A recent post on our Facebook page about hiding liver in hamburgers ground up a lot of debate (see what I did there!).
One of the questions asked was (to paraphrase), “why go to all this trouble?” or put another way, “why bother eating liver?”
So today we are singing an ode in praise of Organ meats!
Organ meat vs muscle meat
Traditional cultures prized organ meats, and often considered them the most valuable part of an animal. Stories of traditional Eskimos have them saving the organ meats for themselves and throwing the muscle meat to their dogs.
And it’s not hard to see why. Organs contain most of the nutrients of the animal, muscles on the other hand are primarily just protein.
To get a sense, let’s compare. In the table below I’ve listed the vitamin and mineral content of 1 oz of beef vs 1 oz of beef liver.
|Nutrients||Beef, raw – 1oz||Beef liver, raw – 1oz|
|Vitamin A||0.0 IU||4732 IU|
|Vitamin C||0.0 mg||0.4 mg|
|Vitamin D||0.0 IU||4.5 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.1 mg||0.1 mg|
|Vitamin K||0.9 mcg||0.9 mcg|
|Thiamin||0.0 mg||0.1 mg|
|Riboflavin||0.1 mg||0.8 mg|
|Niacin||1.4 mg||3.7 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.1 mg||0.3 mg|
|Folate||3.6 mcg||81.2 mcg|
|Vitamin B12||0.8 mcg||16.6 mcg|
|Pantothenic Acid||0.2 mg||2.0 mg|
|Choline||22.5 mg||93.3 mg|
|Betaine||2.9 mg||1.2 mg|
|Calcium||6.7 mg||1.4 mg|
|Iron||0.5 mg||1.4 mg|
|Magnesium||3.9 mg||5.0 mg|
|Phosphorus||37.0 mg||108.0 mg|
|Potassium||61.0 mg||87.6 mg|
|Sodium||18.8 mg||19.3 mg|
|Zinc||1.0 mg||1.1 mg|
|Copper||0.0 mg||2.7 mg|
|Manganese||0.0 mg||0.1 mg|
|Selenium||3.8 mcg||11.1 mcg|
|Fluoride||6.3 mcg||0.0 mcg|
As you can see, liver wins in virtually every category. That’s why we call liver, nature’s multi-vitamin, and that’s why we recommend you eat it.
But why liver?
Ideally, not just liver. It would be best if you included every organ meat in your diet, at least from time to time. Traditional cultures eat everything: liver, lungs, heart, pancreas, brains, eyeballs…everything. And each organ is packed with nutrition, with certain organs concentrating different amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Feeling squeamish? That’s okay, that’s just our Western cultural conditioning, we’re used to getting bland meat in a Styrofoam tray. Organ meats are messier, it’s true. And they taste strongly, that’s true too.
So, if you’re new to organ meats and they seems scary, start small and try a little liver. It’s the most commonly available organ meat for average urban people. Mix it with other strong flavors to help mask it’s taste. Try the hamburger recipe we posted yesterday.
Before I Go, Let Me Answer Two Myths
To read more in depth about this, I recommend starting with Chris Masterjohn’s excellent article Vitamin A on Trial.
I hope this has convinced you to give liver a try. It’s a nutritional powerhouse, and most people could benefit by adding 3-4 oz to their diet every 7-14 days.
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Photo attribution – https://bit.ly/2MTACtF
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