The liver is an extremely important and very special organ. Not only does it play an important role in cleansing the body and digesting food, but it is also the only organ in the body that has the ability to regenerate itself if damaged, provided enough healthy cells remain undamaged. Because of this, it's extremely important to take good care of your liver so that it can take good care of you. Here are 10 foods that can help your liver:
Beets are good for the liver because they contain beta- carotene and beneficial plant flavonoids. Along with their vegetable cousin, carrots, both can help to cleanse the liver by stimulating liver function overall. Sugar beets, in particular, are beneficial to the liver by assisting with cholesterol reduction.
Avocados are considered a super food because they are so nutrient dense. In addition to being rich in vitamin E and folate, avocados are also good sources of oleic acid, which has been shown to help fight cancer. What makes avocados great for the liver is the glutathione, just like nuts. Avocados are also a good source of beta-sitasterol, which has been shown to lower cholesterol. Since the liver produces cholesterol, this can help take some of the stress off of the liver.
It's true; garlic is stinky, but it is also a staple in nearly every cuisine around the world, which is great news for the liver. Just a small amount of this stinky little cousin to the onion helps to activate liver enzymes and promote cleansing. In addition, it is rich in selenium and allicin, two more nutrients that aid in liver cleansing as well as helping to prevent against cell damage from free radicals.
While the name sounds scary, cruciferous vegetables refer to a group of vegetables that includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and green leafy vegetables. These vegetables help to increase the amount of enzyme activating glucosinolate in the body. Those enzymes in turn help to cleanse the body of toxins that can cause any number of health problems.
Leafy greens have so much going for them. Not only are they rich in a number of vitamins and minerals such as iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and the B vitamins, they also help promote liver health. Leafy greens are rich in chlorophylls, the stuff that makes them green. What is great about this is that these chlorophylls soak up toxins in the body, making the job of the liver easier while also protecting the liver from damage. Leafy greens also help increase bile production to aid in digestion and help remove toxins from the body.
Citrus fruits are full of Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps fight cancer as well as boosting the immune system. These fruits, which include oranges, limes, grapefruits and lemon, also stimulate the liver and help remove toxic substances by synthesizing them into material that can be removed from the body with water. Studies also suggest that citrus flavonoids can help in the treatment of fatty liver, insulin resistance, obesity and atherosclerosis.
Not only is green tea a good source of antioxidants, it is loaded with catechins, a substance that is known to improve liver function. They are even more powerful than Vitamins C and E when it comes to preventing damage to cells according to Harvard Women's Health Watch. Studies from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) also showed that green tea had the ability to suppress liver injuries in rats.
Not only is this the spice responsible for making mustard yellow, it is also good for liver health. Turmeric helps improve liver function in a variety of ways, including boosting liver enzymes, protects against liver damage, helps increase bile production and can even help regenerate healthy liver cells. Turmeric is often shown to work best when combined with black pepper. Try adding some to soups and stews for a healthy kick.
Apples, aside from being sweet and delicious, are good for the liver because they contain pectin. This is the same stuff added to jams and jellies to make it gel properly. Pectin helps the liver properly dispose of toxins by reducing its workload. Apples are high in fiber as well as vitamin C, and have relatively few calories, which makes them a great snack.
- Harvard Health Publications
- Office of Dietary Supplements
- PubMed.gov: Citrus Flavonoids and lipid metabolism
- PubMed.gov: Hepatic LDL receptor mRNA in rats is increased by dietary mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) fiber and sugar beet fiber
- AJCN: Green Tea Suppresses Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Liver Injury in D-Galactosamine – Sensitized Rats