Fall is here and with it, the start of cold and flu season. Your energy levels will also naturally decline as we move towards the shortest days of the year. But what can you do to improve your immunity and energy levels? Look no further than your dinner plate for the answer.
Organ meats, liver in particular, are one of the most nutrient dense foods you can eat. Period. Chicken liver is a terrific source of pre-formed vitamin A (11,000 IU per 3 ounces), which helps to boost your innate or first-line of defense immunity.
Chicken liver is also a great source of iron, providing half your daily allowance with just 100g (3.5oz) serving. Iron is essential for building hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in your blood, and maintaining ideal energy levels. This is especially important over the winter months when iron levels can be depleted from the inflammatory reactions that take place when battling colds and flus, or from intense training.
Liver is also a great source of B12 and folate that support better energy levels and help you get through busy days at work and home. Chicken liver contains all nine essential amino acids, is loaded with B-vitamins, and contains high amounts of choline which is critical to keep your mind sharp and productive.
So, why aren’t you eating chicken liver? The most common response is… the taste!
It’s time to give liver another chance. First, chicken liver is the ‘mildest’ tasting of the various liver sources (veal, pork, beef). So either throw it in with your hamburger or taco meat, or combine it with some of your favorite ingredients. Check out this fantastic recipe from Philippe Grand, Dt.P who presented at Own The Podium’s (OTP) SPort INnovation (SPIN) Summit earlier this week, which brings together Canada’s Olympic team of sports medicine doctors, physiologists, trainers and nutritionists.
Prosciutto, pear and balsamic vinegar chicken liver (4 portions)
10 + 15ml Olive Oil
1 onion, chopped
100mg (4 slices) Prosciutto, cut into 1cm squares
45ml all-purpose gluten-free flour (or regular flour)
2.5ml ground pepper
400g chicken liver, cleaned, cut into 3 to 4cm pieces
1 Bartlett pear, cut into cubes
30ml balsamic vinegar
1. In a large non-stick skillet, add olive oil (10ml), onion, and prosciutto over medium/high heat, until the onion is golden
2. In a bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Add pieces of liver and with a spoon, mix together until pieces are covered with flour.
3. In a pan, move the onions and prosciutto aside and add the 2nd serving of oliveoil (15ml).
4. Fry the chicken liver pieces for 4-5 minutes until they are golden brown on all sides.
5. Add the pear cubes and balsamic vinegar. Mix and let the vinegar caramelize.
Nutrition Facts: 293 calories, 25g protein, 18g carbs, 14g fats, and 10mg iron.
There you have it! Stay clear of colds and flus and keep your energy levels up this fall.
Dr. Marc Bubbs ND, CSCS
Ps. If you enjoyed this dish, check out these other great organ meat recipes...