Ancestral Tribe Illustration

9 Ancestral Tribes Who Prized Liver (#1 Ancient Superfood)

Liver was the most prized food amongst our ancestors.

While many of us salivate at the thought of chocolate, our ancestors got excited about liver.

It was the most nutritionally dense part of the animal and was often the first organ to be eaten.

However, as society has progressed we have lost touch with our ancestral roots.

Instead of consuming liver, we eat chips, fortified foods which pretend to be liver, fake meat and foods infested with seed oils.

We have lost touch with our innate being and chronic illness has followed.

Why Tribes Were Naturally Drawn To Liver

Our ancestors did not have laboratories telling them about the vast amount of nutrients found in the liver. They just ate it and felt amazing.

The reason they felt so good is because liver is nature's multivitamin.

Compared to any other food available to humans, beef liver has the most impressive nutrient profile.

Just 100g of beef liver will provide you with 100% of your recommended daily intake of many of the most important nutrients required for good health.

However, the power of liver is not just confined to standard nutrients.

Tribes consumed liver because it had what many called the ‘anti-fatigue’ factor.

Research now suggests that this factor can be narrowed down to lesser known nutrients found in liver including CoQ10, Adiponectin, LEAP-2 peptide, ergothioneine peptide and hepcidin Peptide.

Package all these nutrients together as one can see why the tribes prized this food.

Per 100g, beef live is a nutritional powerhouse.


Carbohydrates: 3.9g
Fats: 3.6g
Protein: 20.4g


    Vitamin A: 16899 IU (388% RDI)
    Vitamin C: 1.3mg (2% RDI)
    Vitamin E: 0.4mg (2% RDI)
    Vitamin K: 3.1mcg (4% RDI)
    Thiamin: 0.2mg (13% RDI)
    Riboflavin: 2.8mg (162% RDI)
    Niacin: 13.2mg (66% RDI)
    Vitamin B6: 1.1mg (54% RDI)
    Folate: 290mcg (72% RDI)
    Vitamin B12: 59.3mcg (988% RDI)
    Pantothenic Acid: 7.2mg (72% RDI)


      Calcium: 5.0mg (1% RDI)
      Iron: 4.9mg (27% RDI)
      Magnesium: 18.0mg (5% RDI)
      Phosphorus: 387mg (39% RDI)
      Potassium: 313mg (9% RDI)
      Sodium: 69.0mg (3% RDI)
      Zinc: 4.0mg (27% RDI)
      Copper: 9.8mg (488% RDI)
      Manganese: 0.3mg (16% RDI)
      Selenium: 39.7mcg (57% RDI)

        Peptides Beef Liver May Contain

        Hepcidin Peptide 
        Ergothioneine Peptide
        Liver Expressed Antimicrobial Peptide (LEAP-2)
        Cytochrome P450

          Nutrition Data From

          1. Australian Aboriginal Hunter Gatherers

          The available data suggests that the Australian Aborignal hunter gatherers were physically fit, lean, had low blood pressure, low fasting glucose, low fasting cholesterol and had no evidence of diabetes or coronary heart disease. Overall, there was no evidence of chronic disease which occurs in high proportions in westernised Aboriginal communities today (1).

          They ate a varied diet in which animal food was a major component. Everything on the carcass was eaten including the fat depots, organ meats (which were highly prized) and bone marrow. Of the organ meats it seems that liver was valued highly along with the brain. So much so, that the hunters would sometimes cook and eat the liver of a kangaroo before carrying the carcass back to the tribe (2).

          Liver seemed to be an unexpected source of nutrients usually associated with plant food such as vitamin C and folate. It may have provided important nutrients during times of the year where the hunter gatherer's diet was predominantly animal based (3). This makes sense as we know that certain animal livers like chicken have a high concentration of vitamin C and folate.

          2. The Hadza Hunter Gatherers

          The Hadza are one of the last remaining hunter gatherer groups left on earth. There are around 1000 Hadza left of which 300-400 are pure hunter gatherers. The Hadza are renowned for being one of the healthiest and happiest groups of people. They have one of the most diverse microbiomes on the planet and have close to no evidence of chronic illness (4)(5). One study found that members of the hadza had no evidence of cardiovascular disease, including optimal levels of biomarkers for cardiovascular health (6). Many of the oldest tribe members who were in their late 70s also had no markers of heart disease.

          The Hadza diet largely consists of meat, honey, berries, baobab and tubers of which organ meats are one of the most commonly consumed foods. Like the Australian Aborignal hunter gatherers, Hazda men prize the organs from large game animals such as the kidney, heart and throat (7). Reports from those living with the Hadza also reference how they often eat valuable organs like the liver and heart right after a hunt, before taking the carcass back to the tribe for communal eating. Consuming organ meats right after a hunt seems to be a common feature of hunter gatherers and demonstrates how highly they value such meats.

          3. South American Tsimane

          The South American Tsimane are a forager horticulturalist community in the Bolivian Amazon. A recent study published in the Lancet showed that they have the lowest reported levels of coronary artery disease of any population ever recorded (8).The results were even seen in Tsimane above 75 years of age.

          The majority of Tsimane diet stems from hunting, fishing, foraging, and farming. The information around the exact diet of the Tsimane is slightly unclear but one study suggests that their diet is made up of close to 30% protein and saturated fat (9). Based on another study however, this might be a low estimation given “behavioural observations of foods eaten did not account for organ meat consumption or cooking fat” (10). Regardless, it is known that the Tsimane regularly consume animal organs, including the prized brain and liver tissues, which might be reflected in the elevation of certain fatty acids in Tsimane breastmilk (11).The Tsimane are also known to cook with rendered animal fat.

          4. The Traditional Inuit

          The hunter gatherer inuit were a group of indigenous people native to the arctic and subarctic regions. While the inuit still remain today, they have mostly settled with very few examples of a purely hunter gatherer lifestyle today.

          The traditional innuit diet was heavily meat based consisting of raw fish eggs, mattak, carbibour liver, ringed seal liver and blueberries (12). Amongst the Clyde innuit, liver was the most prized organ. Following a hunt, hunters would first eat pieces of liver with occasional pieces of liver given to the women and children (13).

          Seal meat and particularly the liver seemed to be viewed as a remedy for the innuit (14). This was exhibited in the interview of a 30 year-old inuit woman who complained of a headache and depression. She felt tired, nauseated, irritable and felt weak and cold. She said she needed seal meat but there was none available. She asked her neighbours but they also had none. She finally was given some liver, backbone and hips from a nearby family. The woman ate the liver immediately and shared a bite with her 5 year old child. The rest was cooked and shared with family. Later that night, the woman was smiling and said that she felt much better. The next day her headache and nausea were gone, and she was back to normal.

          Recent research looking at the traditional inuit culture shows that those moving away from the traditional innuit diet and transitioning to a more westernised or colonised way of eating, are exhibiting poor health outcomes (15) (16).

          5. Western Nile Tribes

          The Western Nile tribes seemingly had great health with the children exhibiting limited dental caries like the western world. Tribes along the western nile prized liver and in some way found spirituality and meaning in its consumption. One Western Nile Tribe called the Neurs especially valued the livers and ate them raw and cooked (17).

          They believed that “every man and woman has a soul which resides in the liver and that a man's character and physical growth depends upon how well he feeds that soul by eating the livers on animals"(18). To the Neurs, the liver was so sacred that it was not to be touched by human hands but insteads handled by spear, sabre or forked sticks (19).

          In stark contrast, western colonised humans rarely find meaning in their food anymore. We just go to a supermarket, pick up food without any knowledge of its origins and then eat it in the absence of conscious consumption. Incorporating liver into your lifestyle is more than just its nutrients, it is about rewilding your ancestral connection to food.

          6. The Powerful Comanche

          The Comanche were one of the most powerful American Indian tribes and dominated the Southern Plains. They were exceptional on horseback. We do not have a lot of data around their diet but we do know that it largely consisted of buffalo, bison and meat. At certain points, drying meat was also a popular way of ensuring adequate food supply (20). We also know that liver was most likely prized by the Comanche with the Tanima band of the tribe having the nickname “Liver Eaters”.

          In the Newyork best seller ‘Empire of the Summer Moon’ which documents the rise and the fall of this tribe, author S. C. Gwynne documents the eating habits of the Comanche. He states “children would rush up to a freshly killed animal, begging for its liver and gallbladder. They would then squirt the salty bile from the gallbladder onto the liver and eat it on the spot” (21).

          7. Islands Of The Outer Hebrides

          The islands of the outer hebrides aren't necessarily traditional tribes but rather communities. They had wonderfully fine teeth with immunity to decay, stalwart physiques and strong characters (22). Their foods were interestingly made up primarily of fish with some oat products. They favoured small sea foods like lobster, crab, clams and oysters which were abundant.

          One of the go to meals for the outer hebrides was a combination of baked cods head which was stuffed with cod liver and oatmeal (23). Along with their consumption of liver, the other reason for their good health could be put down to their consumption of wild oysters, which we consider the beef liver of the ocean given its wide array of nutrients.

          8. Indigenous North Americans

          The indigenous north Americans lived in the Canadian rockies. Given the conditions, their diets were made up almost entirely of wild meat and organs with moose and caribou being the most common (24). Like the previous tribes mentioned, the indigenous north americans seem to be in good health with good overall oral health. They also had superior knowledge when it came to the benefits of organ meats over muscle meat, and often fed muscle meat to dogs after a hunt.

          This is in stark contrast to how the western societies prize muscle meats over organ meats. The indigenous North Americans understood that if they consumed the “two small balls in the fat” above the kidneys and the second wall of the stomach, they would be able to avoid scurvy (25). We do not have a lot of data on their liver consumption but given their large consumption of organ meats, one can only infer it was a treasured part of their diet (26).

          9. The Maasai

          The Maasai are a tribe of people mostly located in Tanzania. They have a traditional diet of milk, blood and meat which of course is heavy in lactose, fat and cholesterol. Despite this animal centric diet, the Maasai have low levels of blood cholesterol, and do not suffer from cardiovascular disease or other health concerns associated with cholesterol like gallstones (27).

          While we do not have a lot of data on their organ meat consumption, one photographer who lived with the Maasai for a short period said that after a goat was slaughtered, “they are carefully sliced open and the organs removed….and saved for grilling, with others placed in a bowl” (28).

          Beef Liver Was A Staple of Our Evolution

          Organ meats and particularly liver have been prized by our ancestors for years and the reason seems clear - Liver is an amazing source of all kinds of nutrients but has also played an important role in the culture and vitality of tribes and how they approach the consumption of their food.

          Sourcing Beef Liver

          When looking for high quality liver, opt for organic, grass-fed and finished where possible.

          For those who do not want to eat liver in this way, we also off a freeze dried Beef Liver Powder. It is sourced from Central Queensland and is organic, grass-fed and grass finished.

          Whatever you choose, getting some liver into your diet is going to help take your health to the next level.

          Nahla Earth Beef Liver Supplement


          1. O'Dea K. (1991). Traditional diet and food preferences of Australian aboriginal hunter-gatherers. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 334(1270), 233–241.
          2.  Ibid.
          3.  Ibid.
          4.  Smits, S. A., Leach, J., Sonnenburg, E. D., Gonzalez, C. G., Lichtman, J. S., Reid, G., Knight, R., Manjurano, A., Changalucha, J., Elias, J. E., Dominguez-Bello, M. G., & Sonnenburg, J. L. (2017). Seasonal cycling in the gut microbiome of the Hadza hunter-gatherers of Tanzania. Science (New York, N.Y.), 357(6353), 802–806.
          5. Schnorr, S., Candela, M., Rampelli, S. et al. Gut microbiome of the Hadza hunter-gatherers. Nat Commun 5, 3654 (2014).
          6. Raichlen, D. A., Pontzer, H., Harris, J. A., Mabulla, A. Z., Marlowe, F. W., Josh Snodgrass, J., Eick, G., Colette Berbesque, J., Sancilio, A., & Wood, B. M. (2017). Physical activity patterns and biomarkers of cardiovascular disease risk in hunter-gatherers. American journal of human biology : the official journal of the Human Biology Council, 29(2), 10.1002/ajhb.22919.
          7. Berbesque, J. C., & Marlowe, F. W. (2009). Sex Differences in Food Preferences of Hadza Hunter-Gatherers. Evolutionary Psychology, 7(4).
          8. Kaplan, H., Thompson, R. C., Trumble, B. C., Wann, L. S., Allam, A. H., Beheim, B., Frohlich, B., Sutherland, M. L., Sutherland, J. D., Stieglitz, J., Rodriguez, D. E., Michalik, D. E., Rowan, C. J., Lombardi, G. P., Bedi, R., Garcia, A. R., Min, J. K., Narula, J., Finch, C. E., Gurven, M., … Thomas, G. S. (2017). Coronary atherosclerosis in indigenous South American Tsimane: a cross-sectional cohort study. Lancet (London, England), 389(10080), 1730–1739.
          9. Ibid.
          10. Kaplan, H., Thompson, R. C., Trumble, B. C., Wann, L. S., Allam, A. H., Beheim, B., Frohlich, B., Sutherland, M. L., Sutherland, J. D., Stieglitz, J., Rodriguez, D. E., Michalik, D. E., Rowan, C. J., Lombardi, G. P., Bedi, R., Garcia, A. R., Min, J. K., Narula, J., Finch, C. E., Gurven, M., … Thomas, G. S. (2017). Coronary atherosclerosis in indigenous South American Tsimane: a cross-sectional cohort study. Lancet (London, England), 389(10080), 1730–1739.
          11. Martin, M. A., Lassek, W. D., Gaulin, S. J., Evans, R. W., Woo, J. G., Geraghty, S. R., Davidson, B. S., Morrow, A. L., Kaplan, H. S., & Gurven, M. D. (2012). Fatty acid composition in the mature milk of Bolivian forager-horticulturalists: controlled comparisons with a US sample. Maternal & child nutrition, 8(3), 404–418.
          12. Karen Fediuk, Nick Hidiroglou, René Madère, Harriet V. Kuhnlein, Vitamin C in Inuit Traditional Food and Women's Diets, Journal of Food Composition and Analysis (2002), 221-235,
          13. Borre, Kristen. (2009). Seal Blood, Inuit Blood, and Diet: A Biocultural Model of Physiology and Cultural Identity. Medical Anthropology Quarterly. 5. 48 - 62. 10.1525/maq.1991.5.1.02a00080.
          14.  Ibid.
          15.  Lougheed T. (2010). The changing landscape of arctic traditional food. Environmental health perspectives, 118(9), a386–a393.
          16. Schaefer, S. E., Erber, E., Trzaskos, J. P., Roache, C., Osborne, G., & Sharma, S. (2011). Sources of food affect dietary adequacy of Inuit women of childbearing age in Arctic Canada. Journal of health, population, and nutrition, 29(5), 454–464.
          17. Price, Weston A, DDS, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, The Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, San Diego, CA, p 157
          18. Ibid.
          19. Ibid.
          20. S. C. Gwynne, Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History (2010) p 48.
          21. Ibid.
          22. Price, Weston A, DDS, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, The Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, San Diego, CA.
          23. Ibid.
          24. Ibid.
          25. Ibid.
          26. Ibid.
          27. Mbalilaki, J. A., Masesa, Z., Strømme, S. B., Høstmark, A. T., Sundquist, J., Wändell, P., Rosengren, A., & Hellenius, M. L. (2010). Daily energy expenditure and cardiovascular risk in Masai, rural and urban Bantu Tanzanians. British journal of sports medicine, 44(2), 121–126.
          28. Debi Lander, "What Do the Maasai Really Eat?" September 28, 2015. 

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