The Side Effect That Will Make You Want To Eat More Liver

While filming 2015's The Revenant, Leonardo DiCaprio shot for authenticity by feasting on raw bison liver instead of a jelly-based imitation. The actor recalled in a Variety interview, "The bad part is the membrane around it. It's like a balloon. When you bite into it, it bursts in your mouth." Worse, it could have been a burst of germs and parasites because eating raw meat leaves you more vulnerable to contracting E. coli, Salmonella, and other nastiness. Moreover, The Dail Meal points out that raw liver is particularly likely to harbor disease. But as DiCaprio told USA Today, "Pain is temporary, film is forever." A nice side effect of that pain was winning an Oscar.

The Revenant's relevance for everyday life is painfully obvious: eating liver can be agony, but it's more important to focus on the big picture. While you clearly shouldn't eat it raw since it could turn your body into an academy a-worms, you don't need to go to DiCaprio's extremes to find liver revolting. To quote Bon Appetit writer Chris Hall, "It's repulsive. It looks bad raw, it looks worse cooked, and it has a dreadful, mineral-y, bloody flavor that induces an immediate gag reflex." Worst of all, there's no Oscar for Best Cooked Liver Consumption.

Fortunately, improved health is its own reward, and liver can benefit your body greatly when eaten safely. One side effect, in particular, may make you eager to eat it like a ravenous DiCaprio biting bison organs.

Liver is offal-ly good for your metabolism

Healthline writes that the liver has been described as "nature's multivitamin." InformedHealth.org explains that among the organ's many anatomical tasks, it serves as a reservoir of vitamins and minerals for the body to tap into as needed. A 3.5-ounce portion of cooked beef liver delivers upwards of 520 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A, over 700 percent of your recommended copper intake, and roughly a third of your zinc and iron requirements. Meanwhile, 3 ounces of braised beef liver will provide about 5 percent of your daily vitamin D. But liver's best attribute may be its B vitamins.

For our purposes, "B" doesn't stand for "bison" but rather "burn," which B vitamins help your body do to calories by boosting your metabolism. There are 8 B vitamins in all. Seven are pivotal for generating energy from food. Eating 3.5 ounces of beef liver may give you 1,381 percent of your RDI of vitamin B12, 138 percent of vitamin B6, 87 percent of B3, and 201 percent of your B2, per Healthline.

You shouldn't eat way too much liver but not because this slab of offal tastes awful. The insanely high vitamin A levels can make it be toxic to eat too frequently (via Livestrong). You should limit consumption to three ounces at a time a few times a week. So even if you consider nature's multivitamin a tough pill to swallow, remember: The pain is temporary.