Updated: Oct 23, 2020
YOU BET! Some people even call it a superfood! Its low in calories and rich in high-quality protein, all while containing an incredible amount of vital nutrients. Here at Carrisito Ranch we believe in using all parts of our BEEF. Not only because we hate waste and want to respect our livestock, but also because each cut of beef contains different nutrients and benefits. Think of it this way – if you only ate bacon every day that would obviously not be healthy. You would not be getting all of the nutrients available to you in pork. BEEF are large animals and each part of their body carries different vital nutrients. In general, organ meats are between 10 and 100 times higher in nutrients than corresponding muscle meats. It is always healthier to eat a variety of cuts (of any animal protein). Check out our butcher boxes which always contain a variety of cuts. If liver isn’t your thing don’t worry – all beef cuts are packed full of nutrients! But if you’re looking for one of the perhaps the most nutritious and healthy meats you can eat (and cheapest $2.50 per pound from Carrisito Ranch) consider liver!
According to nutritionadvance.com - gram for gram, beef liver is probably the most nutritious food on earth. This nutrient dense meat has substantial amounts of vitamin B12, copper, and many other essential nutrients.
Here are 8 reasons to give beef liver a try!
1.) BEEF LIVER has a fantastic nutrition profile
It is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can get. Below are the full nutrition facts per 100 grams (raw weight) (1).
CALORIES AND MACRONUTRIENT: Calories/Macro Amount (kcal/grams): Calories135 kcal, Carbohydrate 3.9 g, Fat 3.6 g, Saturated Fat 1.2 g, Monounsaturated Fat 0.5g, Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g, Omega 37.0 mg, Omega-6318 mg, Protein 20.4 g
VITAMINS:Vitamin Amount % RDI: Vitamin B 1259.3 mcg 988%, Vitamin A 16899 IU 338%, Vitamin B22 .8 mg 162%, Folate 290 mcg 72%, Vitamin B3 13.2 mg 66%, Vitamin B6 1.1 mg 54%, Vitamin B10 .2 mg 13%, Vitamin D 16.0 IU 4%, Vitamin K 3.1 mcg 4%, Vitamin C 1.3 mg 2%, Vitamin E 0.4 mg% *RDI = Reference Daily Intake (the amount of each nutrient we should try to consume each day).
MINERAL: Mineral Amount% RDI: Copper 9.8 mg 488%, Selenium 39.7 mcg 57%, Phosphorus 387 mg 39%, Iron 4.9 mg 27%, Zinc 4.0 mg 27%, Selenium 39.7 mg16%, Potassium 313 mg 9%, Magnesium18.0 mg 5%, Sodium 69.0 mg 3%, Calcium 5.0 mg 1%
The nutrients found in a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of beef liver are:
Vitamin B12: 3,460% of the RDI. Vitamin B12 helps the formation of red blood cells and DNA. It is also involved in healthy brain function.
Vitamin A: 860–1,100% of the RDI. Vitamin A is important for normal vision, immune function and reproduction. It also helps organs like the heart and kidneys function properly.
Riboflavin (B2): 210–260% of the RDI. Riboflavin is important for cellular development and function. It also helps turn food into energy.
Folate (B9): 65% of the RDI. Folate is an essential nutrient that plays a role in cell growth and the formation of DNA.
Iron: 80% of the RDI, or 35% for women of menstruating age. Iron is another essential nutrient that helps carry oxygen around the body. The iron in liver is heme iron, the kind most easily absorbed by the body.
Copper: 1,620% of the RDI. Copper acts like a key to activate a number of enzymes, which then help regulate energy production, iron metabolism and brain function.
Choline: Liver provides all of the Adequate Intake (AI) for women and nearly all of it for men (AI is used because there is insufficient evidence to set an RDI). Choline is important for brain development and liver function.
2.) BEEF LIVER CONTAINS THE ESSENTIAL NUTRIENT CHOLINE
The nutrient choline can be hard to get. Choline was once thought to be a vitamin, and it was previously referred to as ‘vitamin B4’. Despite not being a vitamin, it closely resembles one, and it is an essential nutrient with a broad range of functions in the human body(2). For adults over the age of 18 years old, the adequate intake (AI) level for choline is set at 550 mg per day(3). Although many foods contain choline, it is difficult to get sufficient amounts of the nutrient from plant foods, and the two best sources of choline are beef liver and eggs (mainly egg yolks). A three-ounce (85 g) serving of beef liver provides 356 mg of choline, which is equivalent to 65% of the recommended daily value(4) . Among its many functions, choline plays a key role in cell signaling, transport of lipids (fats), protection against liver damage. (more info on choline here).
3.) BEEF LIVER PROVIDES HIGH QUALITY PROTEIN
Similar to regular muscle meat, beef liver contains a significant amount of protein(5). Per 100 grams, beef liver offers 20.4 grams of “complete protein”. It is a very high quality protein as it contains all of the nine essential amino acids (amino acids that must come from food) (6). Over one-quarter of beef liver is composed of protein.
Protein is vital to life and found in nearly every part of the body. It's required to make and repair cells and turn food into energy. A high protein intake has been shown to help with weight loss, as it reduces hunger and appetite. Additionally, protein has been found to satisfy hunger better than fat or carbs. Furthermore, a high protein intake can boost your metabolic rate, or the number of calories your body uses to function. Having a higher metabolic rate means you use more calories, which can be useful for weight loss, particularly if combined with a reduced calorie intake. A high protein intake can help build muscle and protect against muscle loss while losing weight.
4. BEEF LIVER IS VERY LOW IN CALORIES - FEWER CALORIES THAN OTHER MEATS
Per calorie, liver is one of the most nutrient-dense foods there is. With a calorie count of 135 calories per 100 grams, it contains even fewer than 90% lean beef, which provides 176 calories. This shows how nutrient – dense liver is. Beef liver contains more nutrients than any regular muscle meat (like beef or pork) for fewer calories (7).
Beef liver is also more nutrient-dense than other types of liver (such as chicken liver).
While plenty of foods contain high-quality protein or vitamins and minerals, no single food contains the same variety or amount of nutrients as liver.
Liver is low in fat as well. Only around 25% of its calories come from fat, compared to 50–60% of calories in steak and lamb.
5.) BEEF LIVER PROVIDES A SOURCE OF COQ10
Beef liver provides a good source of Coenzyme Q10 with an average of 3.3 mg per 100 grams (8).
Coenzyme Q10 (known as CoQ10) is a fat-soluble coenzyme that plays a vital role in the body by (9); Providing energy to the body’s cells, Acting as an antioxidant, Enhancing the rate at which chemical reactions take place in the body.
6.) IT IS EXTREMELY HIGH IN RETINOL (“PREFORMED VITAMIN A”)
There are two forms of vitamin A (10, 11); Retinol: referred to as “preformed vitamin A,” and it is vitamin A in its usable form. Retinol is highly bioavailable. Carotenoids: Carotenoids (such as beta-carotene) require converting to retinol before our body can use them. Unfortunately, the conversion rate and bioavailability of carotenoids are poor, and some people with certain genetic traits cannot effectively convert carotenoids to retinol. For this reason, retinol is the better (more reliable) source of vitamin A. On the positive side, beef liver offers one of the most substantial quantities of retinol, and a 100-gram serving provides 338% of the RDI (12). Vitamin A is essential for many reasons, but it is particularly important for vision and the immune system (13).
7.) BEEF LIVER IS ONE OF THE BEST DIETARY SOURCES OF COPPER
Copper is an essential mineral that has an important role in maintaining a healthy; immune system, nervous system, skeletal system. Copper is necessary for the formation of red blood cells, and it plays a part in iron absorption (14). Per 100-gram serving, beef liver offers a substantial 488% of the RDI for copper. More than any other food (15).
8. A SUBSTANTIAL SOURCE OF VITAMIN B12
Beef liver contains 59.3 mcg of vitamin B12 per 100 grams, which equates to an impressive 988% of the RDI (16). Vitamin B12 contributes to (17); A healthy brain and nervous system, Creating and maintaining DNA, Forming red blood cells, Metabolism, and Producing energy. In addition to B12, beef liver also provides high quantities of the other essential B vitamins.
IS BEEF LIVER DANGEROUS? DOES IT CONTAIN TOXINS? NO
Liver’s function is to play a role in breaking down (and eliminating) toxins from the body, but it DOES NOT store them.
The detoxication pathway of the liver works via (18); Filtering the blood to remove toxins, “Neutralizing” toxic chemicals into less harmful compounds, Breaking fat-soluble vitamins down into water-soluble compounds so that they can be excreted from the body. In other words; there is no need to worry about toxins in beef liver, and it should certainly not be avoided for this reason.
Regardless our beef only consume all natural grain, oat hay we grow, as well as local native grasses. No hormones or antibiotics.
HOW MUCH BEEF LIVER IS TOO MUCH?
The tolerable upper limit for vitamin A is 3,000 mcg (10,000 IU) per day for adults over the age of 18 (22).
Per 100 grams, beef liver provides 5,070 mcg (16,899 IU) (23).
Thus eating a large amount of beef liver every day is perhaps not a good idea. Again if you ate large amounts of bacon every that wouldn't be a good idea either.
It is recommended that one or two portions per week of beef liver should not be fine.
HOW TO INCLUDE BEEF LIVER IN YOUR DIET
Liver is loved by some and hated by others. Honestly, much of this has to do with the preparation and the skill of the cook. Here are a few ideas to try - stay tuned for a Carrisito Ranch pan-fried recipe coming soon!
Pan-fried: Liver works well when pan-fried with onions.
Soak the liver in milk before cooking: This will reduce its strong flavor. Do this before pan frying.
Spaghetti Bolognese: Liver can be chopped or minced and then mixed with regular ground beef.
Burgers: Chop or mince the liver and mix it with ground beef to make seriously nutritious burgers.
Add plenty of seasoning: Adding lots of spices and strong flavors can help disguise its taste.