What is Beef Liver Good For? A Complete Guide to the Health Benefits of Eating Beef Liver

Beef liver is an incredibly nutritious food that provides many health benefits. This complete guide will explain what beef liver is, why it’s good for you, and how to include it in your diet.

What is Beef Liver?

Beef liver is an organ meat that comes from cows. It is the largest internal organ in a cow’s body. The liver has many essential functions – it filters toxins from the blood, aids digestion by producing bile, and synthesizes important proteins and vitamins.

Since the liver performs so many vital jobs, it needs to be loaded with nutrients. This makes beef liver one of the most densely nutritious foods available. It contains high levels of protein, vitamins, and minerals, while being low in calories and fat.

Nutritional Profile of Beef Liver

Here is the nutritional breakdown for a 3 ounce serving of beef liver:

  • Calories: 175
  • Protein: 27g
  • Fat: 5g
  • Cholesterol: 437mg
  • Carbohydrates: 3g
  • Iron: 10mg (53% DV)
  • Vitamin A: 10,957mcg RAE (1210% DV)
  • Vitamin B12: 105mcg (4,375% DV)
  • Copper: 10mg (1,111% DV)
  • Riboflavin: 4mg (308% DV)
  • Niacin: 16mg NE (100% DV)
  • Folate: 282mcg DFE (71% DV)

As you can see, beef liver contains high amounts of protein, vitamin A, vitamin B12, copper, riboflavin, niacin, and folate. It also has decent levels of iron.

Let’s take a closer look at why these nutrients are so important for health:

Benefits of Eating Beef Liver

1. High in Iron

Beef liver is one of the richest sources of iron you can eat. A 3 ounce serving provides over half of the recommended daily intake.

Iron is a mineral that is essential for producing hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in your blood. It also supports immunity, brain function, and muscle and cell growth.

Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies worldwide, affecting up to 80% of people in developing countries and 10% of people in developed countries. Eating liver is an effective way to increase iron intake and prevent deficiency.

2. Excellent Source of Vitamin A

Beef liver contains extremely high amounts of vitamin A, providing over 1200% of the recommended daily intake in just 3 ounces.

Vitamin A has many vital roles in the body – it supports skin health, immune function, vision, reproduction, and antioxidant activity. It also helps regulate cell growth and division.

Consuming adequate vitamin A from foods like beef liver has been linked to a reduced risk of certain cancers and eye diseases like macular degeneration.

3. High in Vitamin B12

Beef liver is one of the most concentrated sources of vitamin B12 available. A 3 ounce portion contains over 4000% of the RDI.

Vitamin B12 helps form red blood cells, maintain nervous system function, and support DNA production. Low levels of B12 can cause anemia, fatigue, weakness, and neurological problems.

As a rich source of vitamin B12, eating beef liver can help prevent deficiency, especially in people who don’t eat meat, vegans/vegetarians, and the elderly.

4. Provides Copper

Beef liver is extremely high in copper, with a 3 ounce serving providing 1111% of the RDI.

Copper is an essential mineral that is required for energy production, nerve function, collagen production, and antioxidant defenses. It also helps with iron absorption.

While copper deficiency is quite rare, many people don’t get enough copper in their diets. Eating beef liver can help you easily meet your copper needs.

5. Contains Other B Vitamins

In addition to vitamin B12, beef liver provides large amounts of other beneficial B vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, and folate.

These B vitamins are necessary for many vital bodily functions like turning nutrients into energy, building DNA, supporting brain health, and maintaining healthy blood cells.

6. High in Protein

Protein makes up about 80% of the calories in beef liver. A 3 ounce serving packs 27 grams of protein.

Protein is incredibly important for building muscle mass, supporting weight loss, strengthening bones, keeping skin and hair healthy, boosting immunity, and keeping you feeling full between meals.

7. Low in Calories

Despite being nutritionally dense, beef liver is very low in calories with only 175 calories in a 3 ounce portion.

This makes it an excellent choice if you are trying to lose weight or reduce calorie intake. Replacing less healthy high calorie foods with beef liver is an easy way to boost your nutrient intake without increasing total calories.

Potential Concerns with Eating Beef Liver

While beef liver is very nutritious, there are a few potential concerns with eating large amounts:

  • High in Vitamin A – Excessive intake of preformed vitamin A from animal sources like beef liver may cause vitamin A toxicity. Stick to 1-2 servings per week and be cautious if you are pregnant or trying to conceive.

  • High in Cholesterol – Beef liver is high in cholesterol, with 437mg in one serving. Limit intake to once a week if you have high cholesterol or heart health concerns.

  • High in Purines – People with gout may want to limit liver intake as it contains moderate levels of purines.

  • Contains Copper – If you have Wilson’s disease, a condition where copper builds up in tissues, you’ll need to avoid beef liver completely.

As long as you eat beef liver in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet, it can be safely enjoyed by most people. Those with liver or kidney disease should check with their doctor first.

How to Include Beef Liver in Your Diet

Here are some tips for enjoying beef liver:

  • Saute sliced liver in olive oil with onions, garlic, and bacon.

  • Make paté by blending cooked liver with butter or oil. Spread on crackers or toast points.

  • Add finely chopped liver to burgers, meatballs, or meatloaf.

  • Dip liver chunks in egg and bread crumbs then pan fry.

  • Make liver and onions – classic pan fried liver with caramelized onions.

  • Add liver to stews, chili, pasta sauces, or tacos.

  • Take desiccated beef liver tablets as a supplement if you don’t like the taste.

Aim for 1-2 servings of beef liver per week as part of a balanced diet for maximum health benefits without potential for toxicity. One serving is about 3 ounces or 75-100g.

Healthy Beef Liver Recipes

Here are some delicious recipes using beef liver:

Simple Pan Fried Liver with Onions


  • 1 lb beef liver, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Generously season liver slices with salt and pepper.
  2. Add liver slices to the skillet in a single layer. Cook for 3 minutes on each side until browned but still pink inside. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  3. Add onion slices to skillet. Saute for 5 minutes until softened.
  4. Return liver slices to pan and add thyme. Cook for 2-3 minutes until liver is cooked through.
  5. Serve liver and onions immediately, garnished with additional thyme.

Beef Liver Pâté


  • 1 lb beef liver, membranes removed
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Melt 2 tbsp butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
  2. Add liver and cook for 4-5 minutes, turning once, until lightly browned but still pink inside. Remove from heat.
  3. Transfer liver and onions to a food processor. Add remaining ingredients and puree until smooth.
  4. Transfer to ramekins or a storage container. Smooth top and cover with remaining butter.
  5. Chill pâté for at least 2 hours before serving with crackers or toast points.

Indian Spiced Beef Liver Curry


  • 1 lb beef liver, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro for garnish


  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add liver cubes and brown on all sides, about 2-3 minutes total. Remove liver and set aside.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add onions to the skillet. Cook for 5 minutes until starting to brown.
  3. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
  4. Stir in spices and cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Return liver to skillet along with tomatoes, broth, and salt. Simmer for 10 minutes until liver is cooked through.
  6. Serve curry garnished with cilantro over rice or with naan bread.


Beef liver is one of the most nutrient dense foods available. It provides high amounts of protein, vitamin A, vitamin B12, iron, copper and other essential vitamins and minerals.

Consuming beef liver 1-2 times per week can help prevent nutrient deficiencies, improve energy levels, support immune function, and provide many other health benefits.

Be sure to eat beef liver in moderation and pair it with plenty of fruits, vegetables and other whole foods as part of an overall balanced diet. Follow the preparation tips and recipe ideas in this guide to start enjoying this nutritional powerhouse.

Beef Liver Is The Most Nutritious Food – Dr. Berg


How often should you eat beef liver?

Even though liver is incredibly healthy and nutritious, it should not be consumed daily. Eating it once per week is enough. Bottom Line: Liver contains many essential nutrients.

How does beef liver make you feel?

Boosts Energy Levels The high B vitamin and iron content in beef liver supports energy production and combats fatigue. For instance, this organ meat is loaded with B12, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, niacin, folate, B6 and thiamine. Meanwhile, the iron is vital for oxygen transport and energy production.

Is beef liver good for high blood pressure?

Beef liver is loaded with micronutrients like these B vitamins: Folate (vitamin B9) for lower blood pressure and healthy fetal development during pregnancy. Thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2) and niacin (vitamin B3) for energy and cell function.

What are the side effects of beef liver supplements?

Some desiccated beef liver contains high amounts of copper. Excessive intake of this mineral may cause nausea and other gastrointestinal symptoms, liver damage, and mental decline in some people. See our Multivitamin and Multimineral Supplements Review for more details about copper.

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