If you can stomach the thought of eating the offal from an animal's stomach, usually a cow's, you'll be getting a variety of essential vitamins and minerals. Tripe can be eaten plain, but it's often added to Mexican soups and stews to enhance the flavor. If you're willing to give tripe a try, you'll be eating a main dish that's also low in fat and calories.
Calories, Fat and Protein
A 3.5-ounce portion of tripe contains 94 calories and 4 grams of fat, of which 1.3 grams are saturated. If you follow the average 2,000-calorie diet, your upper intake of saturated fat should be 22 grams per day, which is about 10 percent of your total caloric intake, according to MayoClinic.com. A serving of tripe provides about 6 percent of that daily limit. It's wise to limit your intake of saturated fat because it can raise your cholesterol and contribute to heart disease. The same portion of tripe also supplies 11.7 grams of protein, which translates to one-quarter of the 46 grams women need each day.
Tripe is an excellent source of zinc, a mineral that's responsible for helping you heal from injuries and keeping your immune system working properly. A 3.5-ounce serving of tripe delivers 1.71 milligrams of zinc, which is 21 percent of the 8 milligrams women should consume each day. That same serving of tripe also supplies small amounts of iron, calcium and phosphorus.
Most impressively, among vitamins a 3.5-ounce serving of tripe provides 0.72 micrograms of vitamin B-12. That translates to 30 percent of the 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B-12 adults need each day. Vitamin B-12 supports a normal metabolism, aids your body in making red blood cells and promotes a healthy nervous system. A serving of tripe also delivers small doses of niacin and vitamin E.
Tips and Considerations
Because tripe is low in calories and total fat, it can be a healthy addition to your eating plan. In fact, you might replace a serving of red meat with tripe to cut your overall intake of saturated fat. If you're going to prepare tripe, keep in mind that it takes about 12 hours to fully cook the meat. Look for honeycomb tripe, rather than smooth tripe, because it tends to be the most tender and mild-tasting. Add cooked tripe to tortilla soup or posole to enhance the flavor and the nutrition. For a different flavor, give pickled tripe a try. This version is available in many supermarkets in the aisle with ethnic or Mexican foods.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Beef, Variety Meats and By-Products, Tripe, Cooked, Simmered
- Kitchen Dictionary: Tripe
- MayoClinic.com: Dietary Fats: Know Which Types to Choose
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Protein
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Zinc
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B12
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.