Beef is consumed by people all around the world. It is a versatile type of meat that can be used in various dishes and cuisines. However, among several beef cuts and meat options, there is another item that is obtained from the cow, which is the liver.
Cow liver is a highly nutritious part of the cow which can be consumed by cooking it in various ways. Even though the beef liver has numerous health benefits, it is not a popular choice among consumers, which is mostly because of its unique taste and texture.
In this article we will be discussing the various health benefits of consuming cow liver. Apart from that, you will also gain information on how grass fed beef liver is different from the grain fed beef liver commonly available in the grocery stores.
What is Beef Liver?
Beef liver is an organ meat that is obtained from cattle animals. Organ meat, especially liver, is highly dense with nutrition and is used as a nutritional powerhouse. It is often referred to as offal which is also referred to other organs and internal parts of the cow including heart, kidney, pancreas, brain and tongue. People from some cultures do not like to consume offals, while there are many other cultures in which offals are considered as delicacies.
Even though cow liver is loaded with nutrition and health benefits, it is not a popular option among consumers. This is mainly because of the taste and texture of beef liver which is quite different from cow meat.
Similar to human liver, beef liver is an essential organ for the cow, as it performs multiple important functions for a living body. Some of the important and vital functions performed by the liver involve metabolism, detoxification and the storage of vitamins and minerals. This is one of the main reasons that the liver is so nutrient dense.
Among other organ meats of cow, livers typically contain the highest protein content and best amino acid profile. They are also great sources of vitamin A and B vitamins when consumed in the right amount. In fact, due to its nutritional benefits, beef liver is referred to as a superfood.
Nutritional Value of Cow Liver
Beef liver is an organ meat that is nutrient-dense, high in protein and low-carb superfood. It is also loaded with vitamins and minerals and is often referred to as nature’s multivitamin. The chart below will give a look at the nutritional profile of cow liver.
Beef Liver (Raw) Based on 100 Grams Value
|Nutrients||Amount in Units||% Of Daily Value|
|Vitamin A IU||16898IU||870%|
Health Benefits of Consuming Beef Liver
Beef liver is a rich with nutrients cow meat that has numerous health benefits. As we have already mentioned that the cow liver has a good vitamin profile, beef liver is also rich in other nutrients and minerals like zinc, iron, phosphorus, selenium and copper.
The main purpose of these minerals when consumed in right amount are as follows:
- Zinc supports the immune system
- Iron is essential for proper hemoglobin production
- Phosphorus aids bone and tooth health
- Selenium plays an important role in metabolism
- Copper is vital for energy production
What are the Risks Associated with Beef Liver?
Although consuming beef liver is a good option because it is nutrient dense, anything consumed or used excessively can certainly be harmful in the long run. Here are some health risks that are associated with excessive consumption of cow liver.
- Vitamin A Toxicity
Vitamin A is found in a large amount in cow liver. In fact, the amount of vitamin A in 100 grams of uncooked liver exceeds the daily requirement of vitamin A by ten fold. Consuming cow liver on a regular basis may lead a person to have vitamin A toxicity that is reported to contribute to health alterations like:
- liver damage
- pressure on the brain
- vision problems
- skin changes
- bone pain
- Copper Toxicity
Copper is another ingredient that is found in abundance in beef liver. Consuming more than the required and recommended amount of liver may also lead to copper toxicity. Excessive copper in the human body may affect it is several ways like:
- loss of red blood cells
- kidney failure
- heart failure
- liver disease
- brain damage
- Overdose of Antibiotics
It is reported that beef liver may sometimes contain detectable levels of antibiotics, which could be hazardous to human health. The presence of antibiotics can be due to animals receiving antibiotics close to the time of their slaughter. However, this situation can be avoided altogether if you use grass fed beef liver.
Antibiotics present in the meat that we consume may result in antibiotic resistance and cause symptoms like:
- allergic reactions
- disruptions in embryo development
- certain types of cancer
Beef liver naturally produces cholesterol and contains roughly 274 mg of cholesterol per 100 g of raw beef liver, making it a high cholesterol food. However, there is little evidence to suggest that dietary cholesterol can cause heart disease. For many people, it may be more important to cut down on saturated fats rather than just cholesterol.
Even if beef liver is high in cholesterol, if it is consumed in moderation, it can still be a healthy choice of food. Beef liver is a very nutrient-dense superfood that gives you a lot of nutrients and minerals in one go. However, it is not a popular food choice among many cultures because of its quite different taste and texture from the regular cow meat.