In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat animal brains?”. Moreover, we will also discuss the dishes made from animal brains and the advantages and harmful effects of eating animal brains.
Can you eat animal brains?
Yes, you can eat animal brains. The brain is an important organ of an animal, it gives messages and produces responses according to the stimulus. The brain is located in the head and is considered the centre of the nervous system that controls the whole body and maintains homeostasis of the body as well.
It has been found out by archaeologists that the animal brain was among the first foods which humans had started eating. Including meat of animals, the animal brain was also common as it is rich in nutrition.
Among animal brains, sheep brains, beef brains and mutton brains are the most commonly eaten brains. They are very delicious and suitable for consumption however, eating brains might cause nervous disorders because of the existence of prions.
The animal brain as food in different countries
Animal brain is one of the most liked and nutrition-filled food which is being eaten in almost all areas of the world in different forms. It can be consumed in cooked form as well as in raw form.
Cultural consumption of the animal brains in French cuisine is common and it is used in dishes like cervelle, de veau. In the areas of Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and diaspora countries the dish of maghaz is one of the famous dishes of the animal brain.
It is consumed as a salad or in a fried or baked form in Turkish cuisine while in Chinese cuisine brain is a vital part of Chongqing or Sichuan dishes. In Chinese cuisine, it is also consumed in cooked form as in spicy hot pot or barbecue.
Similarly, it is also consumed in other cuisines of the world as Mexican tacos, in Indonesian cuisine. In Indonesian cuisine, beef brains are cooked in coconut milk gravy.
Nutritional composition of the animal brain
The animal brain is rich in nutrients, so it has many health benefits. The animal brain is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids which is an important fatty acid required for maintaining several important functions in the body.
Animal brain is loaded with:
- Vitamin A, C, D, E and K
- Vitamin B complex
Other important minerals include iron, sodium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, copper, choline and phosphorous
Choline is an important nutrient that plays a role in muscle health and its functioning. Along with muscles, choline also has an important role in the liver and brain. The animal brain, especially the beef brain is a rich source of choline. So, it has been prescribed as a supplement to restore deficiency of choline in choline-deficient people.
Omega-3 fatty acid (DHA):
The beef brain is considered one of the most important sources of omega-3 fatty acids. A hundred grams of the cooked beef brain contains almost 700 mg of omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acid-rich diet is also essential for pregnant women which compensates for their nutritional requirement. Research shows that if the dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acid is enough then it can play a role in enhancing the critical thinking skills of a child. It can also minimize inflammation, stress and neurological disorders.
Hearing of cholesterol makes one think that it must be bad as it is also linked with cardiac diseases, but it is not the case every time. Our body synthesizes both good and bad cholesterol, where higher levels of good cholesterol and lower levels of bad cholesterol are necessary.
Cholesterol is among the important compounds which are required by the body. It plays its role in making cell membranes and also in the synthesis of steroid hormones. Beef brain or any animal brain has enough cholesterol in it which can help the human body.
Other health benefits of the animal brain
The animal brain also plays its role in maintaining the brain health of humans. It can also play its role in;
- Maintaining brain health
- Improving mood and person’s well being
- Support long term potentiation
- Improves working memory
Disadvantages of eating animal brain
Eating the animal brain can be harmful because the animal brain may contain prion which can cause different nervous system disorders. Prion is an abnormal protein that can trigger other brain proteins which then fold abnormally.
The diseases caused by prions can affect humans and animals but can also spread from meat to humans. It can cause Mad cow disease from eating infected cows. The most common disease caused by prions in humans is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease which is a nervous disorder.
In this article, we have answered the question “Can you eat animal brains?”. We have also discussed the health benefits, nutritional content, cultural consumption of animal brains and disadvantages of eating animal brains.