The most common types of organ meat, also referred to as affal, include the liver, tongue, heart, kidneys, brain and tripe. Once a prized meat, it’s fallen slightly out of favour over the years, which is unfortunate considering how nutritious organ meats actually are. For example, did you know they are an excellent source of vitamin D? Called the ‘sunshine vitamin’ because our bodies can create vitamin D when exposed to the sun, we tend to think that because we live in a warm country we should have no issues with our vitamin D levels, right? Wrong. It turns out that many of us are actually deficient, because not only do we cover up in the sun, but we slather on the sunblock, both of which prevent the sun from reaching our skins. While we do need to be mindful of sun exposure to prevent skin cancer, we should also allow ourselves short bursts of sun-time with minimal clothing to promote sufficient absorption. In addition to this it’s also vital to include greater sources of Vitamin D in our diet to boost our levels.
Calcium on the other hand is a mineral, and we’re all well versed in where to find it (milk, cheese, yoghurt and leafy green vegetables) and what it does for our body, but I’ll bet you tend to think ‘oh, it’s necessary for good strong bones’ and that’s about the extent of it, right? Wrong again. Calcium is so much more than that: it helps move our muscles; it allows our nerves to carry vital messages between brain and body; it lets blood vessels move blood through the body; and it’s instrumental in hormone and enzyme release that affects nearly all function in the human form – in short, without it we would cease to function properly. You didn’t think it was that essential, did you?
So, what is the connection between liver and milk; or vitamin D and calcium? The answer is that Vitamin D promotes absorption of calcium – our body cannot make calcium so it’s completely dependent on external sources, and vitamin D helps our body to take the calcium we need from those various calcium-rich foods and use it where it is needed most. They work together to ensure optimal health. So, this weekend, to make your body super happy: be sure to get out into the fresh air and let the sun work its magic; partake in a little organ meat delicacy – N1 stock a wide range of high-quality affal (but fatty Halaal fish and egg yolks will also do the trick if you’re not partial to liver et al); and chase it all down with a glass of milk (or a bowl of broccoli if dairy is not your thing) – enjoy and here’s to great health!