Beef liver is a rich source of nutrients and has numerous potential health benefits. However, it is also high in cholesterol and should be eaten in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
One of the most impressive things about beef liver is its high nutrient density. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of cooked beef liver contains the following:
- Vitamin A: 6,582 IU (131% of the Daily Value, or DV)
- Vitamin B12: 99.9 mcg (1,665% DV)
- Folate: 145 mcg (36% DV)
- Iron: 5.2 mg (29% DV)
- Copper: 1.9 mg (97% DV)
- Zinc: 5.5 mg (50% DV)
- Riboflavin: 3.5 mg (206% DV)
- Niacin: 17.2 mg (86% DV)
- Phosphorus: 361 mg (36% DV)
Beef liver is also a good source of other vitamins and minerals, including choline, selenium, and pantothenic acid.
One of the primary benefits of consuming beef liver is its high vitamin A content. Vitamin A is important for vision, immune function, and skin health. It can also help to maintain the integrity of the mucous membranes that line the respiratory, digestive, and reproductive tracts.
Vitamin B12 is another nutrient found in high concentrations in beef liver. This vitamin is essential for the proper function of the brain and nervous system, as well as the production of red blood cells. It is also necessary for the metabolism of fats and proteins.
Folate, or vitamin B9, is important for the proper development of the brain and nervous system in infants. It is also necessary for DNA synthesis and the production of red blood cells.
Iron is an essential nutrient that is necessary for the production of red blood cells and the transport of oxygen in the body. A deficiency in iron can lead to anemia, which is characterized by fatigue, weakness, and pale skin.
Copper is a trace element that is necessary for the proper functioning of enzymes in the body. It is also involved in the absorption and utilization of iron.
Zinc is another trace element that is necessary for a wide range of bodily functions, including the immune system, wound healing, taste, smell, and vision. It is also important for the synthesis of protein and DNA.
Riboflavin, or vitamin B2, is necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. It is also important for the maintenance of healthy skin and the production of red blood cells.
Niacin, or vitamin B3, is necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. It is also important for the function of the nervous system and the production of hormones.
Phosphorus is a mineral that is necessary for the formation of strong bones and teeth. It is also important for the production of ATP, the body’s primary source of energy.
While beef liver is a rich source of nutrients, it is also high in cholesterol. A 3.5-ounce serving of cooked beef liver contains approximately 370 milligrams of cholesterol, which is more than half of the recommended daily intake of 300 milligrams.
Eating too much cholesterol can lead to an increase in LDL cholesterol, which is the “bad” cholesterol that can contribute to the development of heart disease. Therefore, it is important to consume beef liver in moderation and to balance it with other protein sources that are lower in cholesterol.