When was the last time you thought about the health of your liver? It’s not the most glamorous or talked about part of health and wellness, like weight loss or heart health, but the efficiency (or inefficiency) of liver function greatly impacts the rest of the body.
To say a healthy liver is essential for a number of critical bodily processes is an understatement. These are just a few examples of how the liver affects whole-body health:
- It’s the detoxification center of the body
- It metabolizes and eliminates harmful compounds
- It supports your digestive system, releasing bile into the stomach
In fact, some of your dietary choices could be negatively impacting your liver right now by damaging enzymes and decreasing function, without your even realizing it. Let’s review the top foods to avoid if you want to improve liver health. We’ll also explore liver-friendly foods and supplements that you can begin incorporating into your diet today.
Foods that are Harmful to Liver Health
The first step to naturally cleansing liver naturally is removing the food sources that could potentially be causing damage and interfering with liver function, such as:
This is the substance most commonly associated with poor liver health. The reason for this, is that the liver can only process about one drink per hour. Drinking more than your liver can process is what causes intoxication. Consistently drinking more than you should can result in the breakdown of healthy liver cells. Over time you increase your risk for liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.
While all-natural sources of healthy fats play an important part in your diet, consuming fried foods overloads the body with unhealthy saturated fat and trans-fat, with the latter being extremely bad for your health. Over consumption of fried foods can lead to a condition called fatty liver disease, which severely damages liver enzymes.
Sugar is finally getting thenegative spotlight it deserves. Not only has it been shown to promote inflammation, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases, but it can also damage your liver. Table sugar is primarily made up of fructose, the same sugar found in fruit. It’s not a problem when you consume fructose in the form of fruit, but eating too much processed white sugar in foods can overload the liver, causing cell damage.
Once you eliminate or responsibly cut down on the above foods, the next step is to start incorporating more liver-friendly foods into your diet. Overall, you’ll want to focus on a whole food diet made up of vegetables, fruits, lean proteins such as chicken breast, healthy fats — including oilve, avocado and coconut oil — and complex carbohydrates such as brown rice. The following foods have been shown to be especially beneficial for your liver.
Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fatty liver disease is caused by consuming too many unhealthy fats. Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help metabolize the unhealthy fats stored in the liver, alleviating some of the symptoms associated with the disease.
A great alternative to your morning coffee, green tea has been shown to effectively improve liver enzymes and blood markers for liver health. Drinking several cups throughout the day is suggested to provide the best benefits.
Considered one of the best superfoods you can buy, garlic has been shown to be a powerful and natural antibacterial and antifungal food. When it comes to liver health, garlic can promote the production of healthy liver enzymes, improving overall function.
Blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries are packed with a type of antioxidant called polyphenols. Helping to fight free radicals, a result of metabolic waste that promotes cell breakdown, polyphenols may act as an effective way to shield your liver from damage.
Dark Leafy Greens
Those vegetables you avoided as a kid — broccoli, kale, and spinach — contain powerful phytonutrients or plant compounds that can increase the production of liver enzymes.
Take Liver Cleansing Supplements
While diet and exercise are the foundation of any successful method of liver cleansing, supplements can provide a helping hand.
Turmeric has been getting a lot of positive attention as a superfood, but it’s the powerful compound within, calledCurcumin, that is the source of its benefits. Curcumin has been shown in clinical studies improve liver metabolism and overall function. It’s important to take curcumin with a carrier oil, like black seed oil, for the best absorption, or in aformula that combines the two.
Your liver is considered part of your digestive system. It ensures the removal of harmful bacteria from foods while assisting in the assimilation of vitamins and minerals. An easy way to improve digestion and liver health is to supplement daily with a broad spectrumdigestive enzyme.
Coming from the plant of the same name, milk thistle extract has been shown to improve liver function and reduce inflammation, especially in people suffering from fatty liver disease.
A vegetable root that you may never have heard of, the roots of burdock, possess a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Most importantly, burdock root has been suggested to be an effective way to promote detoxification in the liver.
Yes, that same flower that seems to overtake your lawn every year can actually help your liver. Studies suggest that dandelion root can increase the production of bile and promote liver detoxification.
Liver Health: Small Changes Equal Big Results
When it comes to liver health the little things you do consistently will make a huge difference. If you want to improve the health of your liver, begin by eliminating the things that are harming it such as alcohol and fried foods. Begin to change your diet a little at a time, incorporating foods that promote liver health such as dark leafy greens and green tea. Finally, complement your newfound diet with safe and natural supplements such as curcumin and digestive enzymes that help with liver health and offer additional health benefits as well.