Why Liver, aka the Planet’s #1 Superfood, needs to be incorporated into your family’s diet NOW!
That intro is dramatic, right? But seriously. If you think about it, the wisdom of multiple millennia worth of generations past has all but been forgotten. Your grandparents ate liver and onions and all it was ever associated with was being grossed out. Did you ever stop to think why they ate it in the first place? Maybe they had no idea either but somewhere along the line someone figured out that livers are REALLY good for you. I’m going to tell you why they’re the Planet’s #1 Superfood.
Also, I’m going to show you how to make what I believe is the most palatable form of liver. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s down right delicious! It’s a staple in our home and has been since just before my wife got pregnant with our twin boys. It’s Chicken Liver Pate! (sorry for all you spelling and grammar studs, I don’t know how to make the little line above the “e” …single tear…) Saddle up partners, there’s going to be a lot of content here.
So here’s 7 Reasons Your Family Should Eat Chicken Liver Pate:
1. Retinol – aka – preformed Vitamin A
Most people don’t realize how hard it is to get adequate amounts of Vitamin A from their diets. I’m sure you’ve been told to just eat carrots and you’ll be all set, right? Fortunately I’m here to tell you that’s mostly NOT true! Yay! What’s the body’s ability to convert plant forms of Vitamin A (beta carotene) into the usable version (retinol)? Pretty weak at best and abysmal at worst. There’s around a 3% conversion rate in healthy adults. There’s also another myth that the human body only converts “what it needs”. Fact is the evidence points to the contrary. In other words, the more Vitamin A deficient you are, the harder it is for your body to convert plant based forms of it into Retinol.
The good news is that chicken livers are packed full of preformed Vitamin A. That’s good news considering you’d be eating around 20 pounds of carrots every day. Vitamin A is one of the most critical fat soluble vitamins for health. We can easily get adequate amounts of in just 1 serving of chicken livers per week!
Vitamin A Benefits
As far as Vitamin A benefits are concerned they are numerous and often underestimated. Most people know that Vitamin A has something to do with keeping our eyes healthy but did you know that in relation to that it also plays an important role in our circadian rhythm? That’s right, it helps to regulate our sleep! And if that’s not a big deal to you then you need to stay tuned here at Food Fitness Family because I will be going off about sleep in some upcoming content.
Next, I’m personally always on the look out for ways I can get an edge with gaining lean body mass and boosting testosterone and once again Vitamin A comes in as an almost completely overlooked element of both. In fact I read a study that showed that the administration of Vitamin A and Iron together had results equivalent to the administration of testosterone itself! (And by the way ladies, healthy testosterone levels are not just important for guys.)
Vitamin A also promotes healthy immune function, improved fertility, vibrant skin and much, much more but I don’t want to beat a dead horse here.
One last note on Vitamin A, although I don’t want to get into detail here, if you’ve ever heard concern about “vitamin A toxicity”, please, please, do your homework on that one. In short, it’s blown way out of proportion and mostly half truths anyway. Chris Masterjohn has written extensively on the topic of Vitamin A if you want to nerd out like I do.
2. B Vitamins, most notably Vitamin B-12 and Folate
A close second on this list of reasons you should be eating Chicken Liver Pate is that it’s one of the best food sources of Vitamin B-12 that you can get and, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s in a nice bioavailable form which for B-12 is VERY important! This is because lots of folks (especially folks with any gut issues like SIBO) will have trouble assimilating B-12 to begin with.
The next happy little nutrient (totally just reminded myself of Bob Ross painting “happy little trees”) is Folate which is the preformed version of Vitamin B-9, the most bioavailable version on the market, as it were. What’s cooler is that B-12 and Folate actually work together in the synthesis of DNA and red blood cells. Weird. I’ll say it now and I’ll definitely say it again: whole food sources of nutrients wins every time over supplementation. Food synergy is fundamental in understanding even the basics of nutrition. The nice thing is that we have everything already wrapped up in a nice little package when we eat food in it’s original state and grown in the most optimal conditions possible.
The list of benefits for these two B-Vitamins alone is too much to list here but some highlights are: stabilized mood, increased healthy energy levels and improved memory. It’s essential for heart, skin and hair health, can offset “adrenal fatigue” (actually HPA Axis Dysfunction), is involved in a myriad of metabolic functions including enzyme production, DNA synthesis, hormonal balance and maintaining a healthy nervous and cardiovascular system. To name just a few!
3. It’s CHEAP!
We’re poor. ‘Nuff said. Local, pastured, organic Chicken Livers are $3.99 lb in the Seattle area. We have some of the highest food prices in the nation. No need to use fancy wine. We use $3 buck Chuck from Trader Joes. I remember when it was called $2 buck Chuck! You know the story behind the Charles Shaw brand of wine at Trader Joes is actually quite funny. I don’t know if it’s really true or not. You be the judge (link). Squirrel! Sorry about that. Anyway, the point is that Chicken Liver Pate is cheap to make so for anyone with a young family like us, it’s a no brainer.
4. It’s Absolutely Delicious!
Specifically I’m talking about Chicken Liver Pate here, not necessarily liver in general. In general I think liver is gross. But the Pate? My 4 year old twin boys eat it. They love it. Especially when it’s fresh and still hot with sliced cucumbers or crackers.
5. The Anti-Fatigue Factor
To this day scientists haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly what causes this but I can personally attest, it’s legit. Hands down, liver is the best “pre-workout” I’ve come across and trust me, I’ve tried them all. It’s hard to explain but you always seem to have a little more no matter where you’re at in your workout. Whether you’re strength training, running, hiking, HIIT, CrossFit, whatever, it’s really quite amazing.
A 1975 article in Prevention magazine described the results of an experiment with rats. The 1st group was given a basic diet fortified with 11 vitamins, the 2nd group the same with the addition of supplemental vitamin B complex and the 3rd, just the regular diet plus 10% of their ration as powdered liver:
“After several weeks, the animals were placed one by one into a drum of cold water from which they could not climb out. They literally were forced to sink or swim. Rats in the first group swam for an average 13.3 minutes before giving up. The second group, which had the added fortifications of B vitamins, swam for an average of 13.4 minutes. Of the last group of rats, the ones receiving liver, three swam for 63, 83 and 87 minutes. The other nine rats in this group were still swimming vigorously at the end of two hours when the test was terminated. Something in the liver had prevented them from becoming exhausted. To this day scientists have not been able to pin a label on this anti-fatigue factor.”
6. Thyme and Rosemary
These two seemingly ordinary herbs have what are considered by many to be a very surprising array of health benefits. They’ve regularly been used since ancient times for their efficacy.
We’ll start with thyme. First, it has remarkable anti-viral, bactericidal, fungicidal, antibiotic, diuretic, antispasmodic, expectorant and antiseptic properties. In addition it helps the body eliminate toxins and boosts the immune system. It does this by supporting the formation of white blood cells thereby increasing resistance to common infections.
Rosemary is a vasodilator and as such increases blood circulation and also has a long history of helping to improve cognitive performance. It’s also a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. It helps detoxify the liver, reduces stress and cortisol levels. On top of all that these herbs are one of the main contributors to making your chicken liver pate incredibly delicious!
7. It’s Full of Minerals
Minerals are an often overlooked but critical component to our diets but are increasingly difficult to get from food alone because of depleted soil. Liver however, is a great source of some of those hard to get minerals with all the co-factors needed for proper absorption and assimilation.
Most notably, a 4oz serving provides 25% of your daily recommended intake of Copper and Zinc, 67% of Iron and 118% of Selenium!
Selenium fights inflammation, helps regulate circadian rhythm, has anti-aging properties, is critical for proper thyroid function, boosts immunity, helps reduce asthma symptoms and can help boost fertility!
Zinc is another mineral worth looking at here because zinc deficiency is extremely common because again, it’s really hard to get from food unless you’re eating oysters every day. Zinc also increases immunity (that’s why taking zinc when you have cold is a common remedy) and helps boost fertility. It also plays a key role in balancing hormones and hormone production which is huge. It increases testosterone naturally in men and is needed for the production of estrogen and progesterone in women.
It’s no wonder it’s prized by indigenous people groups as a sacred food!
Have you ever eaten organ meat?
If you haven’t, give it a try! The chicken liver pate recipe I provided is truly the best way to introduce this invaluable super food into your family’s diet. Have an organ recipe that you already love? Please share it in the comments!