Seems like every couple of days there’s news about a newly discovered “superfood”. Is beef liver a superfood? In this post we’ll review what nutrients are found in beef liver and unearth if it’s a superfood or not.
Beef liver is cheap to buy, it’s not generally wanted or easily available, and most people think it’s disgusting. This has made a market for beef liver supplements and recipes to help disguise the unwanted metallic taste of liver.
What makes liver taste metallic?
When liver is overcooked, it loses moisture and the mineral concentration goes up (liver is loaded with minerals), these minerals from liver, typically have a metallic flavor.
What are the nutrients in liver?
- Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient.
- B12 assists in the creation of DNA.
- B12 Provides needed nutrients to promote a healthy functioning brain and nervous system.
- B12 helps form healthy red blood cells.
- B12 plays a role in serotonin production (deficiency typically leads to clinical depression).
- B12 lowers homocysteine in the blood – may help to prevent age related macular degeneration.
- Pregnant mothers who have a B12 deficiency have a raised risk of neural tube birth defects, miscarriage, and premature birth.
- Liver from ruminants contains 59.3 ug of B12 per 100g. That’s a lot! For comparison: chicken: .3 ug per 100g | steak: 5.14 ug per 100g
- B12 is found naturally (in any type of meaningful measurement) from animal sources only.
- Vitamin A is important for preserving your eyesight.
- Vitamin A helps support a better immune system. Reduced Vitamin A increases your chances of infection and will impact recovery timeframe.
- Vitamin A assists in promoting healthier bones.
- Liver from ruminants contains 17.997 IU per 100g. For comparison: Sweet Potato (top Vitamin A veggie): 14,000 IU per 100g
- Vitamin B2 helps breakdown macronutrients (Carb/Fat/Protein)
- B2 converts carbs into ATP.
- B2 helps maintain healthy membranes in the digestive system.
- B12 ironically helps to keep your liver functioning properly.
- Liver from ruminants contains 3mg per 100g. For comparison: Spinach .2mg per 100g.
Folate (B9) (AKA Folic Acid)
- Folate provides a decreased risk of congenital deformities.
- Folate lowers your risk of depression.
- Folate lowers homocysteine (high levels of homocysteine increase your risk of heart disease).
- Liver from ruminants contains 290 ug per 100g. For comparison: Lentils 350 ug per 100g. Here’s our first nutrient where plant sources have more availability by weight of food consumed. However, lentils may cause gas and bloating, liver does not.
- Iron helps to support blood volume and red blood cell production.
- Iron carries oxygen to the muscles and brain (helps maintain energy balance).
- Iron improves endurance and athletic performance.
- Lack of iron causes anemia. Anemia results when hemoglobin is below normal ranges. Those with anemia suffer from: fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, and accelerated heart rate.
- Irons assists in boosting immunity.
- Iron helps to improve concentration and focus.
- Regular iron consumption improves sleep.
- Liver from ruminants contains 17.9 mg per 100g. For comparison: Steak 2.4 mg per 100g
Why are vegetables a poor source of Iron?
You’ll see some veggies show a relatively high amount of iron per serving. For example: Tofu (ranges from 1 mg to 9 mg per 100g) | Lentils 3 mg per 100g. While these numbers aren’t as high as liver, they seem respectable. However, there’s more to the story:
With animal sources of protein, you absorb up to 15-30 percent of the heme iron you consume. Veggies do not contain heme iron, they contain non-heme iron. Non-heme iron is found in plant-based foods like tofu and lentils. 2-10 percent of non-heme iron is absorbed. This explains why veggies are typically considered a poor source of Iron in comparison to beef liver.
- Low Copper levels have been linked to high cholesterol and blood pressure.
- Low Copper can lead to Neutropenia. Neutropenia is a deficiency of white blood cells (you need ample white blood cells to successfully fight off infection).
- Severe Copper deficiency may lead to bone mineral density issues.
- Proper Copper intake boosts collagen production.
- Liver from ruminants contains 14 mg per 100g. For comparison: Shiitake Mushrooms 1mg per 100g | Cashews 1mg per 100g
- Choline assists with proper cell structure and messaging.
- Lack of adequate Choline may result in fat and cholesterol buildup in the Liver.
- Choline assist in making acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter) – aids in muscle movement and heartbeat regulation.
- Liver from ruminants contains 418 mg per 100g. For comparison: Eggs 251 mg per 100g | Wheat germ 152 mg per 100g | Bacon 125 mg per 100g
Beef Liver: An Absolute Superfood
Eating ruminant liver provides a much better source of nutrients in comparison to nearly all other sources when it comes to B Vitamins, Iron, Copper, and Choline. If you can’t stand the taste of liver, try supplementing with desiccated liver capsules from (real ruminant animals).
What does desiccated mean?
No more moisture. If you remove all the moisture from liver and contain it in a little capsule as a pill, it’s considered desiccated liver.