14 Jun LIVER- Nature’s Superfood
Ok, so I know the title doesn’t sound appealing but what if I told you a small amount of liver provides well over 100% of the RDI for many essential nutrients. It is also rich in high-quality protein, low in calories and possibly the most nutrient-dense food in the world! Do I have your attention yet?
Liver was once a staple in many cultures and known to be the prized cut of the beast. Throughout most of recorded time, humans have preferred liver over steak by a large margin, regarding it as a source of great strength and as providing almost magical curative powers. Today sadly, liver has been forgotten as it has slowly been phased out of mainstream cooking.
I recommend sourcing some good quality grass fed beef liver from your local butcher. Liver is cheap, readily available also promotes less food wastage. Common sources of liver are cow, chicken, duck, lamb and pig. If you are new to the liver world, chicken seems to be the mildest tasting so it is a great place to start. Beef liver, however, trumps its competitors on the nutrient density profile.
A 100g serve of Beef Liver contains;
- 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.
- It is also an excellent source of niacin, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, iron, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium. It’s a good source of thiamin and manganese too.
Now that I have sold you on the benefits of Beef Liver, you may be asking how do you incorporate it into your diet- especially when you might not completely enjoy the taste? Well, I personally have found the best way to ease into eating liver is to disguise it in beef mince. You can simply freeze the liver and then grate it into your mincemeat. Grating it helps disperse the flavour and make it less obvious when eating. I have added it to Meatballs, Bolognese, Shepherds Pie, Savory Mince, Rissoles and even Meatloaf! You can also add herbs and spices such as curry powder to boost the flavour profile if you struggle with the taste.
Start off with small amount and gradually increased it as you became more accustomed to the flavour. I have found that I have started to enjoy the addition to my mince and it is no longer noticeable or unpleasant. If you want some great beginner recipes click here.
Now that the Cold and Flu season has set in, the addition of liver into your diet could be a great way to give your body some extra nutritional support that doesn’t cost you a bucket load. As with anything however, overconsumption can have negative effects. Liver is high in Iron and so may not be recommended for people with certain health issues. It is always good to consult with your doctor or health practitioner before trying anything new.
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