Because the liver filters poisons and other potentially harmful substances out of the blood, some people assume eating beef liver is bad for your health. While consuming beef liver does warrant some potential considerations, it is overwhelmingly good for you. If you have high cholesterol, liver may not be a good choice for your dietbecause liver is quite high in cholesterol.
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Purchase beef liver from reputable sources that sell only meat inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These inspectors are critical for ensuring quality liver reaches your grocery store -- infected livers or livers that contain parasites or abscesses are removed not approved for public consumption, and livers deemed healthy and edible move on for washing and chilling before shipping to butcher shops and meat departments. Beef liver may contain pesticides in a greater concentration than other cuts of beef. Purchase organic meat if pesticides are a concern.
If you've been feeling lethargic or irritable, experiencing heart palpitations and pale skin and notice your tongue is swollen, you might have iron-deficient anemia. Including beef liver in your diet may help raise your iron intake and reverse the anemia. One slice of braised beef liver weighing 2.4 ounces provides you with 4.5 milligrams of iron; adult men require 8 milligrams of iron per day, while women need 18 milligrams To boost iron intake further, serve beef liver with a side of spinach, broccoli or lima beans.
Contributes to Energy
Beef liver contains both carbohydrates and protein, both of which contribute to the amount of energy you have to power your body. One slice of braised beef liver has 3.5 grams of carbs and 20 grams of protein; energy derives first from carbohydrates and then from protein. However, these macronutrients could not convert to energy without the B vitamins. Beef liver serves as a good source of these vitamins, containing thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, vitamin B-12 and pantothenic acid.
Boosts Eye Health
One serving of beef liver provides 21,566 International units of vitamin A, critical for preventing cataracts, eye infections and age-related macular degeneration. The recommended daily value of this vitamin is 5,000 International units for adults. The vitamin A in beef liver is fat soluble, so none of it is wasted. However, too much vitamin A in the diet can poison you. One serving of beef liver contains twice the advised upper limit of vitamin A consumption, so make this meat an occasional treat.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Hepatitis B Foundation; Your Liver and How It Works
- The Straight Dope; Is liver good for you? Isn't it full of pesticides?; Cecil Adams
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Iron-Deficiency Anemia
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Beef, Variety Meats and By-Products, Liver, Cooked, Braised
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Iron
- McKinley Health Center; Macronutrients: the Importance of Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat
- MedlinePlus: B Vitamins
- All About Vision; Vitamin A and Beta Carotene: Eye Benefits; G. Heiting