Beef liver has somehow fallen out of the standard American diet. It does tend to taste strong and if it is overcooked it can be quite unpleasant to eat. However, the health benefits of beef liver are amazing.
I recently heard about Minot and Whipple curing pernicious anemia through a liver feeding therapy. They fed 2-4 ounces of liver to people on a daily basis to cure pernicious anemia, an autoimmune condition. It worked! Within 8 weeks, the patients’ iron levels had all normalized.
I decided that I should look further into the health benefits of liver and begin incorporating this superfood into my own diet. Here’s what I found…
High in Bioavailable Nutrients
Liver is high in bioavailable nutrients. This means that there aren’t components of the food that may block absorption. In plants, phytates and lectins can often interfere with the nutrient absorption. You may not absorb all the vitamins and minerals when you consume something like grains or nuts.
- Vitamin A: Liver is highest in vitamin A. The high amount of vitamin A does concern some people and they feel that you could overdose on liver. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin that benefits eye health, skin health and cellular turnover.
- Iron: Liver is high in iron. Iron helps with muscle function, brain function and hemoglobin formation. This makes it crucial for energy production.
- Copper: Copper is an important mineral because it contributes to nerve and immune health. Copper also assists with collagen production. It is beneficial in the development of hair, joints, skin and nail health.
- B Vitamins: Liver is a great source of all the B vitamins, especially vitamin B12 and folate. The B vitamins are important for converting food into energy. They help you feel energetic and vibrant in your daily life. Folate is essential for cellular growth.
- Choline: Liver provides your body with the daily Adequate Intake (AI) for women and almost all of it for men. Choline is beneficial for brain development and liver function.
When you compare the nutrients in liver to apples, carrots and other red meat, liver beats them out by quite a bit!
Liver exceeds the RDI (recommended daily intake) for vitamin B12, vitamin A, riboflavin and copper. One serving will allow you to meet your daily needs. Liver is also rich in the essential nutrients folate, iron and choline.
A High-Quality Protein
Protein is an essential building block for every part of the body. It is needed to make and repair cells and turn food into energy. Over 25% of beef liver contains protein.
Beef liver is very high-quality protein. It provides all the essential amino acids which make up proteins. The essential amino acids must come from food, they can not be made in the body.
Helps with Weight Loss
High protein intake has been shown to assist with weight loss. It reduces hunger and appetite. Protein satisfies hunger much better than carbohydrates, according to a study done by the Rowlett Research Institute.
Protein causes increases your metabolic rate by 15–30%, compared to 5–10% for carbs and 0–3% for fats. Including a high protein food, such as liver, in your diet can increase your metabolic rate. This means you’ll burn more calories which can be helpful for weight loss.
Cures Pernicious Anemia
George Minot and William Murphy studied the diets of patients who had pernicious anemia. Minot ordered his patients to eat a diet with 100 grams to 240 grams of liver per day along with 120 grams of muscle meat, and leafy vegetables, spinach, fruits, eggs and milk.
Many of the patients on Minot’s diet recovered rapidly showing improvements within a few days. After eight weeks, patients’ blood was examined and blood showed newly formed reticulocytes. This supported the diet’s efficacy.
Treats Tropical Sprue
In 1883 Manson promoted the use of liver to treat Tropical Sprue, a digestive disorder. Tropical sprue is similar to celiac sprue. It shows a loss in intestinal villi, which affects the intestinal absorptive function. Patients who have tropical and nontropical sprue suffer from malabsorption.
The cause of sprue has not been determined. Patients with sprue present with macrocytic anemia due to malabsorption of folate or vitamin B12.
Treatment of tropical sprue with vitamin B12 and folate cures the macrocytic anemia and the glossitis. This results in increased appetite and weight gain.
Conclusion – A Healthy Superfood
As you can see, your body will benefit in many ways from consuming liver. People have been healed from pernicious anemia and Tropical Sprue through a diet that is rich in liver. It contains nutrients that benefit almost every aspect of life for your body. From improving your eyesight to easing your digestion, liver is supporting your health on a grand scale.
While liver may not be the tastiest superfood out there, it is worth it to include it in your diet. You may want to check out beef liver capsules if you don’t want to fix yourself liver everyday.
Not sure why grassfed beef is important? Check out the difference between grass fed and grass finished beef.