A Quick Look at What are the Health Benefits of Eating Liver

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Liver is the part of meat that’s not usually taken seriously. Some stay away from it because it’s not `natural’ to eat liver compared to the `fleshier’ parts.

Let it be known that liver is a rich source of nutrients that are essential for boosting energy, muscle growth, brain power and overall health. These nutrients could be obtained through cod liver oil as well. Studies have shown that liver is rich in vitamin A, DHA and B vitamins, among many others.

Cod Liver Oil Nutrition Profile

Below is the nutrition profile of cod liver oil per cup serving (218g).

Calories

Cod liver oil provides 1967 calories and almost all are provided by its fat content . It represents 98 percent RDA.

Fat

The total fat content in cod liver oil is 218g, which is a whooping 335 percent RDA. It is made up of saturated fat at 49.3g (246 percent RDA), unsaturated fat at 102g and polyunsaturated fat at 49.1g.

Carbohydrates

Cod liver oil has no carbohydrate content**.**

Protein

Cod liver oil has no protein content.

Fiber

Cod liver oil has no fiber content.

Minerals

Cod liver oil has no mineral content.

Arachidonic Acid and DHA

These are the two essential fatty acids (EFA) essential for the maintenance of good health.

Arachidonic acid is essential for overall body growth, healthy skin and hair, hydration, gut health and fertility among others. On the hand, DHA boosts learning, and acuity of vision. Liver is found to have 141mg of arachidonic acid per serving. As for DHA , studies have shown that cod liver oil contains from between 70 and 360mg of DHA.

Vitamins

Vitamin A

Liver and cod liver oil have a high content of vitamin A. Vitamin A, as you would already know, is essential for healthy vision, apart from promoting fertility in men and women. Recent studies have revealed that vitamin A contains a host of other health benefits like the prevention of childhood asthma, kidney stones, regulation of blood sugar and also the prevention of fatty liver disease.

The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey revealed that the intake of vitamin A for one third of Americans was about 50 percent below RDA. Another study showed that those consuming adequate amounts of beta-carotene through carrots and vegetables (converted to vitamin A in the body) showed a deficiency in vitamin A intake, albeit marginally.

It has now been established that animal foods contain a higher content of vitamin A compared to the vitamin A content in plant foods. Liver is among the top of the list of animal foods rich in vitamin A.

B Vitamins and Other Nutrients

As the liver functions as the primary metabolic mechanism of the body, it houses the important energy-giving nutrients. Before the important nutrients are supplied to the body when food is consumed, they are processed by the liver. When glucose levels in our body fall, the liver releases glucose to make up for the shortage. When the body needs fat to be burned for the release of energy, the liver supplies the fat required.

In order for the liver to undertake the above functions, it must store the necessary nutrients. Among the nutrients concentrated in the liver are the B vitamins, carnitine, lipolic acid, biotin and even vitamin C.

Food Recommendations

To obtain the nutrients discussed above, you may choose to consume liver, dessicated liver supplements or cod liver oil. Which you choose is a personal preference which should reflect your nutritional needs.

As a guide, liver, while containing important nutrients, does not have an adequate amount of vitamin D. Cod liver oil contains vitamin D but lacks B vitamins and iron. Dessicated liver, though providing adequate amounts of B vitamins and iron, does not contain enough fat soluble vitamins or essential fatty acids.

Caution

Pregnant women should exercise caution when consuming liver. As has been explained above, liver is a rich source of vitamin A. Excessive vitamin A can be harmful to the unborn baby.

References

https://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/Benefit-Of-Cod-Liver-Oil.html - general health benefits of liver

https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fats-and-oils/628/2 - nutrition profile of cod liver oil

https://www.eufic.org/page/en/page/FAQ/faqid/nutritional-value-liver/ - liver consumption caution