Liver The Most Nutritious Food
Liver by itself could be a multivitamin because it’s the most nutritious food on the planet! Many of the nutrients found in liver can’t be found anywhere else in such high amounts. Liver is the most concentrated source of almost every key nutrient needed for health and wellness. It’s a truly potent nutritional powerhouse.
It’s great for fertility, growth and development, and an excellent food for boosting energy. Who doesn’t need more energy?
The Best Nutrition Is From Food, Not From Synthetic Pills
In general, getting your nutrients from foods is better than getting them from supplements.
A multivitamin may sound like a quick and easy solution to getting the nutrients you need. However, there is no guarantee about the quality or even the health benefits of a multivitamin from your local grocery store.
Multivitamins are hard to absorb and often contain vitamins and minerals in incorrect proportions. Vitamins and minerals work synergistically, for example, magnesium and calcium work together. If you’re taking too much of one, you can potentially throw off the balance of the other.
Eating vitamins and minerals from natural sources, rather than supplementing with synthetic ones, helps to ensure that the ratios we consume are not toxic.
Nutrients And Health Benefits Found In Liver
Liver is so powerful that if you eat it once a week, you will meet your needs for vitamin A, for vitamin B12, and for copper for that entire week! (1)
It’s an excellent source of a lot of minerals, all of B vitamins, and super abundant in choline and biotin. It also contains a highly absorbable form of iron, very necessary for women of child bearing age.
In fact, when comparing 100 grams of grass-fed beef liver to apples, carrots and even red muscle meat, it out scores in every nutrient category! In general, organ meats, like liver, are between 10 and 100 times higher in nutrients than corresponding muscle meats.
Nutrient Profile of Beef Liver
- Liver is an excellent source of high-quality protein. It contains all nine essential amino acids.
- Nature’s most concentrated source of vitamin A (which is rapidly depleted during times of stress and on a low-fat diet). In fact, the body is unable to use protein, minerals, or water-soluble vitamins without vitamin A. Animal products contain vitamin A (retinol), versus the vitamin A precursor beta-carotene, which is in plant sources. Many people, including infants and children, have a difficult time converting beta-carotene to retinol in the small intestine. Only retinol can kick off the many processes that the body relies on for optimal health. Beta-carotene is important as an antioxidant, but it is not a reliable source of Vitamin A.
- Contains all the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K. We need vitamin D for growth, also for bone and teeth health; vitamin E for deactivating free radicals, circulation, and healing; vitamin K for blood clotting and bone formation. And liver’s got them all, and a lot of them. Eating natural sources of fat-soluble vitamins, rather than supplementing with synthetic ones, helps to ensure that the ratios we consume are not toxic.
- All the B vitamins in abundance, particularly vitamin B12, which the body can not make and must be obtained from animal sources, is crucial to fertility, growth and development, energy, and mental health.
- Liver is also the best source of choline, which is a water soluble nutrient often grouped with B vitamins. It is required for almost all basic body functions, including fetal development of the brain and nervous system, building cellular structures, and detoxification.
- One of our best sources of folate is important for fertility and fetal health, and obtaining it from food sources is one way to avoid synthetic B9, folic acid, which has been linked to cancer. (2) Folate is stunningly stable in liver during frozen storage, and there is ZERO loss of the folate in liver during cooking! (3)
- A highly usable form of iron, as well as zinc
- The best food source of copper, which is important for maintaining adequate magnesium levels in the blood
- High in selenium, which is important for preventing mercury toxicity. (4) Also contains chromium and phosphorus
- Liver contains more vitamin C than apples or carrots
- CoQ10, a powerful antioxidant – a nutrient that is especially important for cardio-vascular function
- An unidentified anti-fatigue factor – Increases energy levels (great for those with adrenal fatigue or low energy)
- Contains fatty acids like EPA, DHA and AA
- A good source of purines, nitrogen-containing compounds that serve as precursors for DNA and RNA.
Eating Liver Prevents Anemia
Liver contains plentiful natural Vitamin A and iron. Vitamin A is necessary for proper absorption of iron. If you struggle with any type of anemia — a clear sign of an iron deficiency — this is probably the best food to consume in the world because it contains folate, iron and vitamin B12. These are the three vitamins and minerals you need in order to overcome anemia naturally.
Does Liver Store Toxins?
Many people are afraid to eat liver because it filters toxins in the body.
One of the primary roles of the liver is to neutralize toxins. But the liver doesn’t store toxins, instead it stores a lot of powerful nutrients that the body uses to get rid of toxins.
“One of the roles of the liver is to neutralize toxins (such as drugs, chemical agents and poisons); but the liver does not store toxins. Poisonous compounds that the body cannot neutralize and eliminate are likely to lodge in the fatty tissues and the nervous system. The liver is not a storage organ for toxins but it is a storage organ for many important nutrients (vitamins A, D, E, K, B12 and folic acid, and minerals such as copper and iron). These nutrients provide the body with some of the tools it needs to get rid of toxins.” (5)
Like with all meat, knowing where your liver comes from is key. When you buy liver, whether at your farmer’s market or in supplement form, it’s important that you get it from a grass-fed or pasture-raised animal.
Here’s a simple way to grasp the difference between the two terms:
“grass-fed” refers to what an animal eats (grass);
“pasture-raised” refers to where it eats (on a pasture).
Pigs can’t survive only on grass — they need some grain in their diet, as do chickens — which is why you never see “grass-fed pork” or “grass-fed chicken” on any packaging. You only see grass-fed beef, lamb, and goat, because these animals eat only grass. You do see “pasture-raised chicken” and “pasture-raised pork,” because animals on pasture can have their diet supplemented with grain.
Do you want 100% grass-fed beef liver? A product may say “grass-fed” on the packaging, but the cow might have been “finished” on grain, meaning it ate grain during the last 2 or 3 months of its life. Select product labeled “100% grass-fed beef liver”. Grass-fed livers are clean, healthy, and packed with nutrition.
Commercial chicken liver, even if organic, is usually unsuitable for eating due to a diet of unnatural, soy based feed and lack of freedom to roam and peck for bugs. Never also buy liver that’s in the refrigerator in a grocery store. That liver is already going bad. The best thing is to buy liver in its frozen state.
What About Vitamin A Toxicity?
There are some concerns with overdosing on vitamin A, plenty of which is found in liver. But, these concerns all originate from studies that showed certain doses of synthetic vitamin A caused health problems and even contributed to birth defects.
Naturally-occurring vitamin A, like the kind found in liver and other natural foods, has not been shown to cause problems except in extremely large amounts.
“In adults, according to the Merck Manual, vitamin A toxicity has been reported in Arctic explorers who developed drowsiness, irritability, headaches and vomiting, with subsequent peeling of the skin, within a few hours of ingesting several million units of vitamin A from polar bear or seal liver. Again, these symptoms clear up with discontinuation of the vitamin A-rich food. Other than this unusual example, however, only vitamin A from megavitamin tablets containing vitamin A when taken for a long time has induced acute toxicity, that is, 100,000 IU synthetic vitamin A per day taken for many months.
Thus, unless you are an Arctic explorer, it is very difficult to develop vitamin A toxicity from liver. The putative toxic dose of 100,000 IU per day is contained in two-and-one-half 100-gram servings of duck liver or about three 100-gram servings of beef liver. From the work of Weston Price, we can assume that the amount in primitive diets was about 50,000 IU per day.” (6)
How To Eat Liver?
Not all liver tastes the same, and just because one type of liver doesn’t appeal to you doesn’t mean that you will dislike them all. Beef liver, for example, is rather unappealing to me due to its extremely strong flavor. On the other hand, I absolutely love liverwurst or chicken liver pate.
- Cook liver yourself – cut it as thinly as possible and to cook it as lightly as possible.
- You can buy at farmer’s market liverwurst (liver sausage) that contains liver blended in with other meats. It is seasoned well and acts more like a spread or dip than a cut of meat. You can spread it on a bread, crackers or sliced veggies such as cucumbers. It taste delicious.
- Blend liver in a food processor and freeze it in an ice tray. Next time you are cooking a meal that requires ground meat, like meatballs or chili, simply throw in a cube or two of liver. Just brown it with the other meat. You don’t need to defrost these cubes, as they are small enough to break up just fine frozen.
- You can also eat raw liver by turning liver into pills. Simply cut liver into pea-sized pieces and freeze for 14 days. Swallow one or two daily like you swallow vitamin pills. The liver should be of the highest quality available.
A good recommendation for liver is one 100-gram serving of beef, lamb, bison or duck liver (about 4 ounces) once or twice a week, providing about 50,000 IU vitamin A per serving. Chicken liver, which is lower in vitamin A, may be consumed more frequently. (7)
Desiccated Liver Powder Capsules
For those who really don’t want to eat liver, desiccated liver powder capsules are an excellent alternative. When looking for liver supplements, you want to make sure it’s from pasture-raised animals — just like you would when buying liver itself.
Be wary of some desiccated liver brands that remove the fat which denatures the product. You only want desiccated liver with nothing added and nothing removed.
Liver Plays A Prominent Role In Disease-Fighting Gerson Therapy
Liver has actually been used extensively by doctors of natural medicine for years. In fact, German scientist Dr. Max Gerson created something called the Gerson Therapy.
The Gerson Therapy is a natural treatment that activates the body’s extraordinary ability to heal itself – with no damaging side effects – through an organic, plant-based diet, raw juices, coffee enemas and natural supplements. Beef liver was part of his primary protocol in helping his patients heal.
He used raw liver juice, extracted with a special juicer that pressed out the liquid, in his original healing protocol with pancreatic cancer patients. His daughter, Charlotte Gerson, later dropped this part of the protocol because of the unavailability of fresh clean liver without bacterial contamination. Now a crude liver extract injection or desiccated liver tablets are used in the current protocol.
The information here is provided for informational purposes only. It is not presented with the intention of diagnosing or treating any disease or condition. It is in no way intended to substitute for the advice provided by your doctor or other health care professional. By using this site you agree to these terms. (Read more)
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