Let’s face it, liver isn’t exactly high on the average person’s list of favorite foods. The truth is, your own opinion of it probably dates back to your childhood, when you may have expected that first piece to taste much differently than it actually did. However, you have to take into consideration that your taste in food will often mature with age and you may suddenly ﬁnd yourself appreciating foods that you once detested.
Let’s take a brief look at some of the amazing health benefits of eating liver.
1. High in Protein
The body needs protein to create and repair cells, convert food into energy and create the various hormones, enzymes and antibodies needed for breast milk. When protein is metabolized by the body, it’s broken down into organic compounds called “amino acids.”
Your body needs a total of 21 different amino acids to function properly, but 12 of them can actually be manufactured by the body, itself. The remaining nine are referred to as “essential amino acids” and are typically taken from food sources.
The great thing about beef liver is that a single slice of it can supply up to 40 percent of the DV (Daily Value) of protein that your body needs. This includes some lather generous quantities of four of the nine essential amino acids, with somewhat smaller amounts of the remaining five.
2. High in Vitamins
Vitamins play an important role in the growth and development of your body. Most of the vitamins our body needs can be found in the foods we eat, provided we’re eating the right foods in reasonable amounts two of these vitamins, in particular, are quite plentiful in liver. These two are vitamins A and EH2.
Vitamin A is absolutely critical for good vision, but it’s also important for healthy reproductive function and the proper growth, communication and differentiation of your body’s various cells. Without sufficient vitamin A, your immune system would not be able to provide the white blood cells needed to ﬁght off disease.
The Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) recommends consuming 2,333 to 3,000 IU (international units) of vitamin A, daily. With this in mind, consider that a mere 3-ounce serving of chicken liver can provide you with up to 11,329 IU of vitamin A and a comparable serving of beef liver can supply you with 26,957 IU. These ﬁgures are generally all quite high, regardless of the type of liver, with lamb at 21,203 IU and veal at 60,000 IU.
Another important vitamin your body needs is B12. It helps create red blood cells, as well as converting the amino acid “homocysteine” into methionine. This is an extremely critical function, because too much homocysteine can severely damage your arteries. The recommended dietary allowance of B12 is 2.4 micrograms daily, as per the FNB.
Any type of liver will easily exceed this recommendation. That same 3 ounce piece of chicken liver will provide 14 micrograms of B12, while beef, lamb and veal will supply 60, 65 and 72 micrograms, respectively.
3. High in Minerals
Minerals help build and maintain strong teeth and bones, as well as maintaining functions like heart rhythm and various bodily processes. Along with vitamins, the body needs minerals like zinc, iron and selenium, which are quite plentiful in liver. Zinc is a particularly important mineral that serves the body in many capacities 9.|ch as maintaining proper immune function, the creation of protein and genetic materials, healing wounds, cellular metabolism and cell division.
It’s also required in many areas relating to child development and normal growth. A single serving of beef liver contains 88 percent of the RDA (recommended dietary allowance) for zinc in adult males and 121 percent of the RDA for adult females
Iron is needed to help transport oxygen throughout the body, as well as for proper cell growth and division. A 68-gram serving of beef liver will provide up to 56 percent of the RDA for iron in adult males and 25 percent of the RDA for adult females. Selenium is a mineral the body needs to fight cellular damage caused by free radicals
Once metabolized, it combines with proteins to form “selenoproteins” These powerful antioxidants work to prevent the development of heart disease and cancer. Additionally, selenium plays vital roles in the proper function of the immune system and the thyroid.
4. Helps Fight Fatigue
Of all the known health beneﬁts of eating liver, one of the most striking is its ability to help ﬁght fatigue. One experiment dating back to the early 1950s involved three groups of rats, each given an ordinary diet, fortiﬁed with vitamins.
The only difference between the three groups was how their diets were modiﬁed. Nothing was done to change the ﬁrst group’s diet, but the other two were slightly altered. The second group was given the same diet with a hefty supply of B-vitamin complex. The third group was also given the same basic diet, but instead of the B vitamins, they were given 10 percent of their diet in the form of powdered liver. After a few weeks on their respective diets, all of the rats were placed into a drum of cold water to see how long they would be able to swim without being able to climb out.
The ﬁrst group was only able to swim for an average of 13.3 minutes. The second group (the ones given the B vitamins) didn’t fare much better, averaging about 13.4 minutes before giving up. However, the third group fared incredibly well, with even the slowest rat swimming for a whopping 63 minutes.
As if that wasn’t enough, there were several rats in the third group that went on to swim for more than two hours, until the test was finally terminated. To this day, it remains unknown exactly what compound in the liver was responsible for preventing their total exhaustion.
No matter how you may have once felt about eating liver, it’s hard to ignore the fact that it contains many times more nutrients than muscle meat. As you get older and your body requires a bit more care, you can no longer afford to make the same poor dietary choices you got by with in your youth.
When you consider that many of today’s health problems are often the result of easily-remedied deficiencies, it makes a great deal of sense to cut back on the junk and replace it with some deliciously-prepared liver.