What does liver have to do with fertility? Well it’s funny you ask.
Liver is nature’s multivitamin. It contains significant concentrations of many key nutrients including pre-formed vitamin A, iron, copper, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin K, vitamin D, calcium, and zinc, just to mention a few. When consuming liver it is important to find a local source that raises the animals in a humane way without the use of hormones or antibiotics.
- Vitamin A plays an essential role in embryonic and fetal development. Studies have shown that a deficiency in vitamin A can lead to congenital abnormalities or miscarriage  . Liver provides vitamin A in the form of retinol which the body can utilize readily without having to convert it into the usable form.
- Iron is present in all cells in the body and has several functions including carrying oxygen from the lungs to the tissues  , and ensuring proper brain growth and development of the fetus during pregnancy  . During pregnancy, a woman’s iron requirements increase three-fold, and iron deficiency in infants can lead to slower growth and development .
- Most people have heard by now that folate is essential for proper fetal development. Without sufficient folate babies may be born with serious neural tube defects such as anencephaly and spina bifida .
- Similarly to a folate deficiency, a Vitamin B12 deficiency is also linked to severe birth defects. As outlined in this article from WebMD, Vitamin B12 is essential for the functioning of the nervous system and for the production of red blood cells .
Although liver is not the only possible source of these essential nutrients, it’s certainly an excellent place to start. Liver and other organ meats contain anywhere from 10 to 100 times the nutrients when compared to other muscle meats . It should go without saying that the body is better able to absorb and utilize nutrients when they come from food when compared to nutritional supplements that are synthesized in a lab.
That brings me to my easy Liver Paté recipe:
What you’ll need
8-12 oz of beef, lamb, or chicken liver
3/4 cup butter
1 medium sized onion, chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
3-4 sprigs fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp chives (fresh if possible)
1/2 tsp fresh parsley (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1 tsp curry
1/2 tsp ground cloves
salt and pepper to taste
Rinse liver in water with a splash of vinegar, and season with salt, pepper, curry and cloves. Marinate for 1-2 hours or overnight (optional). Melt 1/2 cup butter in skillet, add onions and garlic and sauté on low heat for only 2-3 min. Add liver and simmer on low heat until first side starts to brown (about 5-7 min). Turn and simmer second side on low heat until cooked (about 4-6 min). Liver may retain a pink-ish hew even after it is fully cooked. Over-cooked liver is extremely tough and grainy, so keep an eye on it. Cut through the thicker parts to check if it is finished cooking, or use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature ( 165 degrees F means it’s done).
Side note: Whenever possible I cook with fresh herbs, and to maintain their freshness I add them to the mixture once the liver is finished cooking when it’s time to puree.
After the liver has cooked it’s time to puree! Using either a food processor, or my personal favorite, the nutribullet (yep you heard right and it works amazing!), Pour all of the contents from the skillet right into the mixer. Add fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, parsley, chives), and the remaining 1/4 cup of butter. Then puree. Place in the container of your choice and allow to cool before putting in the refrigerator. Once cool, place in the refrigerator and chill over night. The flavour gets better after the pate has chilled for a day or two. Enjoy!
If you try this recipe I’d love to hear how it goes! Please leave a comment below.
1. Vitamin A and Embryonic Development: An Overview http://jn.nutrition.org/content/128/2/455S.short
2. Function of Vitamin A in Vertebrate Embryonic Development http://jn.nutrition.org/content/131/3/705.short
3. Wikipedia – Iron Deficiency http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_deficiency
4. Hemoglobin and Functions of Iron http://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/hemoglobin_and_functions_of_iron/
5. Effects of Iron Deficiency Anemia in Pregnancy in Child Mental Development in Rural China http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/131/3/e755.full
6. Iron Deficiency Pre-Conception and in Early Pregnancy Harms Developing Brain http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/219927.php
7. Folate and neural tube defects http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17209211
8. Birth Defects linked to low vitamin B12 http://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20090302/birth-defects-linked-to-low-vitamin-b12
9. Chris Kresser – Liver: Nature’s most potent Superfood http://chriskresser.com/natures-most-potent-superfood