soup for a velvety texture and rich taste.
Finally, once you’ve eaten the marrow, don’t throw away the bones. They can go into a crockpot to make a bone broth, which is a great way to get even more nutrients out of your meals.
Incorporating beef bone marrow into your diet can provide a variety of health benefits, but remember to consume it in moderation and consult with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your cholesterol levels.