Your liver is one of your hardest-working organs. It plays a role in many essential bodily tasks such as storing nutrients, producing proteins, and even regulating cholesterol. The liver is also your natural detox organ in the sense that it breaks down certain toxic substances and sends them out of the body.
Without a healthy liver, your body will begin to suffer in various ways. That is why it’s important to take care of your liver so it can take care of you. But how can you do this? One way is through diet – so let’s take a look at some of the foods that support liver health.
According to the American Liver Foundation, various aspects of your lifestyle are involved in maintaining and improving liver health. They suggest the following steps to help keep your liver as healthy as possible:
Another great thing you can do for your liver health is fuel your body with healthy foods. But what foods help with liver health?
While many foods can ensure that your whole body is running at its best, there are some that stand out from the rest when it comes to the health of your liver specifically. They include:
While it might be surprising to see coffee on a list of liver health foods, it’s here for good reason! Studies have found the popular beverage helps protect against liver disease in both healthy people as well as those who already have chronic liver disease.
Staying on the caffeine train: tea is also hailed for its many health benefits, but many people don’t know just how good it can be for the liver. The type of tea you drink matters when it comes to liver health, though, with green tea being the best option. One particular study found that blood markers of liver health improved after people drank 10 cups of green tea per day.
Grapefruit is often considered a “diet food”, but did you know it’s packed with nutrients and antioxidants that can boost your liver health? Two antioxidants that are dominant in grapefruit are naringenin and naringin, and both have been shown to protect the liver from damage and injury by reducing inflammation.
Blueberries and cranberries contain high amounts of antioxidants known as anthocyanins. These have been shown to protect the liver from damage as well as prevent the development of lesions on the liver, which can lead to various issues.
Red and purple grapes contain a plant compound known as resveratrol. Resveratrol has been shown to increase antioxidant levels in the body, prevent damage, and reduce inflammation, all of which can improve the function and health of the liver.
Prickly pear is a type of cactus that you can eat. While it has been used in alternative medicine for centuries, many modern medical researchers are now looking at its use in the traditional medicine. Studies done on the prickly pear have examined how it can affect the health of the liver following alcohol consumption, finding that it reduces inflammation caused by drinking.
Beetroot juice contains many healthy substances such as nitrates and betalains, which are antioxidants that have been shown to reduce oxidative stress and widespread inflammation. When it comes to liver health specifically, beetroot juice has been shown to reduce damage and inflammation to the liver at the same time as increasing the organ’s ability to detox the body by increasing production of enzymes tasked with this job.
Cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and mustard greens provide many health benefits to the body because of their high nutrient and fiber content. Research has shown that eating these types of vegetables regularly can help to maintain and improve liver function by protecting the organ from damage at the same time as increasing its ability to detox the body.
Nuts contain high amounts of plant compounds and antioxidant vitamins that are good for overall health. When it comes to the liver, studies have found that people who included nuts more in their diet had a lower risk of developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease than those who skipped out on eating nuts altogether.
Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fatty fish, are strongly associated with the reduction of inflammation. While this is typically connected to heart health, research on omega-3 fatty acids has found that adequate amounts can help to lower the amount of fat in the liver in people who already have an existing liver disease.
Olive oil is a type of fat, but it’s considered a healthy fat because of its many health benefits. Studies have found that consuming a small amount of olive oil every day can help improve the levels of fat in the liver as well as the amount of liver enzymes available to help with the detoxification process.
Your liver deserves all the good attention it can get because of how hard it works for your body. By introducing some (or all!) of the above foods into your diet on a regular basis, you can maintain and improve your liver health for years to come.