It’s seldom that I write about meat. All those lovely vegetables that have great vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients in them. Then there’s fish for anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats. But today I’m focusing on a meaty nutrient powerhouse – liver. Yes, particularly in the US, liver is not very popular. But let’s take a look at the reasons why eating it regularly may support your health.
Liver vs. beef vs. chicken
One of the key reasons is because eating it provides us with really good levels of vitamins – especially B vitamins. Take a look at this comparison of liver to beef and chicken. It shows how much of the daily recommended intake of certain nutrients that each food provides us in one serving (4 ounces).
Why is this important? For many reasons, but one you may well have heard about more recently is methylation.
Methylation reactions happen in just about every cell in the body, many times per second. Balanced methylation is important in the body as it is involved in:
- neurotransmitter balance – depression, poor stress resilience, anxiety
- immunity and allergy – autoimmune responses, food allergies
- genetic expression and DNA repair – susceptibility to certain cancers, premature aging
- metabolism and energy – chronic fatigue, tiredness, weight gain, diabetes
- detoxification – hormone imbalances, headaches
- cardiovascular health – heart attacks, stroke, blood clots.
For methylation to be balanced – we don’t want too much or too little – we need to have certain nutrients in our diet. If you have polymorphisms associated with methylation (MTHFR, MTRR, CBS, COMT, etc), you may need higher levels of these nutrients than those people without polymorphisms. But we all need good dietary sources of methylation nutrients to maintain optimal function in the areas listed above.
As the infographic above shows, liver is a great source of the following key methylation nutrients:
- Vitamin B2 (>100%RDA/serving)
- Vitamin B3 (>100%RDA/serving)
- Pantothenic acid (B5) (>100%RDA/serving)
- Pyridoxine (B6) (~89%RDA/serving)
- Folate (B9)(~72% RDA/serving)
- Vitamin B12 (>100%RDA/serving)
- Zinc (~75% RDA/serving)
- Choline (>100%RDA/serving)
Take home message
We all need methylation nutrients. It’s not a requirement only for those with polymorphisms. And eating liver regularly is one easy way to get these nutrients, as part of a balanced diet. Plus it is a great source of other nutrients too, like vitamin A, and iron, which are involved in other systems in the body.
I’ll share my favorite liver recipe on Friday. Hope you’ll give it a try and incorporate different liver recipes into your meal plans.