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Is Pork Liver Good for You?

by
author image Natalie Stein
Natalie Stein specializes in weight loss and sports nutrition. She is based in Los Angeles and is an assistant professor with the Program for Public Health at Michigan State University. Stein holds a master of science degree in nutrition and a master of public health degree from Michigan State University.
Is Pork Liver Good for You?
Pork liver pate spread on some pieces of bread. Photo Credit peredniankina/iStock/Getty Images

Chopped liver, liver pate and liver and onions are classic dishes that are rich in nutrients. Pork liver is a relatively lean type of liver, but it is high in cholesterol. Eat pork liver in moderation and only if you are not on a low-cholesterol diet. Prepare it using healthy cooking methods and serve it with other nutritious foods.

Lean Protein Source

Each 3-ounce portion of cooked pork liver provides 22 grams of protein, or 44 percent of the daily value based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Pork liver can be a healthy source of protein because it contains only 1.2 grams of cholesterol-raising saturated fat per serving. With only 140 calories per serving, pork liver can easily fit into a weight-loss diet. To limit the calories and saturated fat you get, roast or stew pork liver instead of frying it.

High Mineral Content

A 3-ounce serving of pork liver provides 15.2 milligrams of iron, or 84 percent of the daily value. Iron is an essential nutrient for maintaining healthy red blood cells. Pork liver is especially healthy for those who may be at risk for iron deficiency, such as pregnant women, athletes and adolescents. Iron in pork is in the heme form, which is easier for your body to digest than nonheme iron from plant-based foods. Liver is also high in zinc, an essential mineral for many enzyme reactions in your body.

Valuable Vitamins

Pork liver is healthy because it provides high amounts of a variety of vitamins. Each 3-ounce serving provides 15,297 international units of vitamin A, or 306 percent of the daily value for vitamin A. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, acute vitamin A toxicity is rare, but regularly consuming more than the tolerable upper level of intake of vitamin A, which is 10,000 international units per day, can lead to problems. A 3-ounce serving of pork liver contains 15.9 micrograms of vitamin B-12, or 266 percent of the daily value. Pork liver is also an excellent source of niacin, riboflavin, folate and vitamin C.

Limit Dietary Cholesterol

Pork liver is high in cholesterol, containing 302 milligrams in a 3-ounce serving. Dietary cholesterol can lead to higher levels of cholesterol in your blood and an increased risk for heart disease, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. Healthy individuals should limit consumption to 300 milligrams per day, and a low-cholesterol diet has a daily maximum of 200 milligrams of cholesterol. Following a diet low in saturated fat can help mitigate the cholesterol-raising effects of dietary cholesterol. Cook liver and onions without butter to limit your consumption of saturated fat.

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