Today, I want to share with you one of the most nutritious foods on the planet – liver.
Now, to those who’ve never eaten liver before, you might be cringing a little bit.
This unusual organ meal is seldom eaten by Americans these days, yet it’s an absolute powerhouse of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
In fact, gram for gram it’s one of the most nutritious foods on the planet.
It’s very high in protein, an easily absorbable form of iron, all of the B vitamins, remarkable amounts of vitamin A, many trace elements and minerals including copper, zinc, chromium, phosphorous and selenium, essential fatty acids EPA, DHA and AA, as well as the powerful antioxidant CoQ10.
For anyone looking to optimize their health, liver is essential.
Below, I’ve listed the top 3 reasons to start eating liver today.
Liver Is Packed With Vitamin A
Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin which plays a critical role in maintaining healthy vision, neurological function, healthy skin, and is a potent antioxidant.
Vitamin A, like all antioxidants, is involved in reducing inflammation through fighting free radical damage.
Other critical benefits of Vitamin A include:
• Protects Eye Health
• Provide Immunity Support
• Helps prevent cancer
In nature, Vitamin A comes in two forms: active Vitamin A and beta carotene. Active Vitamin A comes from animal-derived foods and is called retinol.
Contained in fruits and vegetables, is in the form “beta carotene”, which needs to first be converted to active Vitamin A in order to be utilized by the body.
The “pre-formed” retinol can be used directly, making it the preferred source for your body.
However, retinol is very hard to find in needed quantities, that is outside of organ meats, specifically liver.
For example, a cup of broccoli only has around 2,500 IUs of inferior beta-carotene, while just 100 grams of beef liver as around 53,000 IUs of retinol.
How much liver should you be eating then?
I’ll get to that in a moment.
Liver Is A Vitamin B12 Monster
One in four adults in the U.S are deficient in Vitamin B12 and most people are only getting baseline sufficient dose.
Vitamin B12 is essential for energy production, blood formation, DNA synthesis, and myelin formation.
Myelin is insulation that protects your nerve endings and allows them to communicate with one another.
B12 is not readily available in plants, so if you don’t eat meat or animal products you are at risk.
The few plants that do contain B12 are actually B12 analogs, which blocks the uptake of true B12, so your body’s need for the nutrient actually increases.
Another issue with B12 is that you’ll often see B12 supplements in your neighborhood health store, but what they don’t tell you is that these supplements are barely, if at all, absorbed in your digestive system.
This is where liver comes in.
100 grams of beef liver contains around 60mcg of vitamin b12 Vitamin B12, which is 988% of the daily valued “needed”.
Not consuming enough vitamin B12 can lead to a multitude of health issues including, depression, anemia, sleep problems, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and fertility issues.
Liver Is Loaded with Coenzyme Q10 ( CoQ10 )
Another nutrient packed into liver is CoQ10.
CoQ10 is also a powerful antioxidant and immune booster that guards against disease-promoting damage to proteins, lipids, and DNA.
CoQ10 is one of the most important nutrients when it comes to keeping healthy mitochondria, which are the “power plants” of your cells.
There exists a strong connection between defects in mitochondrial and resulting oxidative stress in the brain.
Deficiencies CoQ10 produce disruptions that can have catastrophic consequences, contributing to many age-related neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
CoQ10 levels in the brain begin declining at the age of 20 and sharply decline after the age of 35.
There are different forms of CoQ10 supplements, but nothing beats getting this nutrient from whole foods.
How Much Liver Can You Eat?
Because Vitamin A is a fat soluble nutrient, meaning it’s stored in the body for long periods of time as opposed to water soluble vitamins that are quickly excreted by the body.
This means there are risks of toxicity, and because there is so much vitamin A in liver, you don’t want to overdo it.
Eating about a ¼ of a pound of liver once a week is all you need to receive sufficient amounts of vitamin A.
To those who have tried liver, this isn’t the worst thing in the world as it is quite the acquired taste.
If you’re feeling adventurous you can try pan sautéing it on your own with some salt and pepper, or you can find many great recipes online.
We would love to hear your own experiences with liver and any recipes you may have by leaving a comment in the comment section below.