Chicken liver can enhance the nutritional quality of your diet, as long as it's consumed in moderation. Find chicken liver fresh or frozen in the meat section of your grocery store. Although high in cholesterol, chicken liver offers a lot of other vitamins and minerals that make it a food worth adding to an occasional meal.
Calories and Macronutrients
A 3.5-ounce serving of pan-fried chicken liver contains 119 calories and 17 grams of protein -- a nutrient important for healthy muscles, as well as a strong immune system. Chicken liver contains just trace amounts of carbohydrates, making it an appropriate food for low-carbohydrate diets. Of the 5 grams of fat in a serving of chicken liver, 2 grams are saturated.
Chicken liver contains a significant amount of several B vitamins, which help you convert food into energy. A 3.5-oz. serving offers 276 percent of the daily value -- an intake guideline -- for vitamin B12, 147 percent for folate, 105 percent for riboflavin, 49 percent for niacin, 62 percent for pantothenic acid, 43 percent for vitamin B6 and 20 percent for thiamin, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Chicken liver also provides 2 percent of the RDA for vitamin E and 30 percent for vitamin C.
Chicken liver is known for being high in iron, with 3.5 ounces offering 50 percent of the DV. It offers 78 percent of the DV for selenium, a trace mineral that acts as an antioxidant to fight disease-causing free radicals in the body. This serving also provides 30 percent for phosphorus, 18 percent for zinc and 25 percent for copper.
Chicken liver is a source of choline, an essential nutrient intrinsic to cell functioning, brain and nerve activity, liver metabolism and nutrient transportation. The Institute of Medicine recommends most adult women consume at least 425 milligrams of choline daily and men, 550 milligrams. A 3.5-ounce serving of chicken liver provides 294 milligrams of the nutrient -- just shy of half of a day’s worth. The iron in chicken liver is valuable as it is readily absorbed by the body, making it a good food to add to the diets of people with pernicious anemia.
Although chicken liver has many nutritional virtues, it does contain a very high amount of dietary cholesterol. A 3.5-ounce serving contains 564 milligrams of cholesterol -- almost two times the daily limit recommended by the American Heart Association. If your doctor has diagnosed you with high cholesterol or you take cholesterol-lowering medication, consult your doctor before consuming chicken liver regularly.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.