Nikki Yelton is an Integrative & Functional Medicine Registered Dietitian Nutritionist serving clients worldwide. She offers a personalized functional medicine approach to helping women with GI distress and autoimmune conditions to get to the root cause of the symptoms holding them back so that they can start living the extraordinary life they dream of with more energy, purpose, and joy!
Beef liver is a nutritional powerhouse that contains the most concentrated nutrients of any organ. If you aren’t yet aware of the impressive health benefits of beef liver, here is what you need to know!
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While beef liver might not win the award for the most palatable organ, it is arguably the most nutritious. In fact, beef liver is a nutritional powerhouse that contains the most concentrated nutrients of any organ. Move over blueberries and acai– many even consider beef liver to be the number one superfood. If you aren’t yet aware of the impressive health benefits of beef liver, here is what you need to know!
NUTRIENTS IN BEEF LIVER
Beef liver is packed with essential vitamins and minerals. It contains high amounts of nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin A, various B vitamins, selenium, and copper. It’s also rich in antioxidants, like glutathione, and serves as a high quality source of protein.
The nutrient facts for one ounce of cooked beef liver are as follows:
Protein: 7.4 grams
Total Fat: 1 gram
Vitamin A: 1,573 IU
Vitamin B12: 4.3 mcg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 0.9 mg
Folate (Vitamin B9): 67 mcg
Vitamin D: 5.3 IU
Copper: 2.4 mg
Zinc: 1.1 mg
Selenium: 6 mcg
As you can see, beef liver is practically nature’s multivitamin. It contains such a variety of concentrated nutrients that it can help replenish our bodies.
HOW BEEF LIVER BENEFITS THE GUT
Consuming beef liver is an incredibly versatile way of supporting your gut health. It contains high levels of vitamins and minerals that play vital roles in maintaining a healthy gut lining and supporting digestive processes. Here’s how:
Beef liver is one of the richest sources of vitamin A, which is crucial for maintaining the integrity of the gut lining. Adequate vitamin A helps in the production of mucin, a protein that forms a protective barrier in the gut, preventing harmful substances from entering the bloodstream.
Beef liver is a rich source of various B vitamins, including B12, B6, and folate. These vitamins are essential for proper digestion and nutrient absorption in the gut. They also support the production of enzymes that aid in breaking down food.
Iron from beef liver can help prevent iron-deficiency anemia, which can lead to gastrointestinal issues like constipation and diarrhea. Adequate iron levels are essential for overall gut health and the prevention of digestive problems.
Zinc is an essential mineral for gut health, as it plays a role in maintaining the gut’s barrier function and supporting the immune system. Beef liver contains significant amounts of zinc, which contributes to a healthy gut lining.
Beef liver contains collagen, a protein that supports the gut lining and can help repair and maintain its integrity. Collagen aids in reducing inflammation in the gut and promoting healing.
Beef liver is a good source of the amino acid glycine. Glycine can support gut health by promoting the production of glutathione, an antioxidant that protects the gut from oxidative stress and inflammation.
Choline is another important nutrient found in beef liver. It is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and is involved in various processes, including gut motility and digestion.
Beef liver contains antioxidants like selenium, which can help protect the gut from oxidative damage and reduce inflammation.
Copper is involved in the production of collagen, a structural protein that supports the gut lining and helps maintain its integrity. It also plays a role in the formation of connective tissues, which are essential for the proper functioning of the digestive system. Additionally, copper is required for the absorption and utilization of iron, another nutrient found in beef liver that is important for overall gut health.
While beef liver offers these many benefits for your gut health, it’s essential to consume it in moderation and as part of a balanced diet. Excessive consumption of liver can lead to an intake of certain nutrients at levels that may not be suitable for everyone. If you have specific gut health concerns or dietary restrictions, it’s a good idea to consult with a functional health practitioner like myself to ensure that beef liver fits into your overall dietary plan.
MORE HEALTH BENEFITS OF LIVER
Beyond the gut, beef liver continues to benefit the body in a myriad of ways. These are just a few of the most known and understood health benefits of beef liver:
Strengthens the Immune System
Vitamin A, vitamin D, copper, and zinc are superstars when it comes to a strong immune system. Because beef liver contains these vitamins in high amounts, it is known for supporting a healthy immune system. These nutrients also help with immune modulation, which is necessary in those with autoimmunity.
Nutrient deficiencies can drive inflammation. However, the powerful nutrients in beef liver can help prevent and/or address nutrient deficiency, and therefore, reduce inflammation. Since inflammation is often high in those with autoimmunity, incorporating more beef liver into the diet can be helpful.
Supports Thyroid Health
Beef liver’s high content of iron and vitamin A plays a pivotal role in maintaining a healthy thyroid. Iron and vitamin A are indispensable for the synthesis of essential thyroid hormones, including T3 and T4. These hormones are instrumental in governing the body’s metabolism and energy levels, making beef liver a valuable addition to support your thyroid’s well-being.
The nutrients found in beef liver, including vitamin A and vitamins B9 and B12, have a really noticeable influence on hormonal production and regulation. Vitamin A, in particular, aids in hormone receptor sensitivity, ensuring that your body responds effectively to hormonal signals. Moreover, vitamins B9 (folate) and B12 contribute to the synthesis and metabolism of various hormones. By bolstering the body’s nutrient reserves, beef liver can help regulate hormonal imbalances. This benefit alone can be life changing!
Improves Energy Levels
Low energy levels are especially prevalent in women with low iron (ferritin) stores. Because beef liver is so rich in iron, it can help fight against fatigue and lethargy. Important note: If you know your body has low iron stores, I don’t recommend supplementing with pure iron because it can deplete other vital minerals and create imbalances in the body. Instead, I suggest incorporating more liver into the diet.
Aids in Detoxification
Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that plays a critical role in detoxifying the body by neutralizing against anything harmful while also protecting healthy cells from oxidative damage. Beef liver is a natural source of glutathione, making it a valuable addition to support the body’s detoxification pathways.
Supports Brain Health
A well-nourished brain is essential for cognitive function and emotional well-being. Beef liver’s significant B12 content helps the brain in maintaining healthy nerve cells and ensuring optimal function. Regular consumption can aid in supporting cognitive abilities, memory, and mood stability. Who doesn’t want more of that?!
Improves Skin Health
Vitamin A is renowned for its role in promoting healthy skin by supporting cell turnover and collagen production. Collagen, another amazing component found in beef liver, provides structural support to the skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and enhancing skin elasticity. A little bit of beef liver for a whole lot of beauty!
Beef liver offers tangible, even transformative, benefits for your well-being. From reducing inflammation, to balancing hormones, and even supporting thyroid function, incorporating beef liver into your diet is a simple and effective way to boost your overall health.
HOW TO INCORPORATE BEEF LIVER INTO YOUR DIET
Because of its remarkable nutrient density, enjoying beef liver just once or twice a month gives you everything you need to experience its full spectrum of health advantages. Yep, it’s that rich in nutrients! This infrequent consumption can provide your body with a consistent supply of vital vitamins and minerals without the need for frequent servings.
Since liver is not a favorite food in many households, it can take a little creativity to incorporate more liver in a palatable way. If you (or your family members) don’t love the taste of liver on it’s own, try these sneaky creations:
Liver pate to enjoy with crackers or veggies ate to dip veggies
Use a frontier meat blend from a farm. I personally love getting an equal mix of grass-fed and finished ground beef and beef organ meat, which typically has liver and heart in the mix for all the extra nutrient support. I also find you can’t even taste the liver or other organs since it is mixed with ground beef.
A simple meatball recipemade with pasture-raised liver and one of the following: ground beef, chicken, or turkey
Beef liver is a nutritional powerhouse that contains the most concentrated nutrients of any organ. Try these beef liver meatballs!
4 oz Beef Liver
3 slices Bacon
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 lb Extra Lean Ground Beef
1/4 Yellow Onion (finely chopped)
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (176ºC).
Add the chicken liver, bacon, garlic powder, onion powder and salt to a food processor and blend until mostly smooth.
Place the beef in a large mixing bowl. Add the liver mixture and chopped onion and mix until very well combined.
Form the meat mixture into tightly-packed balls, about 1-inch in diameter. Use damp hands to make rolling easier. Place in a high-sided baking dish.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through. Enjoy!
Leftovers: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to three days.
Serving size: One serving is approximately 5 meatballs.
More flavor: Add fresh garlic, red pepper flakes, dried herbs.
With a little creativity, you can enjoy all the benefits of liver without the strong taste. These sneaky recipes do the trick!
HOW TO SOURCE HIGH QUALITY BEEF LIVER
When it comes to beef liver, the quality of your choice matters greatly, (same goes for all food or supplements!) For beef liver to activate all of its most amazing effects in your body, it’s essential to seek out the purest quality available.
My favorite source is US Wellness Meat. Their commitment to providing the finest quality meats is truly unparalleled. For starters, all of their meat is sourced from farms that operate in the most holistic way. This means their meat is free of all pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, added growth hormones, GMOs, and animal mRNA vaccines. Their animals are raised stress-free, roaming and grazing on native prairie grasses. To sweeten the matter, they even offer a convenient online ordering experience with a diverse selection. The bottom line is that these meats are not only ethically raised but also incredibly juicy and flavorful when they hit your table! Happy eating!
You can also talk to your local farmers and butchers to ask about their farming practices. You might be able to source high quality beef liver right in your own community! To find a farmer near you who sells top quality liver, try searching through Farm Match. This is where I suggest getting the majority of your meats and raw dairy whenever possible!
BEEF LIVER SUPPLEMENT BENEFITS
If the idea of including beef liver in your diet doesn’t quite sit well with you, whether it’s in meatballs or pate, I have an easy solution for you – supplementation. You can consider adding Perfect Desiccated Liver Capsules to your routine (my personal favorite liver capsules).
They firmly believe in the importance of sourcing liver from happy and healthy cattle for it to truly qualify as a superfood. Their cows graze solely on Argentinean grass, untainted by hormones, antibiotics, or chemical contaminants. They are never exposed to chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Best of all, they are dedicated to testing every batch for heavy metals and contaminants which is a major consideration when sourcing quality liver. The Perfect brand for Desiccated Liver capsules goes the extra mile to provide you with the healthiest liver supplement possible.
I personally notice a huge difference in my own health when supplementing with liver capsules. Although I do eat liver on occasion, I find the supplements to be an easy way to get the nutrients and energy my body needs. In fact, I even relied on liver supplements to support my low iron during pregnancy.
As always, make sure you are working with a qualified health practitioner before beginning any new supplement!
WRAPPING IT ALL UP
Join in on the amazing power of beef liver in your diet and see how it can give you the boost you were searching for! Whether you’re a food enthusiast, eager to explore its unique flavors in various dishes, or someone just seeking simple yet effective health improvements through diet and supplements, beef liver has a lot to offer.
From strengthening your immune system to helping with hormonal balance and supporting brain health, it’s a simple and yet super effective way to serve your body! Don’t miss out on the incredible benefits of beef liver – it’s a ready-way to make your journey to better health more enjoyable and fulfilling, one power-packed bite at a time!
I would love to know if you include beef liver into your health routine? Let me know in the comments below!
"When it comes to balancing our body, healing the gut, reversing autoimmunity, and achieving optimal health—we are a lot like a car that won’t run right. In order to fix the problem once and for all instead of relying on jumper cables, we must get underneath the hood, run the diagnostics, and replace the battery so that it runs good as new."
-Nikki Yelton, RD
a note from nikki:
If you are ready to stop wasting precious time, get off the never-ending hamster wheel, and finally surrender trying to figure things out on your own—this is your moment.
You don’t have to settle for just getting by and hoping tomorrow is a better day. We both know you are a woman who deserves better and are made for so. much. more.
are you ready?
Ready to resolve your GI distress, reverse autoimmunity, and live your extraordinary life?