Adding organ meats to your diet is not as taboo a topic as it may have been a few years back. In fact, it is becoming popularised as more information is unveiled about the benefits of organ meat (and particularly liver) consumption for overall health.
Nutritionists among many other healthcare professionals have dubbed beef liver as "nature's multivitamin", containing many essential vitamins and minerals we need for optimal health. Gram for gram, it's one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, but it's also become well known for its polarising peculiar taste & texture. Loved by some, not popular among many.
The nose-to-tail approach has been dismissed in modern society, and with it, the many benefits of the simple superfoods our ancestors once thrived on. Thanks to the industrialisation of agriculture and the boom of the meat industry, we've developed an "ick" and lost convenient access to many traditional and nutritious animal foods.
There are often a number of questions that pop up before someone is comfortable adding organs such as beef liver to their diet. Aside from wondering what it tastes like, many people wonder:
- Is beef liver good for you?
- Is it really as good of an iron source as it’s made out to be, and
- Where to buy quality beef liver since not all beef liver is created equal
We’re breaking down all the information you need to know about beef liver, all of the nutritional information you’ll want to know, the nutritional benefits of beef liver, as well as where you can buy grass-fed and organic beef liver, and more specifically freeze-dried beef liver which is the easiest and best kind to consume.
What are the benefits of Beef Liver?
Beef Liver is truly nature’s multivitamin, with natural nutrient densities that are unparalleled.
On a per calorie basis, Beef Liver is an incredibly rich source of essential vitamins, minerals, and protein, with a very low fats and carbs price tag. You get a lot of nutritional value from very small servings and not many empty calories.
Beef Liver nutrition facts:
To break this down further let's look at the macros in a 100g serving of Beef Liver:
- 133 calories
- 20g protein
- 3-4g fat
- 1.33g of that saturated
- 3-4g carbs (none of which are sugars)
Not all Beef Liver is created equal
Some people are put off by the liver's function as a filtering and detoxifying organ, and even though toxins only pass through the liver and aren't actually stored in it, it's highly important to look for antibiotic-free, hormone-free and GMO-free livers that are ethically and sustainably sourced.
Grass-fed and organic beef liver is an excellent source of:
- All 9 essential amino acids
- Preformed Vitamin A
- Antioxidants (Vitamin A, C, E & Selenium)
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (niacin)
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
- Vitamin B7 (biotin)
- Vitamin B9 (folate)
- Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
- Vitamin D (particularly D3)
- Vitamin K
- Omega 3 fatty acids
How much protein is in Beef Liver?
Beef liver is an extremely clean source of protein, and one of the biggest reasons people will add it to their diet. As mentioned above, 20% of 100g serving of beef liver is pure protein. Beef liver also contains all 9 essential amino acids. Getting enough protein in your diet is key to supporting a healthy metabolism, as well as promoting healthy muscle growth and repair.
But isn’t Beef Liver high in cholesterol-causing saturated fat?
High cholesterol foods can be concerning for anyone who is looking to watch their cholesterol levels, or for anyone who may have high triglyceride levels. So, as with any animal product, wondering if beef liver is high in cholesterol is a valid concern.
So, the short answer is yes, beef liver is high in saturated fat. However, this is no reason for it to be frowned upon or avoided. Why?
Research shows that it may not necessarily be the saturated fat in foods (especially healthy foods like beef liver) that causes high cholesterol. It may have more to do with cholesterol produced in the body. Not only that, but more research (and this) is showing that if you consume cholesterol-rich foods like beef liver, your body will produce less as a way to keep your cholesterol levels balanced.
While beef liver is high in saturated fat, this may not be an issue and there may be a multitude of other factors that should be taken into account before we place blame on liver for high cholesterol numbers. Nonetheless, everyone responds to specific high cholesterol foods differently, so always speak with your preferred healthcare provider about your concerns if it relates to you.
Is Beef Liver a better source of iron than synthetic supplements?
Beef Liver is an incredibly rich source of iron, where a 100g serving provides 99% of your RDI. It also contains copper. Consuming these two nutrients together increases their bioavailability (how well the body absorbs and uses them). Maintaining healthy iron levels is essential for preventing anemia, and recent research has revealed that many iron deficiencies are accompanied by copper deficiency.
Most general practitioners (GPs) are likely to recommend Ferro-grad C or Maltofer, however even in high doses, some people do not absorb these supplements effectively.
The great thing about beef liver is that it’s rich in heme iron which is more easily absorbed than non-heme plant-based sources of iron. Beef liver has enough iron (8.8 mg per 100 grams) to really give your body a nice boost, which is especially important if your iron levels tend to be on the lower side.
It’s important to add iron-rich foods into your diet to support optimal iron levels and reserves so that your body can correctly produce hemoglobin the substance that your red blood cells need, and use to carry oxygen.
Is Beef Liver a good source of choline and why is choline important?
Beef Liver contains one of the highest sources of choline,with approximately 414mg per 100g serving. Choline supports vital bodily functions such as cell maintenance, DNA synthesis, nervous system health, metabolism function + more. It's an incredibly important micronutrient that helps the body detoxify whilst absorbing more nutrients, and preventing fat from accumulating in our liver.
Which unique vitamins are found in Beef Liver?
- Beef Liver is rich in many in B vitamins (listed above), which help the body turn food into energy and with the formation of new red blood cells and overall cellular development. It's an excellent source of Vitamin B12 which supports a healthy nervous system, helps regulate our mood and assists in preventing anemia. Nutritionist Steph Lowe highlights grass-fed and finished animal proteins as the best source of B12 available and stresses that “it is not possible to get B12 from a plant-based diet”.
- Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays quite a few important roles in supporting overall health. It helps support healthy vision, immune function, and kidney function, and beef liver happens to be one of the richest sources of vitamin preformed A.
- This form of vitamin A is not the same as beta-carotene found in orange foods such as carrots and capsicum, which our body has to work to convert into a usable form of retinol.
- So, how much vitamin A is in beef liver? In a (3oz or 85 grams) serving of cooked beef liver, you will get about 22,175 IU’s. The recommended daily intake of Vitamin A will vary from person to person and depends on their age, and gender. As a general guide, the RDI of Vitamin A for men is 3,000 IU per day; Women 2,300 IU and for pregnant women 2,566IU.
Can Beef Liver cause Vitamin A toxicity?
- As outlined by Nutritionist Steph Lowe, avoiding foods high in Vitamin A because of toxicity concerns is ironic and problematic. Studies on the toxicity of vitamin A have only taken into account synthetic forms, rather than real and natural wholefoods. Vitamin A from food sources such as beef liver is absorbed and used by the body differently to synthetic supplements. The benefits of consuming vitamin A from Beef Liver has a lot to do with the other micro nutrients that are also found in this ancient superfood. As previously mentioned, alongside Vitamin A beef liver also contains Iron, Vitamin B12 and folate, which are well known for preventing neutral tube defects, preeclampsia and miscarriages. Not only does Vitamin A offer support during pregnancy it's also vital for assisting with postpartum tissue repair and supporting the immune system.
Where to buy Beef Liver or Beef Liver Supplements?
With increased demand, you're now more likely to find fresh beef liver at local butcher, but unfortunately grass-fed and organic beef liver can be hard to source depending on where you live.
If you are on the search for high-quality grass-fed and finished beef liver supplements, we have you covered.
We actually have the most convenient way to get this superfood into your diet without actually having to cook it or eat it, which is a big plus for some people who would prefer to avoid the strong taste of liver.
We source the highest quality grass-fed & finished livers and simply freeze-dry and mill them to best preserve their nutritional value. Our beef liver powder comes in both powdered and encapsulated forms. The powder is easily incorporated or (or snuck into) your meals.
Our Organic Grass Fed Beef Liver Capsules make it easy and convenient to introduce this incredible wholefood supplement into your wellness routine. Capsules allow you to reap all of the amazing health benefits beef liver has to offer without the taste.
All of our beef liver products are:
- 100% Australian Made
- 100% organic, grass-fed and always grass-finished
- 100% hormone-free
- 100% antibiotic-free
- 100% GMO free
- Humanely & Sustainably grown
Discover the incredible benefits of Beef Liver and shop our Beef Liver Capsules or Powder today!