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Pate, foie gras, cooked liver - a bit less famous superfood

Updated: Nov 18, 2022

I know, this post is not for vegetarian but I was very tempted to share with you some information about specific food type this time - I mean organ meats and particularly liver. This food is not very popular on our tables nowadays and many people do not feel encouraged to eat liver but maybe it is worth incorporating it into our diet?

It is a superfood!

Liver is one of the most nutrient dense food available for us, and it is not only rich in plenty of nutrients but also the nutrients are provided in the best absorbable form.

The recent study on anti-ageing has used liver as a part of the protocol as the nutrients in the liver support methylation - a process in the body which supports our DNA and helps slowing down the ageing.

Can we consider liver as a natural multivitamin?

Liver contains the following nutrients:

Iron - it plays a key role in the production of red blood cells which carry oxygen. Therefore, it reduces tiredness and fatigue, supports good energy levels. The iron assimilation requires bioavailable form of copper and vitamin A which are also available in the high level in the liver. (100g of beef liver contains 6.5mg of iron)

Copper - it activates enzymes that regulate brain function, iron metabolism, and energy production. (100g of beef liver contains 14.3mg of iron)

Vitamin A - in the liver it is found in retinol (retinoic acid) form which is much better absorbable form than the one coming from beta - carotenes. Vitamin A is a nutrient important to vision, growth, cell division, reproduction and immune system. Vitamin A also has antioxidant properties.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) - helps break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. It plays a vital role in maintaining the body's energy supply by converting carbohydrates into ATP - our body energy unit. (100g of beef liver contains 3.4mcg of vit. B2)

Vitamin B12 - this vitamin is needed to form red blood cells and DNA. It is also a key player in the function and development of brain and nerve cells. Prevents tiredness and fatigue. (100g of beef liver contains 70,6mcg of vitamin B12)

Folate - this nutrient is important in red blood cell formation and for healthy cell growth and function. Your body needs folate to make DNA and other genetic material.

Omega 3 - if you chose to eat a cod liver you can additionally benefit from omega 3 fatty acids - one dose of cod liver provides approx. 2,4g which is more than a required daily need. Omega 3 fatty acids support our brain function, reduce inflammation and support immunity.

Liver is also a good source of potassium and other vitamins from group B.

100g of liver would provide approx. 150 calories (23g protein, 4g fats).

Are there any precautions?

Due to a very high content of vitamin A - 5614 mcg in 100g it needs to be eaten in a very moderate amount by pregnant women. Pregnant woman should not exceed 770 mcg a day of vitamin A as there might be a risk of harming a baby.

Organ meats including liver are high in purines - uric acid is produced from purines in the body. High level of uric acid can lead to gout. However organ meats are not the only sources of purine or reason for uric acid production. If you do not have any symptoms, I would still advise having organ meats regularly.

Can liver be toxic?

Many people would ask - while liver is a detoxification organ will it not contain a lot of toxins? Yes, indeed it is a detoxification organ but it does not store the toxins which are passing through the liver as if there are some which do not get detoxified they would return to the blood stream.

How to incorporate liver in our daily menu?

Not everyone will try pure liver, you either love it or hate it.

If you really like the anti-ageing study which I mentioned above recommends 3 servings of 85g of liver a week.

If you can't think of having it at all you can also try a supplement form of desiccated liver which I think is a really nice option as well.

Here are few ideas how we can have liver on daily basis:

  • cooked liver with onion and apples

  • foie gras

  • pate

  • cod liver on a sandwich

  • or small pieces of cooked liver which you can add into your smoothie - if it is small amount, you will not taste it at all, and it is also a great option to introduce this superfood to children

I hope I encouraged you to try at least some of the liver ideas as it is really rarely where we can find such nutrient dense food.

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