It's Time to Recognize Liver as a Superfood
by Evan DeMarco on Sep 20, 2022
If the last person you heard praise liver was Hannibal Lecter, it’s time for that to change. Organ meats are often packed with more nutrients—and flavor—than other cuts, and liver is the most nutritious of all.
In fact, we think it’s high time liver was recognized as a superfood. Not only is it protein-rich and packed with essential vitamins and minerals, it’s also relatively low in calories. Meat eaters, rejoice: liver might just be your new favorite food.
Here’s why you should consider adding more liver to your diet.
The skinny on eating liver
Liver isn’t just a healthy meat choice. It’s a healthy food choice, period. Livers are a vital organ present in both humans and animals. They help process digested food, stores nutrients and filters toxins from the bloodstream.
This is one of the most nutritious foods in the world, containing over 100 percent of the recommended daily intake for many essential nutrients. It’s considered a high-quality protein source. Best of all, it’s cheap and easy to find in grocery stores. The most common types of liver sources include chicken, duck, cow, lamb and pig.
You may have heard that livers are high in cholesterol, which is true. If you are sensitive to food in cholesterol, liver might not be a good dietary choice. Ask your doctor whether they recommend liver as a regular meat choice.
The good news about cholesterol is that for most people, heart-disease-related cholesterol is actually produced in the body—and when you eat cholesterol-rich foods, your body produces less. It’s a safe dietary choice for many people.
Similarly, you might worry that livers store toxins. This is a misconception. While livers filter out toxins from the bloodstream, they don’t store them: they expel them as waste. There’s no need to worry you’re consuming harmful toxins, especially when you get your liver from a reputable regenerative farm.
Finally, liver might not be suitable for pregnant people and those with gout. Consult with your doctor to learn whether it’s a safe choice, and in what quantity.
Why liver is a superfood
Liver used to be a popular food choice, especially because it’s protein-rich and cheap. Unfortunately, it’s fallen out of popularity—liver and onions, anyone? Organ meats do have a stronger flavor and different texture from muscle meats, so it may be an adjustment. However, we think the nutritional benefits far outweigh any hesitation you might have.
Here are the main nutritional benefits of a 3.5 ounce serving of liver:
- Vitamin A: One serving of liver may contain between 860 to 1,100 percent of your daily vitamin A intake. Vitamin A is key to vision, immune and reproductive function, and assists heart and kidney function.
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): Riboflavin turns food into energy and assists in cellular development and function. You can get 210 to 260 percent of your daily intake from one liver serving.
- Vitamin B9 (folate): Folate also assists in cell growth, as well as the DNA formation. You’ll get 65 percent of your daily dose from eating liver.
- Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is present in spades: you can get over 3,000 percent of your daily intake from one serving of liver. It helps create red blood cells and DNA, and assists in normal brain function.
- Choline: While there’s no recommended daily intake for choline, a single serving of liver can provide the entire adequate intake (AI) for women, and almost all of it for men. Choline assists in liver function and brain development.
- Copper: Liver has 1,620 percent of your daily copper intake. Copper helps your body by activating enzymes responsible for energy production, brain function and iron metabolism.
- Iron: Finally, if you’re a menstruating person, you can get 35 percent of your recommended daily iron intake from liver—or 80 percent, if you’re not a menstruating person. Best of all, the iron in liver is easily absorbed by the body, so you’ll get the full benefits.
All these vitamins and minerals make liver an excellent source of nutrition—not to mention flavor and protein. It can be seared with vegetables, blended into pate or used in stir fry dishes.
However you choose to liver, it’s worth putting this nutritious organ meat on your grocery list. As the cost of meat goes up, more people are looking for ways to eat healthy without breaking the bank. Liver might just be your new secret weapon.