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Animal meats are the easiest and richest source of protein. It contains all essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins not made in the human body.
In addition, studies have found animal protein to be better than plant protein when it comes to supporting muscle mass in the body. (1)
Among the sources of animal proteins, organ meat is hugely understated. Since it is a part of the animal that is less preferred than the flesh itself, it is often a cheaper source of good-quality protein.
Moreover, organ meat is a site of many vital nutrients, and its consumption can benefit health in a variety of ways. (2)
Chicken livers are indeed healthy to eat.
Nutritional Profile of Chicken Liver
Chicken liver offers a variety of nutrients. (3) Just 100 g of cooked chicken liver provides 24 g of protein and a whopping 3981 mcg of vitamin A. It also provides:
- 24% of the daily requirement of vitamin B1
- 153% of the daily requirement of vitamin B2
- 69% of the daily requirement of vitamin B3
- 133% of the daily requirement of vitamin B5
- 44% of the daily requirement of vitamin B6
- 702% of the daily requirement of vitamin B12
- 144% of the daily requirement of vitamin B9 (folate)
It is also one of those rare animal sources that contain vitamin C (31% of daily requirements).
Chicken liver also fulfills:
- 56% of the daily requirement of copper
- 65% of the daily requirement of iron
- 16% of the daily requirement of manganese
- 32% of the daily requirement of phosphorus
- 150% of the daily requirement of selenium
- 36% of the daily requirement of zinc
Health Benefits of Chicken Liver
Here are some health-promoting benefits of consuming chicken liver.
1. Supports eye health
Vitamin A is an essential nutrient involved mainly in improving eye health and maintaining healthy vision. A deficiency of vitamin A results in temporary visual impairment that is often reversed with its supplementation. (4)
Therefore, chicken liver, with its rich reserve of vitamin A, can be a useful solution to keeping your eyes healthy and preventing the development of any visual problems.
2. Aids in the management of anemia
Anemia is one of the most common and widespread deficiencies affecting young girls and women of reproductive age. It results from deficiencies of vitamin B9 (folate) and iron, resulting in low red blood cells (RBCs) in the body.
Since RBCs are involved in transporting oxygen to all the cells of the body, a deficiency results in weakness, fatigue, dizziness, restless legs, shortness of breath, cold limbs, pale skin, irregular heartbeat, and even low blood pressure. (5)
Supplementing the diet with iron and folic acid is the first management strategy for beating anemia.
However, studies have found supplementation (with medication) was found to also lower the levels of zinc, calcium, and magnesium in women of reproductive age. In such a case, consuming natural sources of the same nutrients, such as chicken liver may prove to be an effective way to naturally combat anemia. (6)
3. May benefit thyroid function
Hypothyroidism has become a common problem nowadays. It is due to the impaired functioning of the thyroid gland, resulting in thyroid hormone deficiency. It causes weakness, weight gain, lowered metabolism, and cold and hot flashes. (7)
Though lack of iodine is implicated in the development of hypothyroidism, selenium deficiency is also a major contributor to lower thyroid function. (8)
Since selenium is a trace mineral, it is present in few foods. Chicken liver is a rich source of selenium and thus can help fight against selenium deficiency and improve thyroid function.
How to Consume and Precautions
Chicken liver is not as palatable as chicken breast, wings, or thighs. For this reason, cooking it with proper spices, a combination of onion and other aromatics such as ginger, garlic, or herbs, or other meats such as chicken breast can make it easier to consume.
We recommend a few precautions in the consumption of chicken liver:
- Since it is sourced from an animal, it is likely to be contaminated with bacteria that may cause food poisoning if eaten raw. For this reason, cook it well for at least 5–10 minutes to make it safe for eating. (9)
- Chicken liver is a dense source of nutrients and should not be consumed daily. Including it in your diet 2–3 times a week should be enough to reap its benefits.
- Children (under the age of 15) have a lower requirement of nutrients and regular rich sources such as chicken liver should be avoided. A small piece can be given once a week.
Most-Asked Questions About Consuming Chicken Liver
Is vitamin C lost in chicken liver while cooking?
Most of the vitamin C will be lost due to vitamin C’s nature of being sensitive to heat.
Can eating large amounts of liver lead to vitamin A toxicity?
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means the excess amount is not removed from the body via urine. As such, vitamin A toxicity or hypervitaminosis can occur from eating large amounts of liver on a daily basis. (10)
For this reason, it is necessary to limit the consumption of liver – 100 g at a time, 1–2 times a week at most.
Does eating chicken liver lead to clear skin or does it aggravate pimples?
Some people report a reduction in the occurrence of their acne due to eating chicken liver. This is because it contains nutrients including vitamin A, B complex vitamins, and zinc – all of which are important for skin health and can control oil production, thus reducing pimples and acne. (11)
- Chicken liver is an affordable source of protein, and it contains high concentrations of many nutrients.
- It can help maintain healthy eyes, fight anemia, and improve thyroid function.
- Raw chicken liver may be contaminated with bacteria and should be cooked before eating.
- Daily consumption of chicken liver is not recommended. Children should only be given 1 small piece each week.