An image of raw chicken liver on a cutting board next to a plate of cooked chicken liver with vegetables and bread, with the text ‘Is Chicken Liver Healthy?’ and a link to a blog post with recipes.

Is Chicken Liver Healthy? Is It Superfood? Benefits & Risks

Chicken liver is a healthy food that can provide many benefits. It is one of the most nutrient-dense foods. It’s high in protein, keto friendly, good for weight loss, and rich in many essential nutrients. 

However, it is not a superfood, and it has some potential risks and side effects. Therefore, you should eat it in moderation, and balance it with other foods that are low in vitamin A, cholesterol, and carbs.

Let’s start with the chicken liver health benefits and then we will go through the potential risks of eating chicken liver.

An image of raw chicken liver on a cutting board next to a plate of cooked chicken liver with vegetables and bread, with the text ‘Is Chicken Liver Healthy?’ and a link to a blog post with recipes.
Is Chicken Liver Healthy

Chicken Liver Health Benefits

Despite its potential risks and side effects, chicken liver has many health benefits that can outweigh its drawbacks if eaten in moderation and balanced with other foods. 

How can chicken liver help your health? Here are the nutrients it has and their health effects.

A comparison chart showing the nutrient content in chicken liver and chicken breast per 450g/1lb; chicken liver is notably higher in vitamins and minerals.
Chicken Liver Nutrients Table

Source of Protein

Chicken liver is an excellent source of protein, which is the building block of muscles, tissues, and organs. Protein can also help you feel full, boost your metabolism, and promote weight loss. Chicken liver provides a high-quality protein that contains all the essential amino acids that your body cannot make on its own.

This muscle meat is 73% protein by calories. 100 grams of chicken liver contains 116 calories, 85 of which come directly from protein.

The quality of chicken liver protein is also impressive. It’s a complete protein that’s especially rich in the antiviral, anti-inflammatory amino acid lysine.

Rich in Many Vitamins

Chicken liver is rich in many fat-soluble vitamins, especially vitamin A, B vitamins, and vitamin C. Vitamin A is important for vision, skin health, and reproductive health. B vitamins are essential for energy production, red blood cell formation, brain function, and nervous system health. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can protect your cells from damage, support your immune system, and enhance your wound healing.

Source of Iron

Chicken liver is a good source of iron, which is an important mineral that carries oxygen in your blood and prevents anemia. Iron deficiency is a common condition that can cause fatigue, weakness, pale skin, and increased susceptibility to infections. Chicken liver can help you meet your daily iron needs and prevent iron deficiency.

I was very anemic as a child, and my doctor always recommended eating chicken liver. It did help a lot, to be honest.

Iron is an essential mineral that helps our bodies stay oxygenated. If you don’t eat enough iron-rich foods, you risk becoming anemic. Common symptoms of anemia include fatigue, shortness of breath, cold extremities, and headaches. Women are especially susceptible to developing anemia since menstruation, pregnancy, and childbirth all increase iron demands.

Source of Zinc

Chicken liver is a good source of zinc, which is another important mineral that supports your immune system, wound healing, and taste and smell senses. Zinc deficiency can impair your immune function, increase your risk of infections, and affect your growth and development. Chicken liver can help you meet your daily zinc needs and prevent zinc deficiency.

Source of Copper

Chicken liver is a good source of copper, which is a trace element that is involved in many enzymatic reactions in your body. Copper is important for iron metabolism, energy production, antioxidant defense, and connective tissue formation. Copper deficiency can cause anemia, low white blood cell count, bone loss, and nerve damage. Chicken liver can help you meet your daily copper needs and prevent copper deficiency.

Source of B Vitamins

Chicken Liver Is Loaded with B Vitamins. If we had to choose a single metric to best highlight chicken liver’s nutritional value, we’d probably point to its vitamin B content.

Chicken liver on a wooden board shaped like a heart, with a caption asking “Is Chicken Liver Healthy?” and a URL to a website with chicken liver recipes.
Is Chicken Liver Healthy

Chicken liver is rich in some of the most important B vitamins. This quality makes it helpful to pregnant mothers, growing children, and anyone else who needs an extra boost of pro-metabolic energy.

Source of Vitamin A

Chicken Liver Is Packed with Vitamin A. Chicken liver is high in vitamin A and it helps to improve the health of our eyes, skin, hair, and nails. That’s because vitamin A plays a vital role in cellular turnover in your eyes and skin cells. It’s also a vital precursor (building block) for important eye pigments like rhodopsin.

Many people notice clearer skin, stronger hair, and better night vision once they incorporate chicken liver or beef liver into their diets.

Chicken liver’s ultra-high vitamin A content is also the primary reason why it shouldn’t be eaten too often. Vitamin A becomes damaging when your body has too little or too much, so consider eating liver just once a week.

Chicken livers on a wooden board shaped like a heart, showing their dark brown hue and smooth surface.
Chicken Liver Health Risks

Contains Selenium

Chicken Liver Contains Selenium, a Pro-Thyroid Mineral. 100 grams of chicken liver contains over 100% of your recommended daily value for selenium.

As a pro-thyroid, pro-immunity mineral, selenium may have an added layer of importance in modern times. 

Selenium is also a vital component of endogenously produced proteins called selenoproteins. These special proteins handle everything from reproductive health to DNA synthesis.

Provides Choline

Chicken Liver Provides Choline, a Brain-Boosting Nutrient. Another health benefit of chicken liver is that it provides choline, a nutrient that supports brain health and cognitive function. Choline is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, the maintenance of cell membranes, and the prevention of fatty liver disease.

Choline is especially important for pregnant and breastfeeding women, as it supports the development of the baby’s brain and nervous system. However, most people do not get enough choline from their diet, and chicken liver is one of the best sources of this nutrient. One serving of chicken liver can provide more than 100% of the recommended daily intake of choline.

Potential Risk of Eating Chicken Liver

Chicken liver is a nutritious food, but it is not without its drawbacks. Eating too much chicken liver can have some negative effects on your health.

Vitamin A Toxicity

Chicken liver is very high in vitamin A, which is a fat-soluble vitamin that can accumulate in your liver and other tissues. While vitamin A is essential for many functions, such as vision, skin health, and reproductive health, too much vitamin A can be toxic and cause symptoms such as nausea, headache, dizziness, blurred vision, skin problems, bone pain, and liver damage. 

In severe cases, vitamin A toxicity can lead to coma and death. Pregnant women should be especially careful, as too much vitamin A can cause birth defects in their babies. 

Therefore, you should limit your chicken liver intake to no more than once or twice a week, and avoid eating other foods that are high in vitamin A, such as cod liver, egg yolks, and dairy products, on the same day.

High Cholesterol

Chicken liver is also high in cholesterol, which is a type of fat that is found in animal products and is also produced by your liver. Cholesterol is essential for many functions, such as hormone production, cell membrane formation, and vitamin D synthesis.

However, too much cholesterol in your blood can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, such as heart attack and stroke. 

The American Heart Association recommends limiting your dietary cholesterol intake to no more than 300 mg per day for healthy adults, and no more than 200 mg per day for those with high blood cholesterol or heart disease.

100 grams of cooked chicken liver contains about 564 mg of cholesterol, which is almost twice the daily limit for healthy adults, and almost three times the daily limit for those with heart problems. This means that eating chicken liver can raise your blood cholesterol levels and affect your heart health. 

Therefore, you should limit your chicken liver intake to no more than once or twice a week, and avoid eating other foods that are high in cholesterol, such as red meat, cheese, and butter, on the same day.

How Many Calories Are in 100 Grams of Chicken Liver?

As mentioned above, 100 grams of cooked chicken liver has 167 calories, according to the USDA. However, the calorie content may vary depending on how you cook and season your chicken liver. For example, if you fry your chicken liver in oil or butter, you will add more calories and fat to your dish. If you add cream cheese, lemon juice, or other sauces, you will also increase the calorie and carb count. 

Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the ingredients and methods you use to prepare your chicken liver.

Chicken livers on a wooden board shaped like a heart, showing their dark brown hue and smooth surface.
Is Chicken Liver Healthy

Is Chicken Liver Good for Weight Loss?

The answer is yes, chicken liver can help you lose weight. Chicken liver is a high-quality protein source. It provides all the essential amino acids that your body needs to build and repair muscles, tissues, and organs. 

Protein is also the most satiating macronutrient. It can keep you full for longer and reduce your appetite and cravings. 

Studies have shown that eating a high-protein diet can boost your metabolism, increase your fat burning, and promote weight loss.

Chicken liver is also low in calories compared to other animal products. 100 grams of cooked chicken liver has only 167 calories, while the same amount of chicken breast has 197 calories, and red meat has 250 calories or more. 

Is Chicken Liver Keto Friendly?

The answer is yes, chicken liver is keto friendly. Chicken liver is an organ meat. It is very low in carbs and high in protein and fat. 

According to the USDA, 100 grams of cooked chicken liver contains only 2.7 grams of carbs, 24.5 grams of protein, and 6.4 grams of fat. This makes it a great choice for keto dieters who need to limit their carb intake and increase their fat and protein intake.

Chicken liver is also rich in many essential nutrients that are often lacking in a keto diet, such as vitamin B12, folate, iron, zinc, and copper. These nutrients are vital for energy production, red blood cell formation, immune function, brain health, and more.

Chicken liver can help you meet your daily requirements of these nutrients without adding too many carbs to your diet.

Keto Chicken Liver – My Grandma’s Recipe Made Keto Recipe

A plate of keto chicken liver, garnished with herbs, accompanied by a fork and knife, and a bowl of sauce on a marble surface.
Keto Chicken Liver

How Much Chicken Liver Should You Eat?

The recommended daily intake of vitamin A for adults is 900 micrograms (mcg) for men and 700 mcg for women. 100 grams of cooked chicken liver contains about 6348 mcg of vitamin A, which is more than 700% of the daily value. 

This means that eating just one serving of chicken liver can exceed your vitamin A needs for the day, and eating more than that can put you at risk of vitamin A toxicity. Therefore, it is advisable to limit your chicken liver intake to no more than once or twice a week, and avoid eating other foods that are high in vitamin A, such as cod liver, egg yolks, and dairy products, on the same day.

Every week, I eat a different type of animal liver: chicken, beef, pork, or lamb. This way, I get the health benefits of each kind of liver.

Chicken Liver Recipes

I’m currently testing more chicken liver recipes and I will link them here as soon as I perfect them!

Conclusion

Chicken liver is a healthy food that can provide many benefits for your low-carb or keto diet. It is keto friendly, good for weight loss, and rich in many essential nutrients. 

However, it is not a superfood, and it has some potential risks and side effects. Therefore, you should eat it in moderation, and balance it with other foods that are low in vitamin A, cholesterol, and carbs. 

Chicken liver can be cooked and eaten in many different ways, depending on your preference and taste. Try some of our keto chicken liver recipes and enjoy this nutritious and delicious food.

Keto Dinner Recipes

More Keto Dessert Recipes

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