Your liver is a multitasking champion. It has significant roles in removing toxins, breaking down fats, synthesizing proteins, digesting foods, producing hormones, eliminating old red blood cells and storing vitamin A, iron and glycogen (a storage carbohydrate). This short list doesn’t do it complete justice. The most exhaustive book on the liver estimates its total number of functions to be around 500 (2002).
Everything that you eat or drink impacts your liver in some way. Foods can have either a positive or a negative impact. Considering its value to your health in so many ways, what you consume is crucial for keeping your liver running in top form.
Knowing what foods are good for your liver is absolutely essential for your good health.
A diet high in green vegetables can greatly aid liver function. Greens provide antioxidants that are crucial for beating back the inflammation that you face every day. In fact, the top foods for liver health all have an anti-inflammatory effect.
The following recommendations for healthy eating comprise a core anti-inflammatory diet that specifically aids your liver.
In addition to their antioxidant properties, leafy green veggies can boost levels of your innate anti-oxidant, glutathione. This substance might be your body’s own best defense against destructive free radicals. Greens are also loaded with potassium, which is closely tied to liver health.
As you age or become ill, an anti-inflammatory diet that includes greens becomes increasingly important due to the typical age-related drop in glutathione levels.
This is an extensive list of common veggies that include broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards and kohlrabi. They are all varieties of the same species, Brassica oleracea.
Other cruciferous veggies include turnips, mustard, radish, watercress and horseradish.
All crucifers produce substances called glucosinolates. These ingredients help the liver to remove carcinogens and heavy metals from the blood. They also influence a balance of the sex hormones, testosterone and estrogen.
Berries and melons provide a rich source of electrolyte minerals needed by the liver. These include magnesium, calcium and potassium. Blueberries are a particular favorite of nutritionists due their high levels of antioxidants. Watermelon can have up to 40% more lycopene than raw tomatoes. Lycopene is the red carotenoid that adds antioxidant power to these fruits.
This oil is a key dietary source for healthy fats called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties that help the liver detoxify infectious microbes.
The most well-known benefits of dietary fiber entail the digestive system. This includes the liver. This role of fiber becomes more apparent with the development of fatty liver disease. Fiber can reverse its destructive effects.
High-fiber foods include all of the green veggies, crucifers and antioxidant-rich fruits mentioned above. Other excellent sources include avocados, artichokes, okra, acorn squash and certain nuts (walnut, almond) and seeds (flax, chia, hemp).
Bacteria provide phenomenal benefits to your liver via fermented foods. Foods such as sauerkraut, kimchee, pickles, natto, yogurt, kombucha and kefir contain live cultures that benefit digestion and boost your immune system. The sour foods in this list (sauerkraut, pickles, kimchee, kombucha) also help the liver in eliminating heavy metals and other toxins.
When selecting fermented foods, make sure they come from the refrigerated section in your supermarket. Non-refrigerated sauerkraut and pickles, for example, are devoid of the live bacterial cultures that benefit your health.
Whole Foods in General
Real, whole foods offer the greatest benefits to your liver. Avoid the poorest quality foods that contain processed sugars and other carbohydrates. Foods and beverages that contain high amounts of refined sugars, especially those adulterated with high-fructose corn syrup, do the most damage to your liver.
The same advice goes for processed fats, most notably trans fats and refined vegetable oils.
In general, consuming processed foods will undermine the beneficial effects of everything else you eat or drink.
In addition, organic foods are preferable. Foods laden with pesticides and other industrial chemicals put a tremendous strain on your liver.