Why is liver a nutrient-dense superfood? (2023)

Not many foods deserve the title of "superfood". However, the liver is one of them.

Once a popular and prized food source, liver has fallen out of favor.

This is unfortunate, as the liver is a nutritional powerhouse. It's high in protein, low in calories, and packed with important vitamins and minerals.

This article takes an in-depth look at liver and why you should include it in your diet.

What is the liver?

The liver is a vital organ in humans and animals. It is typically the largest internal organ and has many important functions, including:

  • Processing of digested food from the intestine.
  • Storage of glucose, iron, vitamins and other essential nutrients
  • Filtering and cleaning drugs and toxins from the blood.

liver, along with otheroffalIt used to be a very popular food. However, lean meat tends to be preferred over offal these days.

Despite its waning popularity, liver could be one of them.the most nutritious foods in the world.

People often look for vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables, but liver trumps them in terms of nutritional content.

A small amount of liver provides over 100% of the RDI for many essential nutrients. It is also rich in quality protein and low in calories (1).

Liver is cheap and easily found in supermarkets and butchers. Although most animal livers are edible, common sources include beef, chicken, duck, lamb and pork.


Liver is possibly the most nutrient-dense food on the planet. It is packed with essential nutrients, high in protein and low in calories.

(Video) Is LIVER a SUPERFOOD?? (2023 Revision)

Liver is a great source of various nutrients.

The nutritional profile of liver is exceptional.

These are the nutrients found in a 100 gram serving of beef liver (1):

  • Vitamina B12:3,460% of the EIF. Vitamin B12 helps form red blood cells and DNA. It is also involved in healthy brain function (2).
  • Vitamin A:860-1100% FEI. Vitamin A is important for normal vision, immune function and reproduction. It also helps organs such as the heart and kidneys to function properly (3).
  • Riboflavin (B2):210-260% FEI. Riboflavin is important for cell development and function. It also helps convert food into energy (4).
  • Folic acid (B9):65% of the EIF. Folic acid is an essential nutrient that plays a role in cell growth and DNA formation.5).
  • Eisen:80% of the RDI or 35% for women of menstruating age. Iron is another essential nutrient that helps transport oxygen throughout the body. The iron in the liver is heme iron, which is more easily absorbed by the body (6,7).
  • Copper:1,620% of the EIF. Copper acts as a key to activate several enzymes, which help regulate energy production, iron metabolism and brain function (8).
  • Hill:The liver provides all of the Adequate Intake (AI) for women and almost all of it for men (AI is used because there is not enough evidence to establish an RDI). Choline is important for brain development and liver function (9,10).

Liver provides more than the RDI of vitamin B12, vitamin A, riboflavin and copper. It is also rich in the essential nutrients folic acid, iron and choline.

Liver provides high quality protein.

Protein is essential for life and is found almost everywhere in the body. It is needed to make and repair cells and convert food into energy.

More than a quarter of beef liver is protein. It is also a very high quality protein, as it provides all the essential amino acids.

Amino acids are the building blocks that make up proteins. Some amino acids can be produced in the body, but so-called essential amino acids must come from the diet.

a highprotein intakeIt has been shown to help with weight loss by reducing hunger and appetite. Additionally, protein has been found to satisfy hunger better than fat or carbohydrates (11).

In addition, the high protein intakeincrease your metabolic rate, or the number of calories your body needs to function (12).

A higher metabolic rate means you burn more calories, which can be helpful for weight loss, especially when combined with a reduced caloric intake.

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Finally, high protein intake can help build muscle and protect against muscle breakdown during weight loss (13,14,15).


Liver is a great source of high-quality protein. High protein intake has been shown to increase metabolic rate, reduce appetite, help build muscle, and help maintain muscle during weight loss.

Liver has fewer calories than many other meats.

Per calorie, liver is one of the most nutrient-dense foods out there.

In fact, it is eaten more often.muscular meatthey are nutritionally poor by comparison.

A 100 gram sirloin steak or lamb chop contains over 200 calories.

The same amount of beef liver contains just 175 calories and provides far more of each individual vitamin and most minerals than a loin or lamb chop (sixteen,17).

By reducingcalorie consumption, you can often go without essential nutrition. Therefore, it is important to choose foods rich in nutrients.

While many foods contain high-quality protein or vitamins and minerals, no food contains the same variety or amount of nutrients as liver.

Additionally, eating nutrient-rich but low-calorie foods has been shown to reduce hunger (18).

Liver is also low in fat. Only about 25% of calories come from fat, compared to 50-60% of calories from steak and lamb.


Per calorie, liver is one of the most nutrient-dense foods out there. Compared to muscle meat, it is lower in calories and fat and much higher in terms of vitamins and minerals.

Common concerns about eating liver

Many people worry about eating liver and wonder if it is unhealthy.

One of the most common questions is whether cholesterol levels are a problem.

while the liver ishigh cholesterol, which is not a problem for most people.

It used to be believed that cholesterol in food caused heart disease. However, recent research has shown that this is not true for most people (19,20).

Most of the cholesterol associated with heart disease is produced in the body. And when you eat cholesterol-rich foods, your body produces less to maintain balance (21).

However, about a quarter of the population appears to be more sensitive to cholesterol in food. In these people, eating cholesterol-rich foods may increase blood cholesterol levels (22).

Another common concern about eating liver is that it contains toxins.

However, the liver does not store toxins. Rather, their job is to process toxins and either make them safe, or turn them into something that can be safely removed from the body.

In short, liver toxins are not a problem and therefore should not be avoided.


Common concerns about the liver are that it is high in cholesterol and can store toxins. However, its cholesterol content is not a concern for most people and it does not store toxins.

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Liver may not be for everyone

There are certain groups that want to avoid eating liver.

Pregnant woman

Concerns about the safety of eating liver during pregnancy are mainly due to its vitamin A content.

High intake of preformed vitamin A, found in the liver, has been linked to birth defects. However, the exact risk is unclear and more research is needed (23).

Still, only 30 grams of beef liver are needed to reach a tolerable level of vitamin A intake during pregnancy. This is a very small amount, so you need to keep track of the values ​​(3).

While it may be safe to eat a small amount of liver occasionally during pregnancy, caution is advised.

who has gout

Gout is a type of arthritis caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood. Symptoms include pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints.

The liver is rich in purines, which form uric acid in the body. Therefore, it is important to limit your intake if you have gout.

However, unless you have gout, eating liver won't necessarily cause it. While several factors can increase your risk of developing gout, dietary factors account for only about 12% of cases.24).


It may be best to avoid liver during pregnancy. While liver is unlikely to cause gout, it may be wise to avoid it if you already have gout.

(Video) Why Liver is the Most Popular Superfood Plus It's Benefits

How to include liver in the diet

Liver has a unique flavor that some people love and some people hate.

Here are some suggestions on how to include it in your diet:

  • Fried in the frying pan:Liver works well when fried with onions.
  • Spaghetti Bolognese:The liver can be minced or minced, and then mixed with regular ground beef. Beef or chicken liver works best.
  • Hamburger:As with bolognese, mince or mince the liver and mix with ground beef to make truly nutritious patties.
  • Tempera generously:Adding lots of spices and strong flavors can help mask its flavor.
  • Use lamb liver or tenderloin:Both have a milder flavor than beef.
  • Before cooking, soak the liver in milk or lemon juice:This will reduce its strong taste.

Whether or not you like the taste of liver, there are many ways to incorporate it into your diet.

(Video) The Liver is NOT a Filter (Liver is a Safe Superfood)

the end result

Liver is a very underrated food. ANDlow caloriesand rich in high-quality protein, as well as containing an incredible amount of essential nutrients.


Why liver is a nutrient dense superfood? ›

Liver is one of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet, with significant amounts of iron, riboflavin, vitamin B12, vitamin A, and copper. Eating a single serving of liver can help you meet your daily recommended amount of most of these vitamins and minerals, reducing your risk of nutrient deficiency.

Is liver considered a superfood? ›

Not many foods are worthy of the title “superfood.” However, liver is one of them. Once a popular and treasured food source, liver has fallen out of favor. This is unfortunate because liver is a nutritional powerhouse. It's rich in protein, low in calories and packed with essential vitamins and minerals.

What is the most nutrient dense superfood? ›

Here are the 11 most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.
  1. Salmon. Not all fish are created equal. ...
  2. Kale. Of all the leafy greens, kale is the king. ...
  3. Seaweed. The sea has more than just fish. ...
  4. Garlic. Garlic really is an amazing ingredient. ...
  5. Shellfish. ...
  6. Potatoes. ...
  7. Liver. ...
  8. Sardines.

What is the most nutrient dense liver? ›

1. Beef Liver. Beef liver comes in at number one on our list of most nutrient dense foods. Commonly referred to as “nature's multivitamin,” a 3.5 ounce serving of beef liver exceeds many of the minimum recommended daily intake of numerous hard-to-get nutrients.

Why is a Superfood a Superfood? ›

There's no scientifically based or regulated definition for superfood, but generally, a food is promoted to superfood status when it offers high levels of desirable nutrients, is linked to the prevention of a disease, or is believed to offer several simultaneous health benefits beyond its nutritional value.

How does the liver get its nutrients? ›

Your liver gets blood from two distinct sources: the hepatic artery and the portal vein. Oxygen-rich blood flows in through the hepatic artery, while nutrients from the intestines come through the portal vein.

Is beef liver the most nutrient-dense food? ›

Gram for gram, beef liver is probably the most nutritious food on earth. This nutrient-dense organ meat contains substantial amounts of vitamin B12, copper, and many other essential nutrients.

How does liver benefit the body? ›

The largest organ in human and animal bodies, the liver is a crucial gland that plays an important role in key processes including digesting food, storing nutrients and filtering and detoxifying toxins.

What are the benefits of a healthy liver? ›

The liver helps your body maintain a healthy level of blood sugar. Your liver supplies glucose to your blood when it's needed. It also removes glucose from your blood when there's too much.

What is the most nutrient-dense organ? ›

Liver is the most nutrient dense organ meat, and it is a powerful source of vitamin A.

What is the One True superfood? ›

Kiwi – The Real Superfood (Backed by Science)

What is the single most nutritionally complete food? ›

"The only food that provides all the nutrients that humans need is human milk," Hattner said. "Mother's milk is a complete food. We may add some solid foods to an infant's diet in the first year of life to provide more iron and other nutrients, but there is a little bit of everything in human milk."

Why is the liver so powerful? ›

That is because it contains plenty of blood vessels or sinusoids transporting blood from the intestines, the spleen, and the pancreas. The most abundant and largest cells of the liver are the hepatocytes, which are the cells that produce and destroy certain molecules to give the body energy.

Is the liver the best organ to eat? ›

While tongue and heart are both excellent choices and great introductions to organ meat consumption, liver is by far the most important organ meat you should be eating. It's one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence, and contains many nutrients that are difficult to get elsewhere.

Does eating liver give you energy? ›

Promotes and Supports Energy

Beef liver is loaded with nutrients that have been shown to support energy, including : Vitamin B12. Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) Niacin (Vitamin B3)

What is an example of a superfood? ›

Common superfoods include:

Beans like kidney beans, black beans and soybeans. Berries like blueberries, cranberries, strawberries and blackberries. Broccoli. Brussels sprouts.

What nutrients are in superfoods? ›

People often identify kale, spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, and collard greens as superfood leafy greens. These foods are rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K, and many B vitamins. Leafy greens also contain an abundance of carotenoids, iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.

What are the benefits of nutrient-dense foods? ›

Nutrient-rich (or nutrient-dense) foods are low in sugar, sodium, starches, and bad fats. They contain a lot of vitamins and minerals and few calories. Your body needs vitamins and minerals, known as micronutrients. They nourish your body and help keep you healthy.

What are the two main functions of the liver? ›

As the largest organ in our body, our liver has 3 vital functions, essential to our body: detoxification, synthesis and storage.

What does the liver do for nutrient absorption? ›

The liver has many functions, but its main job within the digestive system is to process the nutrients absorbed from the small intestine. Bile from the liver secreted into the small intestine also plays an important role in digesting fat and some vitamins. The liver is your body's chemical "factory."

Why is beef liver so nutritious? ›

Rich In Nutrients And Vitamins

In particular, beef liver is a great source of Vitamins A and B12. Vitamin A is vital to the immune system and reproduction, while its also of great benefit to your vision, skin and the functioning of organs like the heart and the kidneys.

Why is liver good for you if it filters toxins? ›

The liver does not store toxins, but it does store many essential nutrients that are used to process the toxins. These nutrients include vitamins A, E, D, K, B12; folic acid, and minerals such as copper and iron. Of all the organ meats, liver is by far the most nutrient dense.

Should you eat liver every day? ›

Even though liver is incredibly healthy and nutritious, it should not be consumed daily. Eating it once per week is enough. Bottom Line: Liver contains many essential nutrients.

What does the liver have an abundance of? ›

This detoxification process occurs in the liver, which contains an abundance of smooth endoplasmic reticulum. Rough endoplasmic reticulum and ribosomes are involved in protein synthesis, and mitochondria are the site of energy (ATP) production.

Is liver the healthiest meat? ›

Beef liver is perhaps the most nutritious and healthy meat you can eat - and cooked right it's delicious! Gram for gram, beef liver is probably the most nutritious food on earth. This nutrient-dense organ meat contains substantial amounts of vitamin B12, copper, and many other essential nutrients.

Is the liver the most nutritious part of an animal? ›

Liver is the most nutrient dense organ meat, and it is a powerful source of vitamin A. Vitamin A is beneficial for eye health and for reducing diseases that cause inflammation, including everything from Alzheimer's disease to arthritis.

Is beef liver the healthiest meat? ›

Nutrient-dense beef liver is truly unique. Certainly, the healthiest cut of meat and arguably, the healthiest food of any category. It is low in fat, only 0.16 oz total fat per 3.5 oz serving. Nutrient-rich Beef Liver is also the best source of vitamin A, B12, and iron from any cut of meat.

How does the liver make the waste less toxic? ›

When the liver has broken down harmful substances, its by-products are excreted into the bile or blood. Bile by-products enter the intestine and leave the body in the form of feces. Blood by-products are filtered out by the kidneys, and leave the body in the form of urine.

Why is the liver the major site for detoxification? ›

Abstract. The liver plays an important rôle in protecting the organism from potentially toxic chemical insults through its capacity to convert lipophiles into more water-soluble metabolites which can be efficiently eliminated from the body via the urine.

Why do I feel so good after eating liver? ›

Liver is nature's most concentrated source of vitamin A; it is also abundant in B12 and other B vitamins, plus iron, choline, copper, folic acid, purines and natural cholesterol. It's also a fantastic source of magnesium and phosphorus. Liver has also been shown to contain a not-yet identified anti-fatigue factor.

Is there a downside to eating liver? ›

The Dangers of Eating Liver

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics notes that liver is very high in cholesterol and vitamin A, so even if you enjoy eating it, you need to limit your intake to small amounts. Eating large portions of liver or consuming it every day is not recommended.

Why do I crave liver? ›

One hypothesis is that cravings can be a sign of nutrient deficiencies. For example, if someone is magnesium deficient,they might crave a pile of sautéed greens; or if someone needs more iron, they might get a craving for liver.


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