Lamb liver nutrition: Chopped up liver, onions, and rosemary

How To Reap the Benefits of Lamb Liver Nutrition

For most Western eaters, liver and other offal are discarded variety meats and byproducts of the butchering process that never make it to the final dish. Certain countries and regions certainly celebrate a nose-to-tail lifestyle as our ancient ancestors did — beef liver and onions is a delicacy in the American South, as are fried chicken gizzards. The Japanese serve ankimo, or steamed monkfish liver, as a delicious appetizer at most restaurants. And of course, paté is celebrated in many countries.

But if you haven’t yet given liver and other offal a shot, those little bits deserve your attention — and a place at the table for a truly nutrient-dense diet. 

Organ meat like liver, heart, kidneys and other offal are chock full of nutrition that you won't find in your steak or lamb chops. Sure, high-quality protein sources like grass-fed beef and lamb, along with pastured pork, chicken and eggs are excellent sources of amino acids and beneficial fatty acids, but organ meat blows them out of the water when it comes to micronutrients. 

If you don't like the thought of sinking your teeth into some sautéed liver at dinner, that's OK. Offal of all kinds can be an acquired taste (which we encourage you to acquire!). There are supplement options that don’t require you to taste the liver, but still allow you to reap the benefits of this nutrient-dense food. 

We’ll dive into lamb liver nutrition in this article and show you how you can incorporate it into your diet.

Lamb Liver Nutrition Information

If you're interested in trying your hand at cooking liver, you'll be impressed to learn just how much nutrition can fit into a tiny portion — you don't have to eat a lot of liver to get what you need. 

An 85-gram serving of lamb liver contains 187 calories, 26 grams of protein, 7.5 grams of (mostly saturated) fat and 426 milligrams of cholesterol [1]. While those are great stats for macros, it's the micros that will dazzle you. That same 85-gram serving boasts a whopping 21,202 IU of vitamin A, 3.4 milligrams of riboflavin and 65 micrograms of vitamin B12, all far exceeding minimum daily value recommendations. It's also a great source of other B vitamins like niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid and folate (folic acid) [1].

Lamb liver's mineral profile is also quite impressive. It's rich in minerals like iron, phosphorus, zinc, copper and selenium, with the last two also far exceeding minimum daily values [1].

We're focusing on lamb liver, but beef liver, goose liver, chicken liver and even pork liver will provide you with a wide and potent array of nutrients for your optimal wellness. And if you're a fan of pate, you're already enjoying some of these nutritional benefits in every bite! 

Micronutrient Benefits

Sometimes wrapping your head around a bunch of numbers when it comes to food can feel a little too abstract. It might help to know what some of these micronutrients do to benefit your health. The vitamins and minerals found in the highest potencies in lamb liver offer a variety of benefits. 

Vitamin A supports healthy eye function and vision, reproductive health and a strong immune system. It's also instrumental in the healthy functioning of the kidneys and heart. Vitamin A is also used topically for skin health [2].

Lamb liver supplies most of the B complex vitamins, including thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), folate (B9) and vitamin B12. Each of these offers a number of supportive functions, including:

  • Red blood cell formation and healthy brain function (B1 and B12) [3]
  • Proper cellular development (B2) [4]
  • The healthy growth and formation of DNA (B9) [5]
  • Maintenance of healthy cholesterol levels and heart health, along with promoting healthy skin (B3) [6]
  • Healthy sex hormone and stress hormone production, a healthy digestive tract, and strong hair, skin and nails (B5) [7]

Iron is a critical ingredient in the formation of hemoglobin in your blood. This protein helps carry oxygen from the lungs to other tissues in your body to support proper oxygenation [8].

Copper helps regulate energy production and iron metabolism. It also helps with the healthy development of connective tissue like cartilage, bone, ligaments, tendons and skin, in addition to ensuring healthy neurotransmitter function [9].

Selenium is an antioxidant and a key component in the essential amino acid selenocysteine. Selenocysteine is critical to neurological health and a variety of metabolic processes. Selenium also supports a healthy immune response and healthy blood glucose levels [10].

Zinc is essential in cellular metabolism, wound healing, enzyme activity, protein synthesis, cell division and DNA creation. It's critical to the healthy growth of a human fetus and also provides immune support [11].

While this is likely a lot of information to process, the most important thing to glean from it is that the nutrient density of lamb liver is off the charts, especially when compared to the prime cuts of meat you pay top dollar for at the butcher. That's why our ancient ancestors valued it and other offal so much as part of their staple foods. It's worth your time and energy to include small portions of liver in your diet every week — or supplement it.

Choose Grass-Fed Meat

Quality counts, whether you follow the paleo diet, keto diet, low-carb diet, Whole30 or something different. This is especially true for meat and dairy products, as the fat composition in the animals themselves will affect the nutritional composition of the meat or dairy they produce. 

For example, if the bulk of a grazing animal's calorie intake comes from corn and soy, the fat their body produces will contain more pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. That's because corn and soy are both high in omega-6 fats. When these animals eat the grasses they evolved to eat, their body fat has a higher percentage of omega-3 fats, which are anti-inflammatory and highly beneficial to humans [12]. 

Furthermore, when animals are free to roam, they get more exercise, more sunshine and a greater diversity of nutrients in their diets. This translates to healthier animals and a healthier food source for you. 

To Eat or To Supplement?

You've likely heard the term "bioavailable" when it comes to supplements. Bioavailability refers to your body's ability to assimilate the nutrients it takes in. Cheap supplements with low-quality ingredients can be hard for your body to break down. 

In some cases, there's one type of vitamin or mineral that's easier to absorb than another. Calcium citrate is easier to absorb than calcium carbonate on an empty stomach, for example. But when taken with food, they're both well-absorbed [13]. Vitamin D3 is more bioavailable than vitamin D2, as another example [14].

Because so many functional health professionals advocate for eating the rainbow and getting the vast majority of your micronutrients from your food, you might be wondering if supplementing liver will do you any good. 

At Hunter & Gather we’ve developed a lamb liver capsule that comes as close to eating liver as you can possibly get. Aside from the gelatin capsule, the only ingredient inside is raw, freeze-dried liver. Along with our 100% grass-fed and finished liver supplement, we offer a combination product containing liver and heart, in addition to a heart supplement and a kidney supplement.

All of these contain raw, freeze-dried organs from Icelandic lamb that roam wild on the volcanic island. So you know you're getting the absolute top quality.

If you’re curious about eating organ meat, you can start with a low-risk option by buying something you already eat: liver and bacon or pate.

Give Liver a Try

Eating a variety of foods across the plant and animal kingdoms is one of the most straightforward ways to ensure that you're eating a healthy, nutrient-dense diet. By eating every part of the animal (nose to tail), you are giving yourself the best chance at optimal health.  

Don't discount eating liver if you haven't tried it yet. You never know, you might love it! If you're feeling squeamish about eating liver, try the Hunter & Gather Liver Capsules. They’re an easy way to maximise your micronutrients with what is arguably the animal kingdom’s original superfood.

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.

REFERENCES

[1] https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/lamb-veal-and-game-products/4669/2

[2] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/

[3] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/

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

[5] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-HealthProfessional/ 

[6] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18375237/ 

[7] https://www.nap.edu/read/6015/chapter/1

[8] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/

[9] https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/copper

[10] https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/selenium

[11] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/

[12] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257651/ 

[13] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/#:~:text=Dietary%20supplements,-The%20two%20main&text=Due%20to%20its%20dependence%20on,or%20without%20food%20%5B7%5D

[14] https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/9-things-that-can-undermine-your-vitamin-d-level


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