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- Nutrivore Score for Beef Liver – 4021
- Beef Liver Nutrition Facts
- Beef Liver Nutrition Varies With Cooking and Source
- Liver Nutrition Varies With Type
- Beef Liver Provides 2471% DV Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
- Beef Liver Provides 1084% DV Copper
- Beef Liver Provides 552% DV Vitamin A
- Beef Liver Provides 333% DV Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
- Beef Liver Provides 212% DV Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
- Beef Liver Provides 143% DV Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
- Beef Liver Provides 5.1 mg of CoQ10
- Beef Liver Provides 82% DV Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- Beef Liver Provides 73% DV Vitamin B9 (Folate)
- Beef Liver Provides 72% DV Selenium
- Beef Liver Provides 64% DV Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
- Beef Liver Provides 61% DV Choline
- Beef Liver Provides 20.4 g of Protein
- Beef Liver Provides 36% DV Zinc
- Beef Liver Provides 31% DV Phosphorus
- Beef Liver Provides 27% DV Iron
- How Much Beef Liver Should We Eat Per Day?
When it comes to organ meat, liver reigns supreme! Arguably the king of offal, liver is one of the top nutrient dense foods on the planet! Fortunately, it’s also one of the easiest of all organ meats to find. It is prized by cultures around the globe, famously prepared in a multitude of delectable ways – foie gras, pâté, liverwurst and more! If you’re not a lover of liver (yet), you’ve come to the right place. Let’s change that “ick” factor into a “wow” factor!
Offal is another term for organ meats (also known as variety meats because there is a variety of different kinds!). The word itself derives from ‘off’ and ‘fall’, literally referring to the parts of the animal that fall off during butchering. Organ meats are nutritional powerhouses. In fact, offal is one of the most concentrated sources of just about every nutrient out there, including important vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and essential amino acids. (Let’s just say it’s “offally” good for you!). Although organ meat may not be familiar to many of us today, organ meats have been part of the human diet since prehistory. Traditional cultures revered organ meats – they were treated like gold and reserved for the highest echelons of society (exactly who depended on the culture, sometimes it was saved for hunters, other times for pregnant women, sometimes the head of the family or tribe and other times for elders). Hunters and gatherers discard muscle meat in times of plenty and even animals value these meats above all else – in nature predators will often eat the liver of their prey first after a kill. Not only is snout-to-tail consumption good for our health, it’s important for environmental sustainability and the ethical treatment of animals. It means consuming every part of the animal and translates to eating a ratio of organ meat to muscle that’s similar to the animal’s own ratio (that means roughly one-fifth to one-quarter of the meat we eat with no upper limit). These foods include blood, bone broth, brain, giblets, heart, kidney, lips, tail, tongue, tripe, and the famous liver to name a few.
Contrary to popular belief, liver is not full of toxins. Liver is actually the major organ responsible for detoxification. Its’ job is to filter toxins out of our blood, process them, and package them for removal. That means the best food to support our own liver is liver since it contains all the raw materials necessary for detoxification! Amongst organ meats, foods containing liver are some of the most well-known. Cultures around the world seem to have their own traditional way of preparing this superfood. Liver can be eaten baked, boiled, broiled, fried, or raw (yes – you read that correctly, in Japan liver sashimi is a thing), included in stews, casseroles and so much more! There are the French pâtés (a paste containing liver and often ground meat and wine or brandy), chopped liver, liverwurst (a European sausage), skilpadjies (a traditional South African food made of lamb liver wrapped in fatty kidney membrane), cod liver spread (cod liver tinned in its own oil and seasoned, often used on toast), and more! Likewise, some form of classic liver and onions is popular in a number of areas, including the UK and Germany (where it’s often eaten along with a potato dish), France (where it’s often fried with bacon and butter), Latin America (where it’s often eaten with rice or tortillas, or in Brazil, potatoes and other root vegetables), the US (especially in regions with a strong German culture, such as areas of Pennsylvania and the Midwest), and Italy (where it’s made with vinegar or wine).
There are many types of liver, and depending on the animal and source (grass-fed versus conventional), both the taste and micronutrient content will vary, though in general liver tends to be very high in vitamin A, iron and B vitamins. Overall, lamb liver is the most nutrient dense, closely followed by goose and beef, with pork and chicken lower in nutrient density but more or less equivalent. However, when it comes to taste, poultry liver, such as that from chicken, has a milder flavor making it easier for some people to enjoy. The same goes for lamb liver, which is also mild, while beef and pork (especially!) are stronger tasting. It’s definitely worth experimenting with liver from different animals and different methods of preparation in order to figure out what you like best (offal doesn’t have to taste awful!). When it comes right down to it, despite our aversion to liver, it packs an irreplaceable nutrient punch, so it’s important to find a way to “de-liver” this food into our diet even if that means hiding it from ourselves or taking encapsulated liver in pill form. We just need to take it one step at a time and not let perfection be the enemy of the good!
Nutrivore Score for Beef Liver – 4021
Beef liver has a Nutrivore Score of 4021, making it one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet! Plus, it is a low-carb food; beef liver has only 3.9 grams of net carbs per 100 gram serving!
Per serving, beef liver is a best source (>50% daily value) of choline, copper, coQ10, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B7 (biotin), vitamin B9 (folate), and vitamin B12 (cobalamin); is an excellent source (20-50% daily value) of iron, phosphorus, protein, and zinc; and is a good source (10-20% daily value) of manganese, taurine, and vitamin B1 (thiamin).
Beef Liver Nutrition Facts
One serving of beef liver is standardized to 100 grams (3.5 ounces). When you cook beef liver, it reduces in volume by 20 to 30%, depending on the cooking method: 100 grams of raw beef liver is roughly equivalent to 71 grams of braised beef liver or 77 grams of pan-fried beef liver.
|Beef liver, raw||Nutrivore Score: 4021||Nutrient Density: Super!|
|Serving Size: 3.5 ounces (100 grams)||Protein: 20.4 grams||Net Carbohydrates: 3.9 grams|
|Calories: 135||Total Fat: 3.6 grams||Dietary Fiber: 0.0 grams|
|Vitamin A||4968.0 μg RAE||552% DV|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||189.0 μg||16% DV|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||2755.0 μg||212% DV|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||13.2 mg||82% DV|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)||7.2 mg||143% DV|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||1083.0 μg||64% DV|
|Vitamin B7 (Biotin)||100.0 μg||333% DV|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||290.0 μg||73% DV|
|Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)||59.3 μg||2471% DV|
|Vitamin C||1.3 mg||1% DV|
|Vitamin D (D2 + D3)||1.2 μg||6% DV|
|Vitamin E||0.5 mg||3% DV|
|Vitamin K||3.1 μg||3% DV|
|Choline||333.3 mg||61% DV|
|Calcium||5.0 mg||0% DV|
|Copper||9755.0 μg||1084% DV|
|Iron||4.9 mg||27% DV|
|Magnesium||18.0 mg||4% DV|
|Manganese||310.0 μg||13% DV|
|Phosphorus||387.0 mg||31% DV|
|Potassium||313.0 mg||7% DV|
|Selenium||39.7 μg||72% DV|
|Sodium||69.0 mg||3% DV|
|Zinc||4.0 mg||36% DV|
|AMINO ACIDS & PEPTIDES|
Beef Liver Nutrition Varies With Cooking and Source
The Nutrivore Score of liver is impacted by the method of preparation and the source (country of origin, conventional versus grass-fed etc). For instance, meat from New Zealand is grass-fed which means it has higher levels of nutrients and results in an overall higher Nutrivore Score.
|Beef liver, cooked, braised||3769|
|Beef liver, cooked, pan-fried||4285|
|Beef liver, New Zealand, imported, raw||6384|
|Beef liver, raw||4021|
Liver Nutrition Varies With Type
The Nutrivore Score of liver also varies greatly depending on type (as does the taste)!
|Beef liver, raw||4021|
|Chicken liver, raw||2502|
|Duck liver, raw||45291|
|Goose liver, raw||45291|
|Lamb liver, raw||49251|
|Pork liver, raw||2483|
|Turkey liver, raw||2988|
|Veal liver, raw||4481|
Health Benefits of Beef Liver Nutrients
Let’s take a closer look at all of the best and excellent source of nutrients found in a 3.5-ounce serving of beef liver and see how they benefit our health.
Beef Liver Provides 2471% DV Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
Beef liver is an extraordinary source of vitamin B12 (cobalamin), providing an astounding 2471% of the daily value per 3.5 ounce serving!
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is a water-soluble vitamin that serves as a cofactor for enzymes involved in energy metabolism, red blood cell production, DNA synthesis, neurotransmitter production, nervous system health, and folate metabolism. As a result of these roles, vitamin B12 is vital for maintaining brain and nervous system health, and may have a protective effect against dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression. There’s also some evidence vitamin B12 may be cancer-protective, possibly through supporting folate metabolism (which then assists in repairing DNA damage). Learn more about vitamin B12 here.
Beef Liver Provides 1084% DV Copper
Beef liver is also an outstanding source of copper, providing a whopping 1084% of the daily value per 3.5 ounce serving!
Copper is a trace mineral that’s essential for all living organisms. Copper serves as a component of numerous enzymes and proteins in the body, giving it diverse roles in the growth, development, and maintenance of various organs (including the heart and brain), bone, and connective tissue. Copper is also involved in glucose and cholesterol metabolism, helps regulate gene expression, can scavenge free radicals, and is needed for the production of red blood cells. Learn more about copper here.
Beef Liver Provides 552% DV Vitamin A
Beef liver is a phenomenal source of vitamin A, providing 552% of the daily value per 3.5 ounce serving!
Vitamin A is actually a group of fat-soluble retinoids with vitamin A activity in the body. This nutrient is essential for a number of physiological functions—particularly vision, reproduction, thyroid health, immunity, and cellular communication. Getting enough vitamin A helps protect against some vision disorders (like night blindness and macular degeneration), supports a healthy menstrual cycle and sperm production, reduces infection risk, and allows for proper growth and development from the fetal years through childhood. Learn more about vitamin A here.
Beef Liver Provides 333% DV Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
Beef liver is also an exceptional source of vitamin B7 (biotin), providing 333% of the daily value per 3.5 ounce serving!
Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin, also known as vitamin B7. Like other B vitamins, it plays an important role in energy metabolism (serving as a coenzyme for five carboxylase enzymes), neurotransmitter production, cellular function, and the function of various organs. Getting enough biotin can help support healthy nail and hair growth. It’s also particularly important during pregnancy, with low intakes increasing the risk of premature delivery and birth defects. There’s even some evidence biotin can benefit diabetics and reduce functional disabilities in people with multiple sclerosis. Learn more about biotin here.
Beef Liver Provides 212% DV Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Beef liver is high in vitamin B2 (riboflavin), providing 212% of the daily value per 3.5 ounce serving!
Riboflavin (or vitamin B2) is a vitamin that helps form two important coenzymes involved in oxidation-reduction reactions: flavin mononucleotide (FMN), and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD). Collectively, these coenzymes are involved in antibody production, energy production, growth and development, skin and hair health, and the metabolism of several other nutrients (vitamin B6, niacin, folate, and iron). Research suggests a role for riboflavin in preventing or treating migraine headaches, cardiovascular disease, cataracts, and preeclampsia during pregnancy. It also possesses some anti-cancer properties due to its involvement in folate metabolism and MTHFR activity. Learn more about vitamin B2 here.
Beef Liver Provides 143% DV Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
Beef liver is a wonderful source of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), providing 143% of the daily value per 3.5 ounce serving!
Pantothenic acid (or vitamin B5) is a water-soluble vitamin that serves as a cofactor for coenzyme A—which itself is critical for metabolizing many drugs and toxins, as well as forming derivatives (acetyl-CoA and succinyl-CoA) that participate in the synthesis of cholesterol, fatty acids, melatonin, the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, steroid hormones, heme, and vitamins A and D. Coenzyme A is also needed in the Krebs cycle, giving pantothenic acid a role in energy metabolism. Research suggests that a pantothenic acid derivative (pantethine) can help improve blood lipid profiles and reduce fatty streak formation and lipid deposition in the arteries, giving it a cardio-protective role. Additional research shows that panthothenic acid can accelerate wound healing, boost cellular production of the important antioxidant glutathione, and possibly help improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Learn more about vitamin B5 here.
Beef Liver Provides 5.1 mg of CoQ10
In addition, beef liver supplies a significant amount of coQ10, providing 5.1 mg per 3.5 ounce serving!
Ubiquinone is the oxidized form and ubiquinol is the reduced, more bioavailable form of the vitaminlike compound coenzyme Q10 (coQ10). CoQ10 is a potent antioxidant and a cofactor in the electron transport chain for the production of ATP. It may be helpful in treating or preventing heart and blood vessel conditions, diabetes, gum disease, muscular dystrophy, chronic fatigue syndrome, and breast cancer. Sources include beef, pork, mackerel, yellowtail fish, and chicken; it’s also found in smaller amounts in vegetables like broccoli and herbs like parsley.
Beef Liver Provides 82% DV Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Beef liver is a substantial source of vitamin B3 (niacin), providing 82% of the daily value per 3.5 ounce serving!
Niacin is a water-soluble B complex vitamin (vitamin B3) that’s needed to produce two very important coenzymes: nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP). NAD and NADP are needed for over 400 enzymes involved in DNA repair, fatty acid synthesis, antioxidant systems, detoxification, and hormone synthesis, as well as the breakdown of fat, carbohydrate, protein, and alcohol. Niacin has therapeutic potential for cardiovascular disease and hyperlipidemia, and may also be protective against cancer and type 1 diabetes. Some research suggests it could benefit health outcomes for patients with HIV or schizophrenia as well. Learn more about niacin here.
Beef Liver Provides 73% DV Vitamin B9 (Folate)
This offal is also a great source of vitamin B9 (folate), providing 73% of the daily value per 3.5 ounce serving!
Vitamin B9 (folate) is an essential B vitamin that plays roles in blood cell production, the formation of genetic material (including DNA), and cell growth and function. It’s particularly important during pregnancy, when folate demands increase due to the rapid creation of new cells and DNA. Along with helping protect against fetal development problems, folate can support cardiovascular health, potentially protect against certain cancers, and reduce the risk of cognitive and neurological disorders later in life. Learn more about vitamin B9 here.
Beef Liver Provides 72% DV Selenium
Beef liver is a fabulous source of selenium, providing 72% of the daily value per 3.5 ounce serving!
Selenium is a trace mineral needed by all mammals to sustain life. It serves as a component of the non-proteinogenic amino acids selenocysteine and selenomethionine, and also helps form over two dozen selenoproteins involved in reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism, antioxidant defense, DNA synthesis, and immunity. Observational research suggests selenium could play a protective role against cancer, heart disease, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease, although human trials have generally been lacking or contradictory. There’s also evidence that selenium can play a preventative role in asthma and inflammatory bowel disease, while also reducing mortality in patients with sepsis. Learn more about selenium here.
Beef Liver Provides 64% DV Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Beef liver is a wonderful source of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), providing 64% of the daily value per 3.5 ounce serving!
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is a group of six water-soluble compounds with a similar chemical structure, all of which can be converted into their active form of pyridoxal 5’-phospate (PLP). Over 100 different enzymes require vitamin B6 in order to carry out their various functions in protein metabolism, fatty acid metabolism, neurotransmitter production, gluconeogenesis, hemoglobin synthesis, the release of glucose from glycogen, and energy metabolism (particularly the production of ATP in the Krebs cycle). Research suggests vitamin B6 may help protect against cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, could reduce the risk of depression among the elderly, and even reduce symptoms of morning sickness and PMS. Learn more about vitamin B6 here.
Beef Liver Provides 61% DV Choline
Beef liver also provides a significant amount of choline – 61% of the daily value per 3.5 ounce serving!
Choline is often grouped together with B-complex vitamins, and sometimes referred to as vitamin B4. It plays an essential role in building cell membranes. Choline also serves as the backbone for a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which is involved in heart health, gut motility (the movement of contents through the digestive tract controlled by the coordinated contraction and relaxation of specialized gut muscle tissue), and muscle movement. Adequate intake during pregnancy can help reduce risk of neural tube defects.
Beef Liver Provides 20.4 g of Protein
Beef liver is an excellent source of protein, containing 20.4 grams per 3.5 ounce (100 gram) serving!
Proteins are the molecules that actually perform most of the various functions of life. In addition to being major structural components of cells and tissues, they have incredibly diverse roles from driving chemical reactions (e.g., enzymes) to signaling (e.g., some types of hormones) to transporting and storing nutrients. Dietary protein is necessary to supply the amino acid building blocks for all of the proteins in our bodies. The recommended daily allowance of protein is 0.36 grams per pound body weight (0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight). That amounts to 56 grams for a 150-pound person. However, it’s important to emphasize that this number is considered a minimum daily allotment, and there is no established upper limit. In fact, many studies have evaluated diets containing three to four times more protein than this minimum and proven benefits to weight management, body composition, hormone regulation, and cardiovascular health. These studies suggest that an optimal protein intake for most people is probably in the range of 1.2 to 1.8 grams per kilogram bodyweight (82 to 122 grams for that same 150-pound person), and that people who are very active may see the best results at even higher intake. Learn more about protein and amino acids here.
Beef Liver Provides 36% DV Zinc
Beef liver is an excellent source of zinc, providing 36% of the daily value per 3.5 ounce serving!
Zinc is an essential trace mineral that serves as a cofactor for over 300 enzymes and 1000 transcription factors, giving it important roles in immune function, sensory organ function, reproduction, gene regulation, DNA synthesis, wound healing, and the metabolism and activity of multiple other nutrients. Research shows it can reduce the duration of the common cold when taken shortly after the onset of illness, and can also benefit immune health in the elderly and among HIV/AIDS patients. Some studies also suggest a protective role of zinc in neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Learn more about zinc here.
Beef Liver Provides 31% DV Phosphorus
Beef liver is also an excellent source of phosphorus, providing 31% of the daily value per 3.5 ounce serving!
Phosphorus is an essential mineral that makes up about 1% of the total weight of the human body. Along with serving an important structural role for building nucleic acids and cell membranes, phosphorus is involved in numerous biological processes—including acid-base regulation, energy production, cell signaling, and bone mineralization. Excess phosphorus has been linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, fractures, and osteoporosis, especially in the context of a low-calcium diet. Learn more about phosphorus here.
Beef Liver Provides 27% DV Iron
Additionally, beef liver is an excellent source of iron, providing 27% of the daily value per 3.5 ounce serving!
Iron is a mineral required for the metabolism of all living organisms. It’s needed for the function of numerous iron-dependent proteins involved in electron transport, energy metabolism, oxygen transport and storage, DNA replication and repair, free radical scavenging, and oxidative processes. It plays an important role in reproductive health, gestation, immunity, and central nervous system development. Learn more about iron here.
How Much Beef Liver Should We Eat Per Day?
Offal, including organ meat such as beef liver, is a great source of protein, which is just part of the reason it is considered one of the most nutritionally valuable foods on the planet. In fact, offal is one of the most concentrated sources of just about every nutrient out there, including important vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, amino acids, and protein.
Proteins are the molecules that perform most of the various functions of life which is why protein deficiency is detrimental to all of the body’s organs and systems, including impacting function of the brain (especially in infants and young children), immune system, gut barrier, and kidneys. Dietary protein is necessary to supply the amino acid building blocks for all of the proteins in our bodies. Physical signs of protein deficiency include edema (swelling), poor musculature, dull skin, thin and fragile hair, and failure to thrive in infants and children.
The Accepted Macronutrient Distribution Ranges (AMDR) were established by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine using evidence from interventional trials with support of epidemiological evidence that suggest a role in the prevention or increased risk of chronic diseases, and based on ensuring sufficient intake of essential nutrients. The AMDR for protein is 10% to 35% calories from protein.
The recommended daily allowance of protein is 0.36 grams per pound body weight (0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight). That amounts to 56 grams for a 150-pound person. However, it’s important to emphasize that this number is considered a minimum daily allotment, and there is no established upper limit. In fact, many studies have evaluated diets containing three to four times more protein than this minimum and proven benefits to weight management, body composition, hormone regulation, and cardiovascular health. These studies suggest that an optimal protein intake for most people is probably in the range of 1.2 to 1.8 grams per kilogram bodyweight (82 to 122 grams for that same 150-pound person), and that people who are very active may see the best results at even higher intake. Learn more about protein here.
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