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Pork Brains: Nutrition, Benefits, and How to Eat
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Pork brains are incredibly nutritious, easy to cook with, and surprisingly easy to find. Just as importantly, pork brain offers health benefits that you just can’t get from any other food.
In this article, we’ll explore pork brain’s nutrient content and accompanying benefits.
What are Pork Brains?
Pork brains, as you might expect, are merely the harvested brains of a pig — intended for use as food.
Pork brain is surprisingly common in many regional cuisines, especially southern cuisine. They play a significant role in the concept of nose-to-tail eating.
Pork Brains Nutrition
Pork brain is an excellent source of healthy fats, proteins, and dietary cholesterol. Here’s a closer look at its macronutrient and micronutrient profiles.
Pork Brain Macronutrient Nutrition
|3 OUNCES PORK BRAIN (85G)|
|TOTAL FAT||9.2 grams|
|SATURATED FAT||2.1 grams|
|TRANS FAT||0.0 grams|
|NET CARBS||0.0 grams|
Of all three major macronutrients, pork brain really shines when it comes to providing healthy fat.
Pork brain is lower in protein than most organ meats, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The protein it does contain is a truly complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids. Complete proteins are more valuable for maintaining muscle mass and triggering satiety than incomplete ones.
Pork brain contains virtually no carbohydrates. A 3-ounce serving of brain contains 0 grams of carbs and 0 grams of fiber, making it a great addition to your carnivore diet food list!
Pork Brain Micronutrient Nutrition
|NUTRIENT||3 OUNCES PORK BRAINS (85G)||%RDV|
|RIBOFLAVIN (B2)||1 milligram||16%|
|VITAMIN B6||0.1 milligrams||10%|
|VITAMIN B12||0.7 micrograms||37%|
3 ounces of pork brain contains over a third of your vitamin B12 RDA.
3 ounces of pork brain contains over a tenth of your RDV for B2. That may not seem like a lot, but calorie-for-calorie brain is actually quite rich in B2 and other water-soluble B vitamins.
Pork brain is nature’s top source of dietary cholesterol. Just 100 grams of it contains over ten times the cholesterol RDV. But don’t let this outdated RDV scare you. Studies show that dietary cholesterol has very little if any effect on blood cholesterol levels and associated risk of heart disease.
Other studies have confirmed that official guidelines for what’s considered healthy serum cholesterol are too low.
People with ‘high’ cholesterol often possess higher “verbal fluency, attention/concentration, abstract reasoning, and a composite score measuring multiple cognitive domains” than those with cholesterol in the ‘ideal’ range.
Last but not least, cholesterol is even good for the skin. Progressive dermatologists have realized that dietary cholesterol can give your skin a naturally glowy, dewy shine.
Other Unique Nutrients in Pork Brains
BDNF in particular aids the brain in creating new neural connections, repairing faulty brain cells, and protecting healthy brain cells.
In addition to being incredibly rich in the precursor to important youth-associated hormones (i.e, cholesterol), brain is a great source of these hormones themselves.
According to endocrinologist Ray Peat, “the brain is also the richest source of these very water-insoluble (hydrophobic) steroid hormones; it has a concentration about 20 times higher than the serum, for example. The active thyroid hormone is also concentrated many-fold in the brain.”
Just one word of caution when it comes to pork brain’s nutrient profile: it’s very high in phosphorus and very low in calcium.
In fact, his meat may have the worst calcium: phosphorus ratio of any food. Consider viewing this food as more of a supplement and consuming it no more than a few times a week.
Many people find that the pork brain provides a tangible energy rush post-meal. That’s no surprise when considering pork brains nutrition. In fact, you can expect all sorts of health benefits:
The B vitamins in pork brains are known for the mood-boosting, body-energizing effects. Fittingly, B vitamins are also shown to help clear protein byproducts like homocysteine out of your brain. Lowering homocysteine may be especially helpful for those with depression.
Both men and women may benefit from pork brain’s ability to boost the body’s levels of DHEA, progesterone, and pregnenolone.
Let’s take a look at these hormones one-by-one.
Progesterone is much more than just a ‘pregnancy hormone’ — though it’s especially important at that time.
Pregnenolone counters the fibrotic effects of aging and helps keep muscles relaxed and integrated. Once ingested (via brain of a select few other foods, like eggs), pregnenolone is converted into progesterone and/or DHEA.
Pregnenolone also shines in the area of natural skincare, promoting a ‘face-lifting’ effect thanks to its ability to activate dormant muscles.
Other Pork Brain benefits
It’s likely that pork brain benefits our brains in yet-to-be-discovered ways, too.
In other words, eating the brains of animals is probably a fantastic way to nourish your own brain’s health — even though some of the mechanisms for this haven’t yet been discovered by science.
Sourcing Quality Pork Brains
Quality is everything when it comes to sourcing pork brain. Animals that were poorly treated during their lives may have high levels of fibrosis or stress hormones in their brains.
Eating the brain of such an animal is probably not the best choice, especially given that research in other species has found that physiological memories can be transferred via proteins from one creature to the next.
Don’t forget the importance of going pasture-raised, either. Pasture-raised pork brain may be higher in saturated fats and lower in inflammatory PUFAs than other varieties — the potential for lower stress levels notwithstanding.
If you can’t source quality pork brains, you may have better luck with grass-fed beef brain, since grass-fed beef is more widely available than pasture-raised pork.
How to Cook Pork Brains
Below are two of our favorite pork brain recipes.
Pork Brains and Eggs Recipe
A Southeastern special, pork brains and eggs is nourising while offering the full-spectrum pork brains nutrition.
- I set brains
- 6 eggs
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Salt to taste
- Wash the brain and remove all of its outer membranes.
- Soak the brain for 1 hour in a pot of salted, cold water.
- Pour the water out, but keep the brain in the pot.
- Add fresh cold water and bring the brain to a boil.
- Boil for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Drain the pot, then plunge the brain into cold water to cool.
- Remove the brain from water and slice it into thin pieces.
- Place cooked brain into a mixing bowl with eggs.
- Place butter onto a heated skillet.
- Pour the brains and eggs into the skillet, stirring often.
- Cook until eggs are just barely “set up.”
Pork Brains with Milk Gravy Recipe
This recipe is for the more culinarily-adventurous, but don’t be afraid to try it!
- 1 pork brain
- 1/4 cup tallow
- 1/4 cup coconut or tapioca flour
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Milk (for soaking)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Wash the brain and remove all of its outer membranes.
- Soak the brain for 12 hours in a pot of milk.
- Pour the milk out, but keep the brain in the pot.
- Soak the brain a second time for 1+ hours in milk scented with nutmeg.
- Poach the brains in milk for 20 minutes.
- Cool brains, strain from milk, and refrigerate.
- Remove tallow from fridge and place on high heat.
- Stir in flour, cream, and salt and pepper.
- Once the mixture develops a creamy consistency, add brains back in.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve warm & enjoy!
Pork brains provide your body with some of the most important nutrients for boosting mood and improving cognition. They’re rich in cholesterol, healthy fats, and complete proteins.
If you haven’t already tried pork brain, don’t be afraid to cross it off your organ meats bucket list!