Liver

Do You Have Liver in Your Diet?

Those who have a regular diet of meat, do you include liver in it? Yes, you heard it right. Liver! The liver is an essential organ in every animal as it plays many vital roles in the bodily functions. But it also has found its way to many of the favorite cuisines around the world. Pork, bovine, lamb and chicken livers are quite common in the platters of a wide variety of cultures. Treated as all other meat and cooked as such, you can eat liver as a main dish, or if you like the combination of liver smothered in onions, you can eat it as a side dish. In some of the famous recipes around the world, like Scotland’s haggis and India’s mutton liver fry, the liver is one of the primary ingredients. Some spreads, like liver pate’ and liverwurst, can also contribute liver to your diet.

Is liver rich in protein and fat?

All livers have a high reserve of protein. According to LIVESTRONG.COM‘S MyPlate, 1 oz. of calf liver (which is around 28.5 grams), contains about 6.2 grams of protein, which is the 12% of the daily protein requirement for an average adult. As you all know, protein is one of the essential nutrients for the proper functioning of our body. Protein facilitates the growth and maintenance of all our body tissues including muscles, hairs, and nails. Protein is also an essential component of hormones and enzymes.

Many people avoid including it in their platter, just because they seem to think it has too much fat, where in actuality, it doesn’t. In fact, 1 oz. of calf liver provides us with only 3% of our daily requirement of fat (which rounds up to about 2.4 grams). Chicken liver contains an even lesser amount of fat, but it also comes with a lesser amount of protein.   

How about Vitamins?

It is also a rich source of vitamins. According to “McCance and Widdowson’s Composition of Foods”, 1 oz. of calf liver takes care of the daily value requirement of Vitamin A and Vitamin B-12. Vitamin A plays a vital role in maintaining your eye, hair, and skin health and Vitamin B-12 is important for healthy red blood cell production and proper nervous system function. It is also rich in folate, which helps the digestion to go smoothly.

A good source of minerals

Livers, especially calf livers, is an excellent source of iron, supplying 11 mg per 3-oz serving, or 61 percent of the daily value of iron. Beef liver contains a little less iron, about 5.2 mg per 3-oz serving. Including one oz. of calf liver in your diet will meet your daily copper requirement and more and it has about 25 percent of the daily value requirement for selenium and zinc. For proper red blood cell functioning and iron metabolism, you need a good dose of copper. Selenium, considered an antioxidant, takes care of the stress levels and plays an important role in male fertility. Zinc aids wound healing and augment the blood clotting capabilities. It also maintains a healthy immune system.

Concerns

While including liver in your diet, certain concerns should be noted. With its high nutrient profile, a moderate inclusion of liver in your food will be quite beneficial. But excessive consumption can be harmful, especially for adults, because of its cholesterol content. Pregnant women must also avoid liver and liver products because of its high Vitamin A reservoir, which can turn out to be harmful to the unborn baby. Liver and offal can also aggravate gout and kidney stones. The polar bear liver has an extremely high Vitamin A, excessive consumption of which can lead to dizziness, nausea, headaches and in extreme cases, death.

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