Why Liver Is a Superfood

When we think of a superfood, plant-based foods like kale, blueberries, and pomegranate come to mind.

Liver, like many organ meats, actually is superior to many of the plant-based superfoods in the density of certain nutrients. Below are some health benefits of liver.

A 100-gram serving of beef liver provides:

  • Protein: 27 grams. Eating protein helps reduce hunger and appetite, boosts metabolism and weight loss, and helps build and preserve muscle.
  • Vitamin A:  26091 IU, 522% DV. Important to vision, immune, and reproductive system.
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 3.4 mg, 201% DV. Important to cellular development and function.
  • Vitamin B6: 1 mg, 51% DV. Involved in production of hemoglobin that carries oxygen throughout the body. Essential for proper brain development and function.
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate): 260 mcg, 65% DV. Important to cell growth and DNA formation.
  • Vitamin B12:  (Cobalamin): 83.1 mcg, 1386% DV . Aids formation of DNA, red blood cells, healthy brain function.
  • Iron:  6.2 mg, 34% DV. Essential to oxygen transport in the body.
  • Copper:  14.6 mg, 730% DV. Plays a role in activating enzymes involved in iron metabolism, energy production, and brain function.
  • Choline:  418 mg. Important for liver function & brain development.
  • Selenium: 32.8 mcg, 47%. Helps body make antioxidant enzymes to help prevent cell damage.

Benefits, advantages, and concerns about eating liver:

  • Liver contains high quality protein that provides all the essential amino acids the body needs. A high protein intake helps to reduce hunger (especially useful for fasting), boosts metabolism (accelerates weight loss), and helps build muscle.
  • Liver has fewer calories than many other meats. A 100-gram serving of beef liver has about 175 calories, whereas the same amount of rib-eye steak has 291 calories.
  • A popular concern about eating liver is that it is a potential store for toxins. Although the liver functions to neutralize toxins in the body, it does not act as a storage for the toxins. Toxins not eliminated from the body accumulate in the body’s fatty tissues. Like other meats the liver can accumulate heavy metals and other toxins and therefore should be purchased only from a reliable source.
  • Although a very nutrient-dense food, liver shouldn’t be consumed daily because of its unusually high contents of certain nutrients, such as Vitamin A and copper, and the potential for contamination by heavy metals and other toxins. A once-a-week consumption should be sufficient to reap its benefits while limiting its risks.
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