Is liver good for you? Piece of raw liver

Is Liver Good for You? 3 Benefits Behind This Superfood

Is liver good for you? Easy answer: yes. And we want everyone to know why you should add this superfood to your diet.

Organ meats like liver, heart, kidney and tongue are incredibly beneficial to your health. Packed with vitamins and minerals, they are one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can consume.

We are strong advocates of eating nose-to-tail — consuming all parts of the animal that often get ignored (although they often contain the most nutrients). This is why we love drinking bone broth, consuming collagen, enjoying bone marrow and — of course — consuming organ meats in our lifestyle.

With that being said, we understand the taste of liver isn't … how do we put this delicately … for everyone. Luckily, we have a solution for this. Keep reading to discover all the health benefits of liver, and how to get these benefits even if you don't enjoy the taste of organ meats.

Eating Nose-To-Tail: The History of Organ Meats

Sheep walking on grass

At one point, humans ate every part of the animal — including organs. 

Humans saved bones, ligaments and other connective tissues to make both broth, savoured liver and other offal for its nutritional benefits and ensured no food went to waste. However, with the introduction of modern farming, the domestication of animals and grocery stores popping up on every corner, humans have become increasingly wasteful. Today, most people prefer eating muscle meats (more traditional cuts of the animal) rather than organ meats.  

But our health would benefit by returning to our ancestors’ way of eating and bringing organ meats back into our diets. 

Eating liver offers a number of health benefits due to its nutrient density. In other words, liver and other organ meats pack more vitamins, minerals and other nutrients per gram than other cuts of meat. 

Is Liver Good for You? These 3 Health Benefits Say Yes

Raw liver next to rosemary and lemon

Organ meats like liver are considered a superfood, packing optimal nutrition into a single serving. Below, we share the numerous health benefits of liver. 

1. It's Loaded With B Vitamins

Liver is packed with B vitamins. Just 100 grams of beef liver contains [1]: 

  • 1176% of your daily vitamin B12
  • 201% of your daily riboflavin (B2) 
  • 88% of your daily niacin (B3)
  • 63% of your daily folate (B9)
  • 51% of your daily vitamin B6
  • 13% of your daily thiamin (B1) 

Most B vitamins are essential to the body — meaning, they cannot be stored and must be consumed regularly through diet. Together, these vitamins treat and prevent a number of ailments, provide lasting energy and are essential to metabolism.

Vitamin B12, for example, keeps your nerves and blood cells healthy [2]. In addition, vitamin B12 assists with red blood cell formation, which helps prevent megaloblastic anaemia which causes feelings of extreme fatigue and exhaustion [3].

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and B1 (thiamin) help transform food into energy and are essential to the growth and development of your cells [4][5]. Meanwhile, niacin (vitamin B3) assists with brain function, regulates your metabolism and acts as an antioxidant. Niacin is required to transform fats, proteins and carbohydrates into ATP (adenosine triphosphate), your cells’ primary energy source [6]. 

Folate (vitamin B9 or folic acid) helps protect your heart from heart disease and stroke, prevents birth defects and can even fight depression [7]. Vitamin B6 is essential to the health of your brain, heart and immune system [8] Lastly, B vitamins are extremely important to methylation, and can assist those suppressed functions [9].

2. It Can Prevent Iron-Deficiency Anaemia 

Organ meats like liver are an incredible source of iron, which can help treat and prevent iron deficiency anaemia. In a 100-gram serving of beef liver, you'll find 36% of your daily dose of iron [1]. Meanwhile, chicken liver offers 65% of your daily iron [10]. 

Here's why iron matters: Your body needs iron to produce hemoglobin, a protein found in your red blood cells. Hemoglobin, in turn, carries oxygen for your lungs to other parts of your body. When you become iron deficient (anaemic), oxygen can't travel throughout your body, making you feel incredibly weak and breathless [11]. 

3. Liver Is Packed With Vitamins and Minerals 

When it comes to the nutritional value of liver, B vitamins and iron tend to get all the attention. However, there are a number of other vitamins and minerals packed into every cut. 

Liver is a good source of the following vitamins and minerals [1][10]: 

  • Selenium: Beef liver contains 52% of your daily selenium, which is essential to thyroid function, protects your cells from damage and helps your body fight infection [12].
  • Vitamin C: It's extremely rare for animal products to contain vitamin C. However, liver contains 2 milligrams of vitamin C, which can boost your immune health.
  • Phosphorus: Beef liver contains 50% of your daily phosphorus, the most abundant mineral in the body. Phosphorus helps produce ATP and works with B vitamins to support muscle function, kidney function and your nervous system [13]. 
  • Choline: ​​​Chicken liver contains 54.4 milligrams of choline, which is essential to brain health. Specifically, choline is essential to produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that boosts your memory, mood and muscle control [14].

Should Anyone Avoid Liver?

Pregnant woman cuts fruit

In very rare circumstances, some individuals should avoid eating organ meats because they contain such large amounts of vitamin A

A 100-gram serving of raw liver is a good source of vitamin A, containing a jaw-dropping 338% of your daily dosage [15]. In most circumstances, this is a good thing (not a detriment).  

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that boosts your vision, immune system and reproductive health. In addition, it helps support healthy organs — particularly your heart, lungs and kidneys [16].

While vitamin A comes with a number of health benefits attached, it's important to note that vitamin A deficiency is rare and too much can cause toxicity in the body. Consuming high amounts of beta-carotene (found in vitamin A) can cause your skin to turn a yellow-orange color. In addition, pregnant women should not consume too much vitamin A as it can cause birth defects. Lastly, certain medications, such as Accutane, can be toxic when taken with vitamin A.  

How To Enjoy Liver (When You Don't Enjoy Liver) 

Liver and other organ meats are essential to health and wellness. Personally, we love the taste of organ meats — but we're well aware that many people do not. 

If you don't enjoy the taste of liver, you have two options: hide it or take it in supplement form. To "hide" the taste of liver, try whipping up a recipe that cuts the taste, such as a liver pate or a zuppa toscana with added organ meat.

Or, you can take the simpler route and take liver product supplements. Hunter & Gather Raw Icelandic Lamb Liver offers high-quality liver from grass-fed and finished lamb. Free of gluten, sugar and GMOs, it offers the benefits of liver in an easy-to-digest gelatin capsule. 

Is Liver Good for You? Absolutely!

Liver is one of the most nutrient-dense food sources available. Packed with beneficial vitamins and minerals, liver is a good source of vitamin A, B vitamins, iron and selenium.  

Liver helps support the health of your heart, immune system, nerve function and metabolism. For the easiest, most bioavailable way to enjoy liver, take it in capsule form. It's the best way to enjoy this ancestral superfood in the modern era. 

All information provided on our website and within our articles is simply information, opinion, anecdotal thoughts and experiences to provide you with the tools to thrive.

It is not intended to treat or diagnose symptoms and is definitely not intended to be misconstrued for medical advice. We always advise you seek the advice of a trained professional when implementing any changes to your lifestyle and dietary habits.

We do however recommend seeking the services of a trained professional who questions the conventional wisdom to enable you to become the best version of yourself.

RESOURCES

[1] https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/beef-products/3469/2

[2] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-Consumer/

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537254/

[4] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Riboflavin-Consumer/

[5] https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-thiamin/art-20366430

[6] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Niacin-HealthProfessional/

[7] https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-folate/art-20364625

[8] https://www.insider.com/what-is-vitamin-b6-good-for

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6471069/

[10] https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/poultry-products/667/2

[11] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/iron-deficiency-anemia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355034

[12] https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/selenium/

[13] https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002424.htm

[14] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Choline-HealthProfessional/

[15] https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/beef-products/3468/2

[16] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-Consumer/


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