Is beef better than liver?

Dear Doctor,

My friend says it is safer to eat beef than liver. What makes eating liver risky, it at all it’s true? Michael

Dear Michael,

Beef provides iron, which maintains necessary amount of hemoglobin in the body. It supplies vitamin B12 which is necessary for good functioning of brain, strengthening nerves, preventing anemia and making D.N.A. It also gives zinc and potassium to the body, which are important for many metabolic processes and help in maintaining electrolyte balance.

Liver is a rich source of important nutrients including folate and vitamin B12. It is also rich in iron. Both these meats are also rich in antioxidants, which help in regeneration of damaged body cells. Liver can be from beef, pork or chicken, e.t.c. among the commonly consumed meats. But liver is the major detoxifying organ of the body. The general perception is that, since toxins are accumulated in liver, they can be passed on to the one consuming it. However toxins are not accumulated in a healthy liver as such. They are eliminated.

Both of these meats, supply calories to the body, which if not burnt contribute to obesity and its health hazards. They are known risk factors for enhancing cholesterol and promoting heart related problems. They are low in fiber, contributing to constipation and dyspepsia. Processed and smoked meat is a known risk factor for cancer. Though they supply antioxidants, fruits and vegetables surpass them in supplying anti oxidants. Undercooked or raw meat is a risk factor for many diseases like toxoplasmosis, tape worm infestation, e.t.c. Liver from a diseased animal can transmit disease producing viruses like hepatitis E. because these viruses live abundantly in liver, intestines and blood.

Hence it is good to consume these kinds of meat only in moderation. If possible, one should ensure that the meat is from a healthy animal.