Nothing beats beef liver

beef liverBeef liver. Big chance it is not on your plate too often. It probably was on your granny’s menu regularly.  Unfortunately liver has gotten a bad rap. True, not everybody likes the taste, and even people who like it often shy away from it because of its high cholesterol content. If you are well informed though, you know that dietary cholesterol is no problem. Most cholesterol is produced by your own body anyway. Ban cholesterol from your diet, and your body will simply produce more of it. It does this, because cholesterol is essential for your health. In fact, science shows that people with a higher cholesterol live the longest. Not only is liver safe to eat,  it is actually one of, if not the, most nutrient dense foods on the planet. No veggie comes close to it. The following chart I took from the great nutrition resource The data is actually based on a rather small 81 grams slice of pan fried beef liver. Personally I eat a 250 gram portion of beef liver with onions about once a week. This means I can multiply the values by about three.

As you can see, beef liver is an extremely good source of vitamin A, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin b6 and b12, folate, pantothenic acid, iron, phosphorus, zinc, copper and selenium. In fact, my 250 gram portion of liver roughly provides me with the recommended daily values of each of them! But why are these nutrients so important? This is a short and limited summary, but it may convince you to add beef liver to your menu once in a while.

Vitamin A has multiple functions: it is important for our immune system, growth and development (including bones and teeth), good night vision and a healthy skin.

Riboflavin, or vitamin B2, is needed for the maintenance of good vision, energy metabolism and tissue formation.

Niacin helps proper digestion, and is also needed for tissue formation, a healthy nervous system and energy metabolism.

Vitamin B6 is needed for cell growth whereas vitamin B12 helps building proteins in the body, red blood cells and normal function of nervous tissue.

Folate promotes proper digestion and is essential for the development of red blood cells. It may also play a role in the prevention of neural tube disorders.

Pantothenic acid is needed for energy metabolism, and iron is needed for the formation on hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to our body cells.

Phosphorus is primarily used for energy metabolism and, as well as zinc, is needed for the growth and repair of body cells.

Copper is needed for synthesis of hemoglobin, proper iron metabolism and maintenance of blood vessels and selenium is necessary for the production of antioxidant enzymes, which play a role in preventing cell damage.

So, if you can call any food a ‘super food’, it has to be beef liver. This doesn’t mean you should overeat on it. Vitamin A for instance, can be poisonous when consumed in extreme amounts. That being said, implementing nutritious beef liver into your diet is a great idea. Make sure you get your liver from the best possible source, preferably from healthy, grass fed animals. If you don’t like to eat liver in it’s natural form, why not turn it into a great paté? Here you can find a recipe. You can replace the coconut oil with real butter if you like. Bon appétit!

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Categories: Food, Health, Other

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