Recently, you may have seen influencers on social media eating “raw” Beef Liver.
Why you may well ask?
Beef liver is a traditional dish used in many cultures and also was a staple of our ancestors for its nutritional benefits but in western society it has been largely ignored for many years before making a comeback.
Often it is considered the multi-vitamin for Carnivores, while some people just don’t like the idea of eating it or the taste or texture of it.
There are now many supplement versions popping up on the market, however, the best way of reaping the full benefits come from eating real beef liver as nature intended.
Let’s take a deeper dive into beef liver and find out why it is one of the healthiest food sources available and why you should consider adding it to your diet.
So, here’s the scoop on beef liver.
A cow’s largest organ is their liver.
Beef liver is considered as offal meat. Offal meats are the group of internal organs of animals which includes the heart, kidneys, and tongue.
These are usually exported overseas from western countries as for many years Western cultures have not consumed offal whereas many other cultures.
Egypt, which is the world’s largest importer of beef liver consumes it regularly, they even consider it a delicacy.
The liver performs multiple important functions for all living beings. These include metabolism, detoxification and the storage of vitamins and minerals, which is why liver is so nutrient dense.
In fact, due to its nutritional benefits, many people are now referring to beef liver as a superfood.
LIVER’S NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS
100g SERVING COOKED BEEF LIVER PROVIDES:
|ENERGY||198Kcal / 831KJ|
|VITAMIN A||17300mcg (retinol)|
TOP 4 HEALTH BENEFITS OF LIVER
1.Liver has the highest protein content of all organ meats.
25 grams of protein per 100 grams.
Eating a diet that contains beef liver can provide many health benefits and help support the immune system, the nervous system, growth, development, and reproductive health.
2. It is nutrient dense with minerals.Liver is one of the most nutrient-dense foods available. What makes it even more of a ‘superfood’ is that the nutrients are extremely well absorbed. These key minerals are good for the body in the following ways:
- Zinc = immune system health.
- Iron= critical role in hemoglobin production.
- Phosphorous = benefits bone and tooth health.
- Selenium = key role in metabolic health.
- Copper = crucial for energy production.
3. Great source of vitamins A, D and B Vitamins
Beef liver is a tremendous source of vitamin A in the form of retinol. This is known as the ‘active’ form, as it is faster acting and responsible for cell turnover.
Muscle meats, which are the standard meat cuts people eat are not as great a source and the plant sources have to be converted to the active form in the gut, so that the body can use them.
There are minimal food sources of vitamin D, which make liver so important. Vitamin D, known as the sunshine vitamin, is typically formed by the action of sunlight on the skin and is difficult to obtain in adequate amounts from our diets. It is very low amongst many people now due to our indoor lifestyle.
The form of vitamin D supplied by liver is D3, the more ‘active’ form which is excellent for immune health.
Liver provides a comprehensive range of B vitamins including folate, choline and vitamin B12. These nutrients are needed for a number of key functions in the body and metabolism.
4. Contains a source of iron that allows for maximum absorption.
Beef liver contains haem iron, which is especially helpful for supporting adequate iron stores. Maintaining these levels is particularly relevant for women who are commonly low in this important mineral.
Is Pasture-raised beef liver better for you?
Studies have shown that liver from pasture-raised, grass-fed beef cattle have four times the phytonutrients as livers from grain-fed, factory farmed beef cattle.
Phytonutrients are normally thought of when eating fruits and vegetables, however beef liver is a great source. They have significant anti-heart disease effects and reduce the risk of many chronic diseases.
Other studies have also shown that pasture raised, grass fed beef liver is higher in Omega 3 fatty acids which have tremendous benefits for cardio-vascular health.
Is beef liver safe for everyone to eat?
The nutrient density of liver means there are some individuals who should minimize how much they eat. One of the reasons being its high vitamin A content. Pregnant women should avoid liver during their pregnancy because too much vitamin A may cause birth defects, especially during the first trimester.
Liver contains high levels of naturally occurring compounds called purines. Individuals who suffer from gout have problems metabolizing these compounds and should limit them.
Is it safe to eat raw beef liver?
There has been a massive social media trend towards eating raw beef liver. However, there is a risk that raw beef liver can have salmonella, E. coli or Campylobacter bacteria which can all cause serious infections.
It is recommended to avoid eating all forms of raw meat as they increase the risk of foodborne illnesses.
Cooking meats to the correct temperature is the only way to kill the bacteria which lead to these foodborne illnesses.
It is recommended to cook beef liver to an internal temperature of 70 degrees Celsius or 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Should I take beef liver supplements or eat real beef liver?
Many people who are not used to eating beef liver, do not like the taste or texture of it at first. Taking supplements can be an option but you won’t be sure just what equivalent amount of beef liver you are receiving.
Nothing absorbs more effectively than vitamins and minerals from a whole food diet. Obtaining your nutrients through eating real food is the healthiest and most holistic approach to good nutrition.
It is also beneficial to widen the range of food flavours you are eating. The sweet options in a western diet are often the unhealthiest. We might need to rethink our attitude to food, flavour and health.
How much beef liver should I eat?
We recommend eating 100 grams at a time.
HOW TO COOK BEEF LIVER
Step 1 – Slice it Up
The simplest way to cook beef liver is to slice it up and season it with salt and pepper. You can also experiment with any herbs, seasoning or a rub of your choice.
Step 2 – Prepare the fry pan
Heat your fry pan over the stove until it reaches high heat. You can add grass-fed butter, ghee or olive oil. However, nothing works better than pure beef fat.
Step 3 – Add any ingredients of your choice and cook lightly.
You can also add a variety of ingredients and herbs to add flavor to your liking. Liver is also known to become tougher in texture if overcooked, so turn the heat down once the liver is cooking in the pan. After it has cooked, let it sit for several minutes before consuming.
You can also create an option like beef and liver mince as it helps soften the flavor and masks the texture to something more palatable if you are new to eating it.