What we eat and how we nourish ourselves is being cited as one of the most important fuels for our health today. Vitamins and minerals are essential components of our fuel that allow us to thrive, repair cells, eliminate toxins, build tissue, fight infection, grow and develop, maintain our nervous system, and more. When we understand that nourishment is essential in sustaining our health and allowing all systems to run smoothly, it encourages us to include the most nutrient-dense foods as possible in our diet.
Most of us look to fruits and vegetables to fill this requirement as they have long been assumed by many to be the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. What if we told you that there was another natural food that, compared to fruits and vegetables, that contains a much higher level of micronutrients including vitamins B12, A, D, E, K, iron, zinc, folate and more?
Liver: One of the most nutrient dense foods available
Organ meats are rich in nutrients, with liver being one of the best sources of vitamins and minerals that we have access to. Liver is where the body stores many of our most essential nutrients such as vitamins A, D, E, K, and B12 as well as folate acid, copper, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids. Here’s a well-researched, fact-checked blog that compares the nutrient level of liver to that of common fruits and vegetables.
To put the nutrient density into perspective for you, here is beef liver compared with the beef meat (or, steak!). It has to be noted, though, that each liver and steak will vary in nutrient density, but here are some comparisons to grasp the nutrient density concept.
There is 100 x the B12 content in beef liver than beef meat;
Liver; 113 mcg per 100g
Beef; 1.8 mcg per 100g
There is nearly 7 times the iron content in beef liver than beef meat;
Liver; 18 mg
Beef; 2.6 mg
There is 36 times the folate content in beef liver than beef meat;
Liver; 145 mcg
Beef; 4 mcg
As always, for optimal nutrient density and purity, opt for sources that are free from hormones and antibiotics, free range and pasture-raised over commercially bred animal products. By just incorporating a little bit of high-quality liver into your diet each week, you can naturally supplement your body with nutrients that are otherwise difficult to find and absorb.
What about toxins?
Toxins are a common concern regarding the consumption of liver. The liver is where the body processes toxins, causing some to believe that eating liver will flood your body with them. This isn’t the case. While the liver does carry out the essential role of detoxifying the body, those toxins are not stored in the liver. They are usually neutralised, passed, or stored in fatty tissues, another reason to choose the highest quality sources of fatty meat cuts!
What the liver does store are the nutrients that help it break down toxins. This is why the liver is so high in the valuable micronutrients we need to keep our body going.
Is liver safe for pregnant women and babies?
The concern regarding liver consumption for babies and during pregnancy is to do with its high amount of vitamin A, however, vitamin A is still exceptionally important for human health and a deficiency poses huge risks. It can also be challenging to exceed the recommended upper limits of vitamin A, so it is helpful to have a little understanding of this. Currently, the current guidelines outline that a pregnant woman’s recommended daily intake (RDI) is 800 µg/day with the upper limit being 3000 µg/day. The recommended upper limit of vitamin A for babies aged 1-3 sits at 600ug/day, though it should be noted that more research needs to be done on the subject as there is scarce research using real foods rich in vitamin A. Here is a blog that was co-written by our founder covering the evidence in detail. In case you are wondering, one dose of the Mothers Blend delivers 630 µg/day, so it is well and truly within the safe limits and there is room for other beautiful food sources of vitamin A such as eggs and cod liver oil. The blend has been evaluated by regulatory advisors, and they of course agree that the blend has nutrients in safe limits for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
In short, liver is safe during pregnancy and for babies, the only question is the amount, but even still, more research needs to be done. It’s not wise to avoid rich vitamin A sources altogether as vitamin A deficiency has been linked to a wide range of issues for babies. If you would like to incorporate liver into your baby’s diet without risking too much vitamin A, chicken liver is a less dense option compared to beef liver.
As always, you should consult your physician regarding any changes to your or your baby’s diet.
How To Get More Liver In Your Diet
For those who haven’t grown up eating liver, the taste and texture can take some getting used to. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to incorporate liver into your diet without chewing through unappetising chunks. Created by our founder, Sheridan Austin’s Spiced Liver Pate recipe is an easy and delicious go-to, or you can simply supplement your liver intake through a natural powdered source such as The Mothers Blend.
The synergy of nutrients within real food leads us to the passion of receiving critical nutrients from real food sources where possible, so we recommend challenging yourself to include actual liver in your diet. Here’s a helpful blog from Lily Nichols on how you can incorporate more liver in your diet without sacrificing taste or texture.
We hope this clears any confusion around liver, and encourages you to say yes next time you’re offered it!
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