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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Healthy Eating arrow Is Oxtail a Healthy and Nutritious Choice for Your Diet?

Is Oxtail a Healthy and Nutritious Choice for Your Diet?

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: March 31, 2023
9 min read 1476 Views 0 Comments
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Beefy flavor and bone marrow are some terms ascribed to the oxtail. Keep reading to learn more about this unique cut of meat, what makes it healthy, and discover some recipes you can try at home!

is oxtail healthy

There is one thing a greater portion of the earth’s population seems to enjoy, and that is meat! There are different sources, cuts, and preparatory methods for meat. As such, there are a wide variety of dishes and cuisines that you can come up with.

One exciting cut is the oxtail. Oxtail is known as the poor man’s beef, and for a good reason too. It is a tougher cut of meat, but it is also one of the most flavorful.

Oxtail is a popular ingredient in African, Caribbean, and European cuisine. It has a rich, beefy flavor enhanced by the often preferred slow cooking process. This makes oxtail perfect for many cuisines. 

This blog post will provide an overview of oxtail, including its nutritional value and some recipes for preparing it. Whether you’re looking to add some new dishes to your repertoire or are simply curious about oxtail, read on for more information!

What Is Oxtail?

Oxtail is a flavorful and economical cut of beef that can be used to make delicious and healthy dishes. As oxtail contains connective tissue, it has the potential to become tender if cooked properly.

Moreover, oxtail provides an interesting texture in contrast to more common cuts of meat like sirloin or ribeye and has nutritional benefits thanks to its content of collagen-rich proteins.

This makes oxtail healthier than some other meats – a great choice if you want to enjoy a meal with plenty of flavors while also looking after your nutrition.

Is Oxtail Healthy?

Oxtail is one of the healthiest meat cuts you will find in your local grocery store. That is because it has a high concentration of essential proteins, minerals, and vitamins.

In addition, its rich fat and bone content offer good portions of bone marrow and gelatinous collagen, which has proven health benefits such as improved joint health. Oxtail is also a great source of B vitamins like thiamine, niacin, and vitamin B12.

Just be sure to cook it thoroughly before eating to reduce the risk of contamination from bacteria. Even for those on restricted diets, oxtail could be an ideal choice with its mix of nutrients that are easy for the body to absorb.

5 Health Benefits of Oxtail

As oxtail is one of the healthiest meat types, let’s take a look at its top 5 benefits and why you should choose it next time you go out grocery shopping.

#1 Strengthens joints and connective tissues

Oxtail is an oft-forgotten source of nutrition that can profoundly benefit joint and connective tissue health.

Oxtail is a rich source of collagen, providing the body with an excellent source of amino acids like proline and glycine, which plays a crucial role in supporting healthy cartilage, tendons, and ligaments, which are the framework of joints. These fatty acids also help lubricate the joints, freeing them from pain.

In addition, oxtail possesses a rich source of glucosamine sulfate, an amino acid that delivers a healthy dose of anti-inflammatory antioxidants to reduce stiffness and pain.

Furthermore, oxtail also contains essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc, which all help build strong bones and muscles.

As a result of these nutrients, regular oxtail consumption can reduce the wear and tear rate on your joints as you age and increase the elasticity and strength of your connective tissues over time. According to studies, these elements in oxtail help tackle bone-related health issues such as osteoarthritis.

#2 Improves heart health

Oxtail is an underrated culinary delight that is beneficial for your heart health. It is high in monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids and helps reduce bad cholesterol. It is low in sodium – a key component of managing blood pressure.

Furthermore, oxtail contains vitamins and minerals such as zinc, iron, and B vitamins, which are necessary components for maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. Finally, oxtail has phosphorus, which helps to reduce plaque formation in the arteries, which can lead to obstruction and heart attack.

#3 Boosts the human growth hormone

Having an increased collagen intake translates to a boost in the human growth hormone. The reason behind this is that the gelatinous collagen present in oxtails increases the level of dipeptide and hydroxyproline-glycine present in the blood.

Studies reveal that dipeptide is a stimulant that assists the production of growth hormones by the pituitary gland.

#4 Increases sexual arousal

Oxtail is highly overlooked as an ingredient for increasing sexual arousal. It contains nutrients essential to hormone health, like zinc, iron, and B vitamins, which are the building blocks for testosterone production in men and progesterone in women.

Eating oxtail will increase your libido and provide nutrition that helps you feel more confident and secure while engaging in intimate activities. Therefore, consuming oxtail meals can boost your mood, energy levels, and physical vitality, which support the pursuit of pleasure with your partner.

#5 Improves the immune system

Oxtail is an excellent source of nutrition that can have many beneficial effects on the immune system. Not only does it contain a good amount of nutrients like zinc, selenium, and B vitamins – which are vital for a healthy and resilient immune system – but oxtail can also be protective against degenerative diseases due to its high content of healthy fats and essential amino acids.

These two things work together to strengthen the body’s natural defenses, allowing it to ward off infections more easily. In addition, oxtail contains certain antioxidants known as carotenoids which may help protect cells from oxidative damage – another way that oxtail works to optimize your immune system health.

2 Possible Side Effects of Oxtail 

While oxtail meat scales above some red meat consumed, it still has a fair share of cons that make people question its place as a meat superfood. Here are 2 side effects of oxtail meat.

#1 Clogged blood vessels

Oxtail contains high cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and saturated fats. This makes the formation of plaques on the arterial walls a worrisome health problem.

Clogged vessels result in decreased amounts of oxygen and nutrients getting to different areas of our body that need them to stay healthy. Without these vital resources, cells will begin to function improperly, eventually leading to damage or even death if not addressed quickly enough.

In terms of cardiovascular health, plaque buildup in your arteries can force your heart to work harder to pump blood through them, leading to high blood pressure that can take a toll on the rest of your cardiovascular system. Likewise, the narrowing of the vessels increases the risk of stroke or heart attack due to a restriction of oxygenated blood flow.

#2 Gastric fluctuations

Oxtail contains a plethora of amino acids, including proline, glycine, and glucosamine. The key factor here is glucosamine.

When consumed in small quantities, it serves its purpose as an anti-inflammatory agent. However, in large amounts, it can trigger gastric fluctuations, including soft stool, diarrhea, and constipation. Nausea, vomiting, and heartburn are also side effects of too much glucosamine intake.

Nutrition Facts of Oxtail

Having looked at the health benefits of oxtail, it is only important that we examine the nutrition composition that helps separate it from most unhealthy meat.

As such, you are more informed on how oxtail dishes fit well in any healthy diet.

Nutritional value (per 100g) 

Calories/Nutrient (per 100g)Amount
Calories (kcal)257
Net Carbs (g)0
Fiber (g)0
Sugar (g)0
Fats (Total)16.5
Protein (g)25.9
Cholesterol (mg)86


Moderate amount of calories and fats

This cheap butcher cut contains quite the calorie and fat content. A 100g serving of oxtail contains about 257kcal and 16.5g of total fat (trans fats included).

Still, the calorie and fat content in an oxtail dish depends on the ingredients joined in the dish. As such, it is important that you do not go overboard with eating oxtail.

High in proteins

A 100g serving of oxtail contains 25.9g of vital protein. Getting these nutrients in the right amount is necessary as they are the building blocks for cells. The oxtail is a nutrient-packed stew that can help you stay healthy and strong. 

It includes three vital proteins: proline, which assists with fat particles in our blood vessels, arginine, which provides food for several organs such as the kidneys and liver, and glycine, which aids in the creation of RNA and DNA.

Zero carbohydrates and sugars 

Perhaps the best part about oxtail is that it contains no carbohydrates and sugars, making it healthier than many of the least commonly served meals.

Rich in vitamins and minerals 

In addition to the rich flavor associated with oxtail, it does come with an onslaught of essential vitamins and nutrients needed to support overall health.

For starters, the iron and calcium in oxtail help develop a solid dental and skeletal system.

Likewise, this meat contains abundant amounts of vitamin B12, which is essential for nerve cell health, maintains bone and teeth health, provides the body with energy, and helps regulate the production of red blood cells.

Oxtail is also an excellent source of vitamin A, known for its antioxidant properties to support immunity, vision, skin health, and digestion. The meat is also high in selenium which aids in reducing inflammation by helping to protect the immune system.

High in cholesterol

A 100g serving of oxtail contains 86mg of cholesterol, which is quite high when taking into account the realistic serving portions. Likewise, the choice of cooking process also adds to the cholesterol levels, which is the primary reason olive oil is the preferred cooking oil choice.

Healthy Oxtail Recipe 

There are many ways to eat oxtail. You can enjoy slow-cooked oxtail, pan-sear to render the nice fat layer, and then pressure cook. You can also create a bone broth and many delicious oxtail soups.

You can also use oxtail to create other recipes. The point is that oxtail tastes great, and many inspiring oxtail dishes exist.

Today, we present you with a simple, healthy oxtail recipe to add to your daily diet – Korean oxtail soup.


  • 1 medium Korean white radish (peeled and cut into large chunks)
  • 3 green onions
  • 3–4 pounds oxtails
  • 3–4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • Fresh water
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


  • You want to start by soaking the oxtails in cold water to drain the blood – this should last about 2 hours. Once the blood is completely drained, place your oxtails in a large pot with about 13 cups of fresh water.
  • Bring your oxtail to a boil (3–4 hours). Add extra cups of water if it’s down to half at the 3-hour mark. Once the 4 hours is up, place the oxtails in a separate bowl, cover the pot with a lid, and refrigerate overnight.
  • All of the fats should have solidified by morning. Add the oxtail back into the pot and bring it to a boil.
  • Add your radish chunks, seasoning with salt, pepper, and garlic to your taste, and allow to cook on low heat for 20–30 minutes.
  • Serve when ready. You can eat oxtail with steamed white rice.

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Where do oxtails come from?

Originally, oxtail referred to the meat obtained from the tail of an ox. Nowadays, it refers to meat from beef cattle.

What does oxtail taste like?

Oxtail tastes just like beef; however, it’s got more flavor and is quite tender. The taste also depends on how you cook oxtail, as well as the method and the ingredients involved.

What type of meat is oxtail?

Oxtail is a type of red meat. Red meat refers to meat obtained from mammals and birds.

A Word From Our Nutritionist

Is oxtail healthy? From a nutrition standpoint, cooking oxtail and eating it is perfectly okay. It contains loads of essential vitamins and minerals needed for growth and development. Even the bone marrow serves a nutritional purpose with the abundance of collagen in it.

However, you must consider your dietary needs when dishing out your oxtail soup. Since it contains many calories, sticking to a meager serving size would do you good, considering that you will most likely have other meals over the course of the day.

Better still, you must schedule an appointment with a qualified nutritionist. They have all the knowledge to help you make smart decisions considering what to eat and what not to eat.

They are also best suited to explaining the ups and downs of eating different foods, especially if you have allergies or other underlying medical conditions.


While oxtail may not be the most popular meat on the market, it is a healthy and nutritious choice for your diet, and the health benefits are amazing. Packed with protein, iron, and other essential nutrients, eating oxtail is a great way to add variety to your meals.

When cooked properly, oxtail is also a delicious addition to any dish. Whether you are slow cooking, making a bone broth, bone marrow butter, or making stews, it does not matter.

So, if you want to add some unique flavor to your next meal, consider cooking with oxtail. Oxtail is flavorful, healthy, and affordable, so do not hesitate to give it a try!

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Our rating:
  • Proven scientific data
  • Calorie tracker
  • Customized meal plans and food prep
  • 10,000+ easy-to-make keto recipes (including vegetarian options)
  • Full workout schedule
  • Motivational tips
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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: March 31, 2023
9 min read 1476 Views 0 Comments

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