Remember the scene from the movie Rocky where Sylvester Stallone wakes up before dawn and cracks five eggs into a glass? The fighter-in-training barely blinked an eye while gulping down the slimy cocktail. However, Rocky Balboa was onto something. Raw eggs can actually be good for you.
One raw egg has about 36 percent more vitamin D than a cooked egg. Those extra nutrients help in regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, which are vital for healthy bones and teeth, per Valerie Goldstein, Director of Nutrition at the Center for Balanced Health. If you do get a hankering to crack one into your post workout smoothie, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service does recommend that you use in-shell pasteurized eggs, as they have less of a risk for foodborne illness.
Maybe raw eggs are a bit too phlegmy in texture for you, though. No worries. Take a bite out of these downright disgusting options that will do wonders for your health.
Tripe is typically comprised of the first or second stomach of a cow. It is the mainstay of many soup and stew recipes from all over the world. However, the chewy texture can be a lot to, well, stomach if you aren’t so culinarily-inclined. Tripe resembles a honeycomb-like structure, although there’s nothing sweet about the pale flesh-colored flaps of beef. The taste is actually quite neutral. When prepared in soup, it absorbs the salts and seasonings of the broth, allowing for a more palatable consumption. Tripe is an excellent source of protein and is low in saturated fat. A 3.5 ounce serving of tripe contains twelve grams of lean protein, which is about a fifth of your daily recommendation, depending on age and weight. Feeling gutsy? Simmer some tripe in a broth of pigs feet and chiles, and you’ve got yourself a hearty homemade stew.
Chia seeds are high in fiber, protein and antioxidants. They are also slimy and yucky. Commonly prepared in liquids or added to moist foods, the tiny seeds develop a gelatinous coating when wet. Although they take some getting used to, the health benefits of chia seeds outweigh their unappealing texture. “The Antioxidants in chia seeds help counteract free radical damage to cells in the body,” says Goldstein. That means they can potentially protect the cell from aging, cancer, heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Your body also needs fiber to keep your digestion running smoothly. Chia seeds are excellent to eat when you’re feeling a little constipated. One ounce (about two tablespoons) of chia seeds has 10 grams of fiber, more than a bowl of oatmeal. If you can’t stomach the gooey mouthful, try mixing an ounce of dry chia seeds into your granola, or making this quick and easy salmon rub, for an extra punch of fiber and protein.
Some regard sucking the gelatinous center of a cow femur as a delicacy. Others turn their nose up at this cornerstone of fine dining. Despite its unappealing character, there are many studies that show benefits of eating bone marrow. Marrow contains the wrinkle-fighting protein collagen, says Goldstein. As we age our bodies produce less collagen, decreasing the elasticity in our skin. Feeling brave? There are many do-it-yourself bone marrow recipes, but first-timers might want to leave it to a skilled chef. Preparing marrow at home is a lesson in butchery and you’ll need a decent tolerance for handling cow parts.
A 3-ounce serving of these saltwater swimmers is one of the highest sources of essential omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids can help restore a balance from overeating too many omega-6 fats like vegetable, corn and soy oils, Goldstein points out. A 3-ounce serving also contains about 338 percent of your recommended daily dose of vitamin B12. Consumed twice a week, these stinky fish could help prevent vitamin B12 deficiency. Those wary of the taste can top them on pizza or add into some eggs to make the scaly fish more palatable.
This isn’t really pudding at all, or at least not the conventional dessert pudding you loved as a child. Also known as blood sausage, in some parts of the world, this is a common staple food. Before you get grossed out that this mealy meat is simply made from the solidified blood of swine, consider the healthy gifts it bestows. “Black pudding is a great source for iron and zinc,” says Goldstein. One serving, roughly 2.6 ounces, provides up to 35 percent of your daily iron requirement and about 9 percent of your zinc needs. Black pudding is traditionally made with oatmeal, so it’ll even give you a fiber boost. The brave can flex their culinary fortitude with this traditional black pudding recipe, should you happen to have a quart of pork blood hanging around the kitchen that is.
If you’re not a fan of plain yogurt, now you can get that fermented mucilaginous food in liquid form. Kefir is similar to yogurt because they both utilize cultured milk, though kefir is much more fluid, able to be consumed straight from the jug. No spoon needed. A cup of kefir supplies you with about 25 percent of your daily recommendation of calcium and vitamin D, essential for healthy bones and teeth. It’s also loaded with probiotics or healthy bacteria, like lactobacillus and bifidobacteria, both known for aiding digestion and promoting gut health. In a morning rush? Guzzle down a cup of kefir to replace your bowl of cereal.
When it coms to this organ meat, the taste and health benefits are similar to steak and lean ground beef. Beef heart is generally more affordable than steak, likely because it’s far less appetizing. Heart is packed with several B vitamins, says Goldstein. “It’s a great way to rack up amino acids that can improve metabolism and it contains compounds that aid the production of collagen and elastin, which helps slow the signs of aging,” she adds. Similar to steak, there are a few ways to prepare and cook bovine hearts. It can be marinated and grilled or battered and fried, depending on your preference. Before cooking, it’s also recommended that the heart is rinsed and the fat and connective tissue are trimmed off. One beef heart is about one pound of meat, which will get you about three servings, just enough for some leftovers.