Your liver is one of the most vital organs in your body. It is responsible for many important functions related to digestion, metabolism and your immune system, and it stores many of the nutrients that your body needs to survive. Not only that, but the liver is a gland too. It secretes chemicals that other parts of your body needs, is responsible for breaking down insulin, hemoglobin and other hormones and produces the chemicals that are needed for your blood to properly clot.
An unhealthy diet and poor lifestyle can overload the liver, making it unable to process harmful toxins and fat, and this can make you more susceptible to obesity, heart disease, issues with digestion and many other health problems.
There are a number of superfoods that you can eat (or drink) to help you to keep your liver in good working order, and we’ve included some of the best in this list.
The health benefits of citrus fruits have been known for centuries, but recent research has shown that they can be particularly beneficial to your liver functioning. This is thanks to the plant pigments found in these fruits that contribute to the production of antioxidants in the liver cells, preventing any damage that may be caused by drinking alcohol or eating unhealthy foods.
Garlic cleanses your liver by activating enzymes that help to get rid of toxins, and it contains two compounds called allicin and selenium, which help the liver-cleansing process and protect the liver from damage. If you want to add garlic to your diet to aid your liver, you should use fresh raw garlic instead of something processed. If you’re feeling brave, you could even eat some raw garlic cloves.
OK, so it may not be food per se, but this common beverage has been known to help you to achieve a ‘lean liver’. Research has shown that regularly drinking green tea can block the amount of fat that is stored in your liver, which can be one of the main causes of fatty liver disease. To see the benefits, you should aim to drink two to three cups of green tea daily.
Brazil nuts are one of the most concentrated sources of selenium, something that is particularly good for those with liver disease. It is an antioxidant that protects against damage to liver cells, strengthens immunity and increases tissue elasticity, something that we all need to keep our liver tissue healthy.
Not only can olive oil help to reduce heart disease, but it has also been proven to be great for your liver’s health. It is one of the main components of the Mediterranean diet that is considered the healthiest diet in the world and has an antioxidant effect on fat storing liver cells.
However, when incorporating olive oil into your diet, you must remember that cooking with olive oil can start the process of oxidation, something that those with liver damage should avoid. For best results, buy extra virgin olive oil, store it in a cool, dry place and use it raw.
Having a diet rich in vegetables is good for your overall health, but leafy greens, in particular, can help to promote good liver function. Some of the most nutrient dense leafy greens are spinach, kale, chard, romaine and collards and are packed with chlorophyll that purifies the blood.
They also help to neutralize heavy metals, toxins and pesticides that can sometimes be found in our food and cause damage to the liver.
You may know turmeric as the spice that adds color to Indian cuisine, but it has been used as a natural remedy for a number of health ailments for many years, particularly for those that suffer from fatty liver. A fatty liver is when fat cells make up five to 10 percent of your liver, and many things can cause this such as excessive alcohol consumption, diabetes and obesity.
Thanks to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric, it may improve liver function.
This popular breakfast fruit contains a powerful antioxidant called glutathione. This neutralizes free radicals and detoxifies the liver. Grapefruit also contains naringenin, which helps to break down fat. You should be aware that this food may interact with certain medications, so please always consult your doctor before you incorporate it into your diet.
You may think that many tasty smoothie recipes contain beetroot simply because of their color, but beetroot is actually one of the best foods for supporting and cleansing your liver. It is high in plant-flavonoids and beta-carotene, and it is a natural blood purifier so will benefit your overall health too.
Add one or two avocados to your diet per week, and you’ll benefit from the minerals, vitamins and plant nutrients that support overall liver health. The high amount of monounsaturated fat in avocados helps to reduce low-density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) and increase high-density lipoproteins (good cholesterol) that your liver can process more easily.
Include a number, or all, of these superfoods into your diet, and your liver will almost certainly thank you!