Would you eat liver to improve your fertility? We know that the thought may conjure up scenes from Silence of the Lambs, but the truth is that liver can not only be really delicious but also the ultimate fertility superfood.
Here we’ll break down the incredible benefits of liver for fertility and share 6 of our favourite recipes (that don’t involve fava beans or a nice chianti.)
Liver for fertility
There are many sperm superfoods out there – but liver may just be one of the best. It’s one of the most nutrient-dense foods we can eat and it’s full of vitamins and minerals that are essential for protecting and improving our fertility.
Protein is essential for both male and female fertility – and most men and women aren’t getting enough in their diet. Studies have suggested that a deficiency in dietary protein can lead to reduced sperm count and quality. Ideally, a man should be eating at least 60g of protein a day and for every 100g serving of liver, you’ll get around 20g of protein. Eating liver comes with additional benefits versus powering through the protein powder too.
Folate is one of the most important nutrients in reproduction. Not only is it important that women have enough folate to support early pregnancy and conception but folate also supports sperm health too. One study showed that men who consume high levels of folic acid through the foods they eat (over 700 mcg a day) actually lowered their risk of sperm abnormalities by up to 20%. Most meats are low in folate, but beef liver, however, is one of the most concentrated sources available, providing 215 mcg of folate per 3-ounce serving. Liver is also the ultimate B complex containing all B vitamins in abundance, particularly vitamin B12.
Vitamin A, Zinc and CoQ10
Liver is one of nature’s most concentrated sources of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is needed for mitochondria energy which drives both egg and sperm quality and function and is essential for spermatogenesis (aka sperm production). If that’s not enough liver is also a great source of zinc, choline and CoQ10 – which all help to support sperm quality and production! If you want to get these micronutrients through other means, find them and more in ExSeed’s Multi fertility supplement.
How to eat liver
Ok, have we done enough to convince you that liver should be part of your preconception plan? Great! Now you probably want a few recipes that make it easy to eat.
Liver can have quite a strong, bitter taste – which some people love and others hate. If you love it, then there are loads of ways to make liver the star of the show in your dish. If you’re not a fan – don’t panic, there are plenty of methods to hide liver amongst other meats in a dish, so you’ll barely notice it’s there.
Here are 6 of our favourite liver recipes:
When people suggest eating livers you initially might be grossed out, but you might not think twice about eating chicken liver pâté! Pâté is one of the easiest ways to introduce liver into your meal plan, but shop-bought ones are often full of saturated fats that can be bad news for sperm health. Making your own at home is easier than you think and this recipe uses less cream and more olive oil, so it’s better for your health and fertility.
If you’re not a fan of pâté and the idea of eating liver still isn’t appealing, having it chopped up or grated into a dish like Bolognese is an amazing way to trick your taste buds. This twist on a classic spag bol also includes plenty of vegetables – from tomatoes and carrots – which are all full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. If you want to make it even healthier you can go for whole-wheat spaghetti for healthier carbohydrates or a higher protein base like lentils, chickpeas or brown rice pasta.
With colder months coming, we love a Winter salad and this recipe combines the fertility-boosting power of livers with another sperm superfood – beetroot. Like liver, beetroot contains plenty of vitamins C and E and folate. These are all essential for healthy sperm. The best part about this recipe is that it’s ready in under 15 minutes – the perfect quick and healthy lunch during a busy workday.
This impressive recipe is pretty cheesy so we wouldn’t recommend having it on the daily – but it will definitely get you some MasterChef points at your next dinner party. The recipe uses veal or pork mince, but you can swap that for lean beef if you prefer, once the liver is mixed in with the meat you won’t even taste it. An added benefit of this dish is that aubergine also is rich in Zinc, which is great for sperm production.
Hold the Chinese Takeaway – this Asian-inspired chicken liver dish has got all the sweet and sour flavours you need. Livers are pretty front and centre in this recipe, so this might be one to build up to, but once you take the plunge you won’t regret it! Boost up the nutritional value by pairing it with cauliflower rice or courgette noodles, for a fertility-friendly takeaway your swimmers will love.
And if you like that recipe – definitely give this one a go. This Mexican-themed dish comes from Thomasina Miers (the founder of Wahaca) so you know it’s going to be good. Aside from livers this spicy recipe also contains natural inflammatory ingredients like capers and olives – which are great for reducing oxidative stress. We also love that it comes on toast, making it ideal for brunch or just a cosy comfort food option after a busy week at work.
Will you be adding any of these recipes to your preconception meal plan?