The liver is a powerhouse of an organ. It performs a variety of essential tasks, ranging from producing proteins, cholesterol, and bile to storing vitamins, minerals, and even carbohydrates. It also breaks down toxins like alcohol, medicines, and natural by-products of metabolism. Keeping your liver in good shape is important for maintaining health.
Your liver not only produces vital proteins, cholesterol, and bile but also stores vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that you need to keep your body healthy. It breaks down harmful toxins, too, including alcohol, medications, and natural by-products of metabolism. Protect your liver with this list of foods that are good for it–from iron-rich spinach to vitamin C–packed oranges.
This article lists the 11 best foods to eat to keep your liver healthy.
1. Olive oil
Olive oil is considered a healthy fat because of its many health benefits, including positive effects on the heart and metabolic health. It also has positive effects on the liver. Olive oil may be best known for the Mediterranean diet’s possible association with a lower risk of heart disease. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes olive oil as an ingredient in cooking, salads and marinades, and as a dressing.
Delicate in flavor, soft, and a gentle source of healthy fats, olive oil is one of the world’s most beloved ingredients. In addition to helping to lower your cholesterol, recent studies have found that consuming olive oil can prevent the accumulation of fat in your liver — the first step towards liver disease. Olive oil is also an antioxidant powerhouse, protecting your body from free radicals and helping to boost your immune system.
2. Fatty fish
Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy fats that help reduce inflammation and have been associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Consuming more omega-3 fatty acids appears to be beneficial for your liver, but make sure to include other healthy fats, like avocado, eggs, and nuts.
Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and herring, contain high levels of omega-3 fats. Omega-3s are beneficial for people with liver disease and might be especially good for fatty liver. The reason is that omega-3s can improve the health of the liver’s cells and reduce inflammation. Specifically, omega-3s can help decrease the number of inflammatory cells in the liver and reduce fat deposits.
Nuts are indeed good for your liver because of their high content of fats, nutrients like the antioxidant vitamin E, and beneficial plant compounds. Nuts are therefore beneficial to both heart health and liver health. This composition is responsible for several health benefits, especially for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Munching on nuts throughout the day can provide your body with many nutrients and beneficial phytochemicals. But one of the healthiest benefits of snacking on nuts may surprise you: a reduced risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition in which fat builds up in the liver.
4. Cruciferous vegetables
Crucifers are widely known and loved for their unique taste. Not only are they good sources of vitamins C, K, B6, and folate, they also contain significant amounts of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Traditional wisdom has it that cruciferous vegetables are especially good for your liver. Cruciferous veggies like Brussels sprouts and cabbage have been shown in studies to help protect the liver from damage. If you like them, we hope you’re already eating them. And if you aren’t, it’s a good time to start.
You can protect your liver and improve its health by eating cruciferous vegetables. The benefits of this family of vegetables include their high antioxidant content. Lightly roasting them with garlic and lemon juice or balsamic vinegar to turn them into a tasty and healthy dish is a recommended way to eat them.
Grapefruit contains an antioxidant known as naringenin that has been found in animal studies to protect the liver from injury. Grapefruit also contains a second antioxidant called naringin which also has been found to help protect the liver from damage.
Naringenin is a bioactive component of grapefruit, which has been shown to help prevent hepatic fibrosis and increase fat burning. Naringenin is found in the rind of grapefruits and smaller amounts in strawberries, peaches and oranges. An excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A and potassium, grapefruit can help improve the overall health of your liver. Aside from its nutritional benefits, it also contains phytonutrients that studies have shown may be able to protect the liver from oxidative damage.
Grapefruit is a tasty citrus fruit that has many medical benefits, including aiding in weight loss and preventing cancer. A potent antioxidant found in grapefruit called naringin may play a role in the decreased risk of liver damage from drinking alcohol. A study from 2011 has further strengthened this link, providing evidence that grapefruit may help prevent liver damage and inflammation caused by alcohol use.
6. Beetroot juice
Beetroot juice is a good source of nitrates and antioxidants called betalain. One betalain in beetroot juice, called pigmented red-purple anthocyanin, may benefit heart health, and reduce oxidative damage and inflammation.
When it comes to liver health, beets aren’t just a pretty vegetable. The juice of the beetroot is used in laboratory studies to test liver health. Early research suggests that drinking beetroot juice—also known as beetroot extract—may improve liver health and help treat liver conditions including hepatitis B, hepatitis C, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and cirrhosis.
7. Prickly pear
The prickly pear, also known as the Indian fig, is a popular type of edible cactus. Its yellow fruit and juice are most consumed. Prickly pear has been used in traditional medicine as a treatment for the following conditions: Ulcers, wounds, fatigue and liver disease. A 2004 study found that this plant helped reduce symptoms of hangovers. Participants experienced less nausea, dry mouth and lack of appetite when taking it before drinking alcohol (which is detoxified by the liver). The study concluded that these effects were due to a reduction in inflammation.
Prickly pear is also good food for liver health. Various compounds in digestive enzymes and bile juice help fight against the accumulation of cancer-causing chemicals in the body and work to minimize the harmful effects of alcohol. Prickly pear is high in Vitamin C, which carotenoids are beneficial for the liver.
Prickly pear is known for having a wide range of health benefits, especially for liver problems. Oftentimes, people who abuse alcohol consume extremely unhealthy foods that are detrimental to their bodies. This food helps with decreasing oxidative damage and liver injury after alcohol consumption and keeps antioxidant and inflammation levels stable. It also may potentially help increase the effectiveness of drugs used to treat alcohol dependence.
8. Blueberries and cranberries
Blueberries and cranberries contain two kinds of powerful antioxidants. Anthocyanins are antioxidants that give berries their distinctive colors. And Proanthocyanidins (also known as condensed tannins) slow down carbohydrate digestion, which reduces blood sugar and insulin spikes.
One of the most effective ways for protecting your liver is to eat these two fruits. Blueberries and cranberries contain antioxidants, which prevent cell damage and help reverse existing damage. Blueberries in particular have been shown to protect cells from free radical damage and boost immune cell response. Consuming blueberries may also help slow liver tumor growth. While more studies with humans are needed, all signs point to these foods as being particularly beneficial for liver health.
Blueberries and cranberries are two fruits that can help your liver function at an optimal level. When you eat these berries regularly, your liver receives the antioxidants it needs to stay healthy.
Grapes contain a variety of beneficial plant compounds. The most famous one is resveratrol, which has several health benefits. Grapes are a powerhouse fruit with an array of benefits. They contain antioxidants that fight free radicals to protect your body’s cells. They also contain compounds shown to help lower inflammation, prevent damage, and increase antioxidant levels. A small study in humans with NAFLD showed that supplementing with grape seed extract for 3 months helped improve liver function.
A Liver cleansing diet often includes not only fruits and vegetables but also other foods to provide a healthy liver. Grapes, particularly grapeseed extract, are one of the most efficient ways of detoxifying the liver.
Tea has been shown to have various health benefits, and it is believed that green tea in particular may provide benefits for the liver. In one study, participants who consumed green tea high in antioxidants reported improved blood markers of liver health. Another study showed that people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) were able to reduce liver enzyme levels and fat deposits in the liver after drinking green tea for 12 weeks.
Drinking tea has been linked to a lower risk of developing liver cancer. The lowest risk was seen in people who drank four or more cups per day, while an increase in risk was seen at two to three cups per day. High-quality (polyphenol-rich) teas such as black tea, green tea, and oolong may have the most benefit for liver health.
Nevertheless, some people, especially those who have liver problems, should exercise caution before consuming green tea as a supplement. That’s because there have been several reports of liver damage resulting from the use of supplements containing green tea extract.
When it comes to the liver, everyone is looking for that one thing that helps improve the health of this organ. As it turns out, coffee may be just the beverage you are looking for! Studies have shown that coffee helps protect the liver from disease, even among those who already have problems with this organ.
Coffee may have some health benefits for the liver. First, it reduces the risk of developing one of the most common kinds of liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, and it may reduce the risk of developing liver fibrosis as well. It’s also associated with a lower risk of death in people with chronic liver disease. Three cups of coffee daily seem to have the greatest benefits, so get brewing!
Coffee is both delicious and good for you. It may even be a secret weapon in your liver-cleansing arsenal. Coffee contains several liver-supporting nutrients, including lignans, chlorogenic acid, and glutathione.
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