Dr. Shanahan compares liver to other foods for nutrient content:
The Weston A. Price Foundation details the nutritional benefits of liver:
“So what makes liver so wonderful? Quite simply, it contains more nutrients, gram for gram, than any other food. In summary, liver provides:
An excellent source of high-quality protein
Nature’s most concentrated source of vitamin A
All the B vitamins in abundance, particularly vitamin B12
One of our best sources of folic acid
A highly usable form of iron
Trace elements such as copper, zinc and chromium; liver is our best source of copper
An unidentified anti-fatigue factor
CoQ10, a nutrient that is especially important for cardio-vascular function
A good source of purines, nitrogen-containing compounds that serve as precursors for DNA and RNA.”
Organs, especially liver (from healthy sources) can be an important part of a pregnancy diet due to its high folate content. As I’ve explained before, liver consumption is encouraged during pregnancy by the Weston A. Price foundation, which recommends:
“3-4 ounces fresh liver, once or twice per week
(If you have been told to avoid liver for fear of getting “too much Vitamin A,” be sure to read Vitamin A Saga)”
Do Organ Meats Store Toxins?
This is the most common objection (besides the taste) to consuming organ meats, especially liver.
Organs like heart and brain obviously don’t store toxins, but many people are afraid to consume liver or kidney because these organs filter toxins in the body.
While organ meats do function as filters in the body, they don’t store the toxins. The job of organs like the liver is to remove toxins from the body, and as such, they store many fat soluble vitamins and nutrients needed to accomplish this task.
As this article explains:
“One of the roles of the liver is to neutralize toxins (such as drugs, chemical agents and poisons); but the liver does not store toxins. Poisonous compounds that the body cannot neutralize and eliminate are likely to lodge in the fatty tissues and the nervous system. The liver is not a storage organ for toxins but it is a storage organ for many important nutrients (vitamins A, D, E, K, B12 and folic acid, and minerals such as copper and iron). These nutrients provide the body with some of the tools it needs to get rid of toxins.
Of course, we should consume liver from healthy animals–cattle, lamb, buffalo, hogs, chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese. The best choice is liver from animals that spend their lives outdoors and on pasture. If such a premier food is not available, the next choice is organic chicken, beef and calves liver. If supermarket liver is your only option, the best choice is calves liver, as in the U.S. beef cattle do spend their first months on pasture. Beef liver is more problematical as beef cattle are finished in feed lots. Livers from conventionally raised chicken and hogs are not recommended.”