Why even Eat Liver?
I had have my "liver eating day" when my husband wasn't home. The smell of frying liver, then watching me eat it was too much for him. I never looked forward to liver day.
I decided I had to figure out a way to make liver more edible. I did a little research, then started making paté. Not only does my paté make liver edible, it makes liver enjoyable!
I have now been regularly consuming liver for the past few years. I have gotten to the point where I don't notice a difference when I do eat it, but I do notice a difference when I don't. When I put off making a new batch of paté for too long, my complexion takes a dive, and I get little bumps on the back of my arm.
Liver is a Nutritional Powerhouse
Liver defines "nutrient density". When compared to pretty much all other foods on the planet, liver ranks at the top. I made the chart below, which compares the nutrient profiles between different foods. Notice, beef liver and chicken liver have most pink (highest) and green (next in rank) squares.
With this chart, I am not saying that vegetables are unimportant, because they are very important. Vegetables and fruit contain fiber, Vitamin C and have a variety of different phytonutrients (many undiscovered!) which have their own superb health benefits. I am just trying to emphasize the extreme nutrient density in liver.
Eating liver is also important if you regularly consume muscle meats, like steak. Muscle meat and eggs are rich in the amino acid, methionine. A high intake of methionine can increase the production of homocysteine, which is associated with cardiovascular disease (1). Luckily, nature provides an answer for this problem. We can balance our muscle meat intake with more gelatinous cuts of meat, and organ meats such as liver. Liver is a rich source of the very nutrients that neutralize homocysteine. These include vitamins B6, B12, folate, betaine, and choline (2). Remember, eat nose to tail!
Quality Matters.... A Lot
As with any food you put in your body, you should first investigate its quality. This is especially true with organ meat. My suggestion is to get liver (and meat, eggs, veggies, and wine!) at your local farmer market. This way, you can meet the person who raised or grew your food. You can ask them any questions you have about the quality of meat they are selling. If they don't meet your standards, you can move on to a vendor who does. You will eventually develop relationships with the people who grow the food you eat.
Questions you could ask the farmer:
I have never, and will never make paté out of conventionally raised liver. Factory farmed meat is a crime.
But, Doesn't the Liver Store Toxins?
It is a common belief, that the liver stores the toxins in our body. This is probably why many people are turned off at the thought of eating liver. But, this is simply not true.
When people think of the liver, they think of it as a filter. This brings to mind coffee filters, or fuel filters, where the gunk is left behind and stored in the filter. This is not the case with the liver. Mark Sisson likens the liver to a chemical processing plant, rather than a filter. The liver receives chemicals and toxins from the blood. The liver then processes these toxins into less harmful substances, then sends them on their way to be excreted in urine. If you want to read more on this topic, read this blog post written by Mark Sisson.
Although the liver doesn't store toxins, it does store a large amount of nutrients. These nutrients are needed to help it perform it's thousands of functions. This is why liver is a nutritional powerhouse.
I would like to hear from you!
Did you know how nutritious liver is? Do you eat liver? How do you prepare liver?
Lindsay Rusk, R.Ac., fmp
Lindsay Is a Registered Acupuncturist, Functional Medicine Practitioner, Health Investigator, Paleo Enthusiast, and Blogger.
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