As human beings, we all need various essential nutrients in order for our bodies to function optimally. Whilst the human body is fascinating and a medical marvel, it can’t do everything. As such, it can’t produce these essential nutrients, so we need to find food sources that do contain them, and consume them.
Essential nutrients are divided into micronutrients – those that we only need in small doses, including various vitamins and minerals – and macronutrients – those that we need in larger quantities, such as carbohydrates, protein, fats and water.
If you choose to follow certain diets, you may find you become deficient in some of the essential nutrients, so you may need to turn to supplements to top up your levels. If, however, you’re not bothered by the foods you consume, then nutritionist Ryan Carter has an important and rather handy message for you.
Taking to Instagram, Ryan says we can obtain 95 per cent of the essential nutrients our body needs, simply by eating liver (or an array of animal organs) and oysters (along with other shellfish) twice per week. He adds a disclaimer to his message, stating “just eating these 2 foods, twice per week doesn’t give you a free pass to consume everything and anything in sight!”
There is something to Ryan’s claims. Healthline states that liver can practically be described as a ‘superfood’ (no wonder fitness obsessed figures such as Liver King and Joe Rogan choose to add them to their diet). Healthline explains liver is “rich in protein, low in calories and packed with essential vitamins and minerals.”
Take a peek at how Liver King eats by watching the video below.
To put some context into all of this, a 100-gram serving of beef liver containing 3,460% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin B12. For the uninitiated, Medical News Today explains Vitamin B12 “is needed for nerve tissue health, brain function, and the production of red blood cells.” Put simply, it’s essential.
Liver is also a great source of high-quality protein. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking only gym junkies need to consume as much protein as possible, as it performs the vital functions of making and repairing cells, as well as turning the food we consume into energy. Contrary to what you might think, Healthline adds “a high protein intake has been shown to help with weight loss, as it reduces hunger and appetite.”
While liver may be put on the pedestal as the king of animal organs we should consume, other organs such as tongue, kidneys and even testicles (another favourite of the Liver King) are also packed full of essential nutrients.
Aside from the fact that the idea of consuming the organs of an animal can seem a bit icky, many also believe the naturally-high cholesterol levels should be cause for concern. But, this is where the human body presents one of its party pieces. Your liver regulates cholesterol production, and so if you consume foods high in cholesterol, your own liver simply responds by producing less.
As for oysters and other shellfish, they too are packed with nutritious content. Turning to Healthline once again, a 100-gram serving of wild eastern oysters contains 324% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin B12, along with plenty of zinc, copper and iron. Oysters are also a perfect source of omega-3 fatty acids, which work to keep your heart and brain healthy.
Other shellfish, including shrimp, crab, clams, scallops, mussels and lobster are all brimming with protein too, and contain very little fat or calories, making them easy to add to your diet.
But, as Ryan says, you can’t simply rely on these two food groups alone to keep you healthy and think that you can have free reign to eat whatever you want the rest of the time (unless you’re a fitness junkie who likes to mimic The Rock’s cheat day message). Even then, you should only limit your high-calorie consumption to just one day, especially if your goal is to lose fat.
So, if you can get over your innate thoughts that eating organs is a bit gross, try adding them to your diet (in moderation, lest you begin to sh*t yourself as has happened to some people who have tried a carnivore diet) and notice how much better you feel.