Livers are your body’s natural pharmacy. They produce the chemical compounds that help with everything from inflammation to digestion, and they even have a role in blood sugar regulation. Unfortunately, however, there is a lot of conflicting information about livers on the internet, which makes it difficult for people who want healthy liver health to figure out what they should be doing, especially those diagnosed with cirrhosis or hepatitis C-.
“Is liver beneficial for you?” is many people’s question. Organ meats, such as liver, are regarded as one of nature’s most potent superfoods. Why is the liver beneficial to your health? Many vital elements are abundant in the liver, which includes cow, chicken, and duck liver. Unfortunately, the organs of an animal, such as the liver, spleen, brain, and kidneys, are frequently sacrificed in favor of muscle meat, which often shocks people.
When we think about superfoods, we usually think of green leafy vegetables, Amazonian berries, chocolate, green tea, and other plant foods. However, some animal meals, particularly organ meats (also known as offal), are beneficial owing to their high nutritional content, which is why they have been included in traditional diets for thousands of years.
“Ounce for ounce, the liver is probably more nutritious than any other meal,” according to the University of California’s Berkeley Wellness website. So even if you’ve never considered liver to be as nutrient-dense as fruits and vegetables, I’m here to explain why it’s one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the earth, filled with vitamin A, iron, B vitamins (particularly B12), and much more.
So, yes, the liver is healthy for you since it has been found to help prevent anemia, boost fertility, assist detoxification, and more.
Is Liver Beneficial to Your Health?
The liver is an organ found in the abdominal cavity of humans and many other animals, mainly vertebrates. In many nations, the two most common forms of the liver are chicken liver and beef/calf liver. Organ meats, such as liver, have long been recognized as beneficial to fertility, growth, and development, maintaining high energy levels, mental health, and more by people all over the globe.
Is liver healthy, and how nutrient-dense is liver? Not only does the liver include a significant amount of iron and vitamin A, but it’s also a good source of B vitamins, phosphorus, and magnesium. In addition, your liver is by far the best source of vitamin B12. In addition, when comparing the total nutritional density of the liver to that of other nutritious foods such as spinach, carrots, and apples, the liver beats them, allowing the number of vitamins and minerals it contains per calorie. The key to gaining all of these advantages from the liver is to eat the appropriate kind: liver from organic, grass-fed, or pasture-raised animals. I advise you to avoid consuming organs from animals not raised in a free-range environment and were not adequately nourished.
1. It’s high in vitamin B12
The highest advantage of eating liver is that it contains a lot of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is known to help in red blood cell production and cellular function. Vitamin B12 deficiency may produce weariness, muscular weakness, brain fog, and mood swings; thus, eating foods rich in vitamins can help avoid it. Vitamin B12 is also required for nervous system function, metabolism, and brain health.
2. An excellent source of active vitamin A
Vitamin A is found in abundance in the liver, one of nature’s most concentrated sources. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble antioxidant that aids in the reduction of inflammation by combating free radical damage. It is required for eyesight, skin health, thyroid health, bone construction, gene control, cell differentiation, and immunological function.
The active form of vitamin A found in the liver (also known as retinol) is only present in animal-derived meals, which is why it’s so essential. Vitamin A that is active, or preformed, may be utilized directly by the body and does not need to be transformed first, as plant-based vitamin A does (called carotenoids).
3. High in iron, which aids in the prevention of anemia
If you suffer from anemia, which is commonly caused by an iron shortage, the liver is one of the finest meals to eat. It has a high concentration of folate, iron, and vitamin B12. These are the three vitamins and minerals you’ll need to naturally conquer anemia and prevent or cure symptoms, including exhaustion, irregular menstruation periods, and neurological problems. Menstruating women, pregnant women, nursing moms, and vegetarians/vegans should take extra precautions to obtain adequate iron in their diets.
4. Vitamin B6, Biotin, and Folate are abundant
The liver is abundant in vitamin B6, biotin, and folate, in addition to vitamin B12. These B vitamins, particularly folate, assist your body in methylation as well as cellular function. For example, converting deoxyuridylate to thymidylate to synthesize DNA, which is essential for healthy cell division, is a crucial folate-dependent process in the body. When this mechanism is disrupted, megaloblastic anemia develops, which is one of the folate insufficiency symptoms.
More minor levels of minerals, such as copper, zinc, chromium, and selenium, are also found in the liver and have far-reaching effects on your metabolism, central nervous system, and endocrine systems.
5. Excellent Fertility and Pregnancy Food
Protein, B12, iron, folate, and other essential minerals for reproductive health and fetal growth are all found in the liver, making it essentially the ideal meal for pregnant women. Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers need more B12 than usual to aid in the growth and development of their newborns, particularly the brain and organs. Folate is particularly essential during pregnancy since it aids in the prevention of birth abnormalities. Folate (as opposed to manufactured folic acid) assists in the prevention of neural tube defects and significant brain and spinal cord abnormalities.
Because iron plays a role in delivering oxygen to tissues, including the placenta, pregnant women are at a greater risk of iron shortage owing to the increased iron requirement. Iron-rich meals are thus essential. During pregnancy, liver and other grass-fed organ meats are also a rich source of protein. Pregnant women should consume at least three servings of protein each day, or 75 grams.
For pregnant women, the liver also supplies activated vitamin A, which aids in the reduction of oxidative stress. Although according to the Baby Center website, “the USDA advises taking no more than 10,000 IU of preformed vitamin A from supplements, animal sources, and fortified foods – combined – per day for pregnant women over the age of 19,” therefore liver should be consumed in tiny quantities only many times weekly.
6. Detoxification and liver function are aided by this supplement
“Isn’t your liver poisonous; doesn’t your liver deal with toxins?” is a question I’m often asked. Toxins are removed from your body by your liver, but they are not retained there. Your liver aids in the removal of waste and poisons from your bloodstream, but it needs certain nutrients to function effectively. Your liver is also in charge of metabolizing pharmaceuticals, hormones, and medications, as well as assisting in the production of blood-clotting proteins.
B vitamins in the liver, particularly folate, aid cellular processes and promote the body’s detoxification pathways. This suggests that eating the liver improves the function of your liver. In reality, eating liver is an efficient liver cleanse, particularly when combined with a balanced diet, since it gives your body and liver all of the nutrients they need to clear waste from your system.
7. Good Protein Source
One to three ounces of liver contains roughly seven to twenty-one grams of high-quality protein. Protein is a macronutrient that aids in various bodily activities, including the preservation of muscular mass, which is increasingly essential as we age. Protein is also required for tissue repair, exercise recovery, childhood growth and development, hunger regulation, hormone production, skin and hair formation, and other biological functions.
8. Helps in Gerson Therapy’s Disease-Fighting Effects
The liver has been utilized widely by natural medicine practitioners for many years. Dr. Max Gerson, a German doctor, developed the Gerson Protocol, or Gerson Therapy, which included the use of the liver. Gerson Therapy was a natural cancer therapy plan used to treat digestive problems, TB, and heart disease.
Gerson advocated that his patients consume 13 glasses of vegetable juice each day, eat raw vegetables, and consume cow liver or liver juice (he also recommended performing coffee enema). Because of its various vitamins and minerals, the beef liver was part of his core strategy for helping his patients recuperate. According to the Gerson Institute, Gerson Therapy supports metabolic processes, reduces oxygen shortage in the blood, and supports the thyroid by boosting antioxidant intake and eliminating heavy animal fats, excess protein, salt, and other pollutants.
9. It is a source of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
Both beef liver and cow heart are high in CoQ10. CoQ10, which is often used as a supplement, is found in the highest concentration in the mitochondria of cells, also known as the cell’s ” powerhouse ” since it aids in energy production. As a result, CoQ10 has been linked to various health benefits, including better blood pressure and vascular health, improved sperm, and egg quality, increased endurance, decreased inflammation, and more. The most abundant source of CoQ10 is found in the organs of animals, while muscular meat and even certain plant meals also contain minor quantities.
Because our CoQ10 levels decline as we get older, eating liver and other organ meats is a fantastic method to maintain them up, reducing the impacts of free radical damage and stress.
What Kinds of Liver Should You Eat?
Though most livers give identical nutritional advantages, distinct species’ livers were thought to have somewhat different qualities. The following are some examples of edible livers that you may get at grocery stores, farmer’s markets, butcher shops, and even online:
- Chicken liver has the mildest flavor of all the livers, making it a decent option for organ meat “novices.” It’s the sort of liver used in most restaurant and home-cooked liver spreads and dishes. In addition, the lipid, folate, and iron content of chicken liver is higher than that of beef liver.
- Beef/calf liver has slightly more calories, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin A, zinc, and phosphorus than chicken liver. As a result, beef liver isn’t as popular as chicken liver, according to many individuals. Some farmer’s markets sell a beef liver, but if feasible, choose calf liver over liver from mature cows to avoid consuming hormones and antibiotics given to cows.
- Fish liver (such as cod liver or cod liver oil) – Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and vitamin D are all abundant in cod liver.
- You may also try mutton liver, lamb liver, goat liver, duck liver, or goose liver if you can locate them. But, again, ask your local butcher or, if you’re a hunter, harvesting and preparing the liver yourself is your best option for finding these sorts of livers.
- On the other hand, pork liver s something I don’t advocate eating pork liver since pork products originate from unhealthy/dirty animals. Pigs are generally grown in industrial farms and given hormones or other substances to help them grow faster.
Nutritional Values of Liver
Micronutrient levels in the liver from various animal sources will vary. The USDA estimates that one ounce of cooked chicken liver comprises approximately:
- Calorie Count: 49
- Protein: 7 g
- Saturated Fat: 2 g
- Vitamin B12: 6 micrograms (79 percent DV)
- Vitamin A: 4,076 international units (75 percent DV)
- Folate: 162 micrograms (40 percent DV)
- Riboflavin/ Vitamin B2: 0.6 mg (33 percent DV)
- Selenium: 23 milligrams (33 percent DV)
- Pantothenic Acid: 1.9 milligrams (vitamin B5) (19 percent)
- Iron: 3.6 milligrams (18 percent DV)
- Vitamin B3/niacin: 3.9 milligrams (15 percent DV)
- Vitamin B6: 0.2 milligrams (11 percent DV)
- Phosphorus: 125 milligrams (11 percent DV)
Are you wondering whether liver fattens you up, and if so, is the fat content anything to be concerned about? Compared to other animal products such as beef, butter, dark meat poultry, or full-fat dairy, the liver has a low-fat content. There are just approximately two grams of fat in one ounce of the liver.
This isn’t to say that fat from high-quality animal products is unhealthy. On the contrary, saturated fat from animal meals may be beneficial to your health. For example, healthy fats aid cognitive function, hormone synthesis, and reproductive health. Adding chicken liver to the feeds of rats has been demonstrated in specific animal experiments to help reduce oxidative stress and enhance serum lipid profile, despite the rats being given a high-fat diet.
How to Use It
Do you know how much and how frequently you should consume liver? The majority of specialists advise eating liver or other organ meats one to three times each week. You also don’t have to drink a lot of liver to get the advantages. Even tiny amounts of liver, roughly one to four ounces, consumed several times a week, provide many nutrients. Aim for approximately 100–200 grams of liver each week as a decent target.
When purchasing liver, whether at a farmer’s market or as a supplement, be sure it comes from organic, pasture-raised animals. The most significant varieties of the liver are calf liver and chicken liver. You want to make sure the animals are grass-fed, free-range, and pasture-raised since healthy animals supply the most nutrients when it comes to the liver. If your grocery store doesn’t have liver, contact a local butcher or a farmer who sells meat at your local market. There’s a strong possibility someone will be able to provide you with organ meats, like liver, that you wouldn’t have access to otherwise.
Is Liver Supplementation Beneficial?
If you don’t want to consume raw cow liver or chicken liver pate, I propose a high-quality desiccated liver supplement instead.
When purchasing liver supplements, make sure they come from pasture-raised animals, just like you would when purchasing liver. The dried liver is available in powder or tablet form in health food shops and on the internet. In its purest, most natural state, a high-quality liver supplement functions as a multivitamin with a B complex in tablet form. It’s an excellent supplement for those who suffer from anemia, low energy, adrenal exhaustion, thyroid problems, autoimmune illness, poor cellular function, or even cancer. If you’re brave enough, I suggest trying genuine liver (beginning with delightful, healthy chicken liver pate), but if you’re not, supplements are a fantastic option.
Is Liver Beneficial to Your Pets as Well?
“Is liver beneficial for you?” has already been addressed. What about your animals? Liver and other organ meats are also excellent vitamin sources for your dogs. Why is it beneficial for dogs to consume liver? Animals, especially dogs, need iron, B vitamins, and other minerals in the liver, just as humans do. Organ meats, such as liver, are often cheap to purchase and are a simple way to add protein, healthy fats, essential vitamins, and minerals to your pet’s diet.
Dogs may consume raw liver (from a reputable source), mildly cooked liver, or even dried liver explicitly produced for dogs. “Start with around half a spoonful every few days for a medium-sized dog and observe their feces,” Dogs Naturally Magazine advises. Reduce the frequency of feedings and the quantity fed each time if they become unruly. Consider giving a medium to big dog up to 1 oz. of liver per day and a tiny dog up to 0.5 oz. per day.”
The liver may be prepared in a variety of ways. Raw, stewed, roasted, grilled, added to soups, coupled with other pieces of meat, or fried in ghee/butter/oil are all options. Onions, lemon, black or red pepper, jerk spice, jalapeño, Indian spices, raw cheeses or raw milk/buttermilk, garlic, olives, fig or blueberry, and diced beef are all good combinations. It’s widely used to produce spreads like liver pâté or foie gras, as well as liver sausage.
Chicken liver pate is my favorite way to consume liver. Chicken liver pate is a fantastic dish to try if you’ve never had it before, and although restaurants are increasingly serving duck or chicken liver pate, it’s a simple recipe to prepare at home. Here’s how to make homemade chicken liver pate:
- Add honey, onions, and other spices like garlic to your raw chicken liver. Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl until you have a chicken liver pate. On something like nutrient-dense cucumber or sourdough bread, this is incredible.
- The chicken liver may also be used in chicken bean soup. For example, you might take some white beans and chicken and add some life to it, adding a little taste while also reducing liver wasting.
- Although beef liver may not have the same flavor as chicken liver, it can be used in various ways. You could put it in a blender and drink it, or you could roast cow liver and eat it with a lot of nutritious onions and seasonings. You prepare it the same way you would a steak: well-sauté it with garlic and onions if you eat little chunks of it with a steak.
“Practically every cuisine includes liver specialties,” according to the Weston A. Price Foundation. Some cultures hold the liver in such high regard that human hands are forbidden from touching it. However, for the majority of recorded history, humanity has favored liver to steak by a wide margin, seeing it as a source of immense strength and nearly miraculous therapeutic qualities.”
Dr. Price visited the globe to examine the traditional diets of 14 different communities for his book “Nutrition and Degenerative Disease.” He discovered that almost every tribe ate organ meat somehow because it helped them avoid sickness and breed effectively.
The liver has long been regarded as a nutrient-producing powerhouse in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Organ meats are thought to assist replace depleted nutrient reserves while also supporting the activities of one’s organs. Hunter-gatherers, such as those in areas of Africa, have been eating liver for generations. They ate moose and deer primarily and ate it raw. When food was limited, notably in colder areas where plant foods were difficult to cultivate, the liver was a significant source of protein and minerals.
The liver was a prominent component in dumplings, terrines, sausages, and puddings in Medieval Europe. The liver has a long history of usage in Asian broths and stews, and it is sometimes used to thicken dishes. The liver has long been seen as an essential meal for pregnant women in Japan. The liver is still widely eaten in France, Argentina, India, Spain, Russia, Scandinavia, and the Middle East. Liver with onions, for example, is still a popular meal in Latin America, particularly in Spain and Portugal.
You probably already know that liver is a nutritious diet for most people but is the liver harmful in any way? There are several advantages and disadvantages of eating liver that you should be aware of. Limiting your intake of liver and other organ meats, for example, is a brilliant idea if you already have high iron or copper levels. In addition, if you’re taking high quantities of vitamin A in supplement form (which isn’t advised for most people), avoid eating liver since it might elevate your vitamin A level to dangerously high levels. Extremely high vitamin A consumption may be dangerous. Therefore it’s best to avoid it, particularly during pregnancy or infancy.
When it comes to raw liver, only consume it if you’re confident the food is fresh and comes from a healthy animal bred correctly. Although many health organizations advise against eating raw liver owing to the potential of microbial contamination, anecdotal data shows that the risk is reduced if you buy fresh, high-quality organ meats. In addition, bacterial danger may be reduced by freezing and frying the liver. Children as young as 6 months old are generally safe to consume liver. Keep in mind that just modest quantities of organ meats are required for children and adults, so more is not necessarily better.
- “Is liver beneficial for you?” many people question.
- The liver is an edible and nutrient-dense organ present in all vertebrate animals. The most common varieties of the liver are chicken liver and beef/calf liver. However, you may also get lamb, mutton, goose, codfish liver, and other types.
- Is it true that the liver is excellent for you? The liver is beneficial to your health since it contains high levels of vitamin B12, vitamin A, and other B vitamins and iron, phosphorus, protein, CoQ10, and other nutrients.
- Avoiding anemia, assisting with fertility and healthy pregnancy, increasing detoxification, preventing B vitamin shortages, and supporting liver function are all advantages of eating liver (cooked or raw).
Frequently Asked Questions
Is eating animal liver good for your liver?
A: It is not suitable for your liver as prolonged consumption of animal products such as meat, milk, and eggs can lead to fatty liver disease. The liver should be eaten in moderation – you want to consume it only a few times per month.
Is cooked liver good for you?
A: Cooked liver is good for you because it provides many nutrients.
Is it OK to eat liver every day?
A: The liver is an excellent protein, vitamins, and minerals source. It can be a healthy part of your diet in moderation.
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