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Pork Kidney Nutrition

By Sylvie Tremblay, MSc

Pigs provide a range of edible meats that make up a part of the American diet: bacon, ham, pork chops and roasts. Organ meats from the animal, such as kidney and liver, can also make up part of a nutritious diet. Pork kidneys are typically served in pies, stews, stir fries or casseroles containing vegetables or even other meats. The kidneys also provide a range of nutrients, helping to provide your body with the nutrition required for function, but their high fat and cholesterol content means they're best enjoyed in moderation.

Energy Content

Pork kidneys provide a moderate source of energy -- a 3-ounce serving of pork kidney contains approximately 85 calories. However, many individuals include kidney as part of a recipe, instead of consuming the kidney meat on its own. Dishes like kidney pie or stew may contain other sources of calories, including added fats, that can increase the energy content of the dish.

Protein

The majority of the calories in pork kidney come from protein. Each serving of the kidney provides 14 grams of protein, accounting for approximately 66 percent of the calories in pork kidney. The protein in pork kidneys represents a complete protein, and provides a source of all ten essential amino acids that are required as part of a healthy diet. Georgia State University indicates that consuming essential amino acids proves essential to maintaining the human proteins that contribute to healthy tissue, and failure to consume these compounds can lead to muscle breakdown. By providing these amino acids, pork kidneys can contribute to proper protein synthesis in your body, and help support healthy tissue.

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Fat and Cholesterol

Pork kidneys also contain a small amount of fat, 2.76 grams per serving of the kidney. Of the fat found in a serving of pork kidneys, approximately 0.89 grams is saturated fat, while poly- and mono-unsaturated fats contribute 0.22 and 0.91 grams, respectively. Consuming saturated fat can negatively affect your heath, and eating sources of saturated fat can increase your blood cholesterol levels. The kidneys' high cholesterol content -- 90 milligrams per serving -- can also increase blood cholesterol levels in some people. Because of its fat and cholesterol content, you should consume pork kidney in moderation.

Micronutrients

Pork kidneys also provide some micronutrients, which can also benefit your health. The kidneys contain vitamins B-12, B-5, B-3 and B-2. These B-class vitamins help produce chemical fuel for your cells, and contribute to the health of several tissues, while vitamin B-12 specifically aids in the function of your nervous system, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Each serving offer all the vitamin B-12 you need in a day. Pork kidneys also contain essential iron -- 1.4 milligrams per serving, which is 18 percent of the daily needs for women and 8 percent of the daily needs for men. This iron supports healthy circulation by boosting red blood cell growth, and helps your body produce energy.

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