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Liver and Onions - Moms Knew How Good it is for You, But Here's Something Maybe You Didn't Know!

Updated on August 23, 2013

That Yukky Yukky Liver and a Connection to Anxiety Attacks and Hyperventilation

When I was a kid, I hated it. My mother would make liver for we would all pick at it and when my parents weren't looking, maybe slip a couple pieces to our cock-a-poo dog, Columbus, waiting patiently under the table for his share. We knew HE loved liver! We really didn't know the health benefits of it then, but now, at 60 years, I am making

sure my daughter gets it at least once a month, because I love fixing it.

In my early twenties, after leaving home and making my way in the world, I began to suffer anxiety attacks. These were terrifying to me, I had no idea why I was having just didn't click in my brain. I was so busy working and living life

that it didn't dawn on me that once I had left home, I stopped eating all those foods, including liver, that were good for me. My mother would send me little care packages with vitamins and bottles of stuff she wanted me to drink..all high in iron.

Fast forwarding to after my children are grown and what do you know? My grown son is suffering from panic attacks,

which began sometime after he moved out into the world. So my attention is now to assisting my son in eating right and making sure (nag, nag, nag!) he is eating properly.

In order for me to do this, as my son is prone to really not listening, I needed some facts to present that would convince him that he really DID need to pay attention to his nutritional needs, and thanks to information made available so readily I found a very convincing study made recently that pretty much validates everything our mothers already knew, but there is a difference between constant nagging and, "Hey, son - here it is in writing!".

So, what I learned from my mother is that being fatigued, with low energy is a result of not eating the right foods with the right nutrients REGULARLY. Everyone knows that the group of vitamin B are taken to boost energy, but not everyone knows that there is a connection between these nutrients and panic attacks, chronic fatigue and hyperventilation.

(photo courtesy of Elise Bauer, of

Raw Liver and onions Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane at
Raw Liver and onions Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane at

That Energy Boost

I always feel so good after dinner

Did you ever notice that after eating a plate full of liver - be it beef, calf, or chicken, smothered in onions and maybe

with a side of broccoli, or spinach or just a great salad, piled with black olives and feta cheese..ok, so I am rambling here..

anyway, my point is..You get a burst of energy and a true feeling that you ate well.

That's because of what is in liver. It is packed with Iron and Vitamins your body needs.

The benefits are almost immediate.

Image courtesy of Apolonia at
Image courtesy of Apolonia at

So, just exactly how good IS it for you and what ARE the benefits?

Iron, B12 , Copper and SEROTONIN

Iron:: When I was old enough, my mother told me a story about me, to explain the reasons WHY she wanted me to eat

liver, among other foods high in Iron. I am iron deficient anemic and almost died at 9 months old, so when she told me I needed to eat it, I did. I hated it, but I ate it.

Each 100-g serving has 5 mg iron, or 27 percent of your daily requirement. That's a big number!

B12; (the energy boost) if you've ever felt really fatigued- to be sure, new mothers have, a nice plate of liver

restores your B12...(which really is the vitamin that helps your body keep your red blood cells healthy)

Copper: copper is an essential nutrient that plays a role in the production of hemoglobin- the main component of red blood cells. Only a small amount is needed, but liver supplies this need. The B12 doesn't work without the copper.

**Serotonin - Vitamin B6 and Iron are needed to synthesize this in our bodies. According to the study, a group of people

who suffer anxiety and/or hyperventilation attacks suffer from reduced serotonin levels**

Think of it like the volume control on your stereo - it changes how neurons in your body communicate with each other, sending certain signals, used all throughout our bodies - which ultimately effect our behavior...interesting, isn't it?

Additionally, liver is packed with nutrients needed to keep healthy - such as riboflavin, protein, thiamin and Vitamin A

courtesy of akoka at
courtesy of akoka at

A Study Was Done Son, Here are the Facts!

( I Told You So!)

According to the study, persons undergoing panic attack, or hyperventilation suffer from low serotonin. I've been thru panic attacks,

I know what your body and mind feels like during one: your heart races, your head spins and breathing is fast.

I was frightened by them and I have spent many a day calming my son - being frightened is directly related to mood. Being calm is also a mood

Serotonin , according to WikiPedia, regulates mood, appetite and sleep and cardiovascular function.

Having low levels of serotonin, leaves a person unable to control their

fright or panic, resulting in breathing hard, racing heart rates and panic.

According to the study, for which I will post a link at the bottom of the text:

21 patients who suffered panic attacks and/or hyperventilation were compared to 20 volunteers. They found that B6 and iron levels were found to

be lower in the patients who suffered the panic attacks than in the volunteer group.

Ok, so this may not be ground breaking news, AND, I'm pretty sure our mothers already knew this, but here it is in writing,in an official medical study published in the Japanese journal Acta Medica Okayama in 2013:

My Recipe for quick fixin - Fried Liver and Onions

courtesy of:The mofoJT / photo on flickr
courtesy of:The mofoJT / photo on flickr

For my family I usually try to get calf's liver if it's available, but fresh beef liver will do, for 4 people about 2 lbs.

You can clean up the liver by cutting off any of the fat , and after blanching they are easier to slice if you want to cook smaller pieces.

While I am preparing the liver, I slice 2-3 onions..whatever your favorite is..I mostly use sweet vidalias, and saute them

until fairly clear. It's kinda good to have a few crunchy slices in there too. Just set them aside when done.

Photo credit: The mofoJT / Foter / CC BY-NC

I boil water and put the liver in the boiling water for a very short time, just long enough to change the color, then take them out and lay out on a paper towel and pat dry.

Next they are dipped, rolled and patted in flour with a little salt and pepper, or sometimes a little garlic.

These are set aside on another paper towel. I usually use 2 fry pans, so all the pieces cook mostly at the same time for the same length of time. Browned on one side, turned over and browned on the other..just enough to leave a touch

of pink in the center.

When done the slices of liver are stacked on a plate, and a bowl with the sauteed onion are placed next to it and everyone takes what they want.

If any liver is left over, it is absolutely delicious cold. In fact, I usually cook enough so that there are left overs..sometimes I pack up the rest to take to work the next day, or to snack on.

Amazon Offers Vitamins - Men need less iron, but still need it.

Vitamins for men with iron are difficult to find, but Nature Made does supply them, I actually got a bottle for my son, with B6 and a small amount of iron. Centrum also supplies multivitamin/multimineral tablets. Men do not need as much as women, but for men suffering from panic attacks or anxiety, the little amount supplied will do the job.

My recipe is simple..but I would appreciate any offers of different ways to prepare Liver. - I would love to hear about chicken liver recipes!

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    • JoslynHighlander profile image

      JoslynHighlander 4 years ago

      @goldenrulecomics: Yes I remember that also!! It always tasted good sitting with my mom and my sister, and it seemed no matter where we ate, it was always offered, but there aren't a whole lot of places that offer it on menu anymore, thanks so much!

    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 4 years ago

      My grandmother would always order liver and onions when we were in a diner! Thanks for bringing back a childhood memory...

    • JoslynHighlander profile image

      JoslynHighlander 4 years ago

      @SusanDeppner: Wow Susan, thank you so much for commenting! It really is one of the best when your energy is down isn't it? Thanks again !

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I love liver and onions! Even as a kid I enjoyed it - and nobody fixes it as well as my mom, except maybe my sister. I like chicken liver, too, but never fix it just for myself (my husband wouldn't even consider trying it). I didn't know about the serotonin, though, and I'm really glad to know that. I do like to eat liver when I I feel that my iron might be low. Very glad to have this reminder and information on how good liver is for you!