The Top Ten Foods you need to keep your liver healthy
Your liver is the largest organ in your body, carrying out over 500 functions on a daily basis. It’s also your body’s master detoxifier, clearing toxins from your body. Essential reasons to take good care of it! Discover the Top Ten Foods that can help you keep your liver healthy.
Signs of a weary liver
We know when we should give our liver a boost when we feel sluggish, have poor skin, suffer with hormonal imbalances and struggle with our weight. Whilst there may be other factors at play, the liver is central to all these symptoms.
A diet containing processed foods, refined carbohydrates and sugar are contributors to increased risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Long-term this can lead to serious conditions like cirrhosis, heart disease and diabetes.
That’s why I take special care to have the following foods in my diet on a regular basis- and why you should too. Regular consumption of these foods will help to keep your liver in tip-top condition. From lowering the risk of liver disease, protection against toxin accumulation and increased anti-oxidant activity to protect the liver cells.
The active ingredient curcumin helps to flush out toxins from the liver and assists in heavy metal clearance. If you have mercury containing fillings, then it’s important to support this process. Turmeric is rich in antioxidants that help prevent free radical damage to liver cells.
This vegetable contains beta-carotene (a precursor to vitamin A), flavonoids and glutathione. These help the liver to regenerate, protect it from damage, support its detoxifying processes and support bile flow.
All cruciferous vegetables like broccoli (Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, rocket, cabbage) contain compounds like glucosinolate and sulphur which help the liver’s various detoxifying enzymes. They also help in heavy metal clearance.
4. Bitter salad greens
Rocket and other bitter salad greens like chicory, endive and dandelion help stimulate bile flow. Bile is produced in the liver and carries fat soluble toxins out of the body via the gallbladder and bile. Keeping bile flowing well is important for gall-bladder health too.
5. Olive Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and plant phenols. These have been shown to help improve the fat profiles in the body as a whole, and studies have linked it to reduced fat accumulation in the liver associated with NAFLD. These compounds also help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.
This root vegetable contains antioxidants that help reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in liver cells. Beetroot is rich in nitric acid that helps with blood flow and oxygenation. It has also been shown to help with production of the all important detoxifying enzymes.
They contain anthocyanins which are fantastic plant based antioxidant compounds helping to keep liver cells healthy. One study has linked these antioxidants to a slower development of liver scar tissue.
They are rich in glutathione. Glutathione is considered the master antioxidant and has an essential role in the liver neutralising and eliminating fat soluble toxins and heavy metals. Many people – including me- can have a genetic mutation to poor glutathione enzyme function in the liver, so it’s extra important to support toxin clearance with nutritional sources. They are also rich in the fat soluble antioxidant vitamin E, helping to lower inflammation. They also have an excellent fatty acid profile, helping to lower the risk of NAFLD. All tree nuts (not peanuts) are valuable, but walnuts slightly more so!
It may help to prevent liver disease. It is rich in sulphur- part of an important detoxifying liver pathway. It helps to reduce fat accumulation. It contains selenium supporting antioxidant activity in the liver, lowering oxidative stress. We already know how valuable garlic is to cardiovascular disease and immune protection. This is yet another reason to include garlic in your cooking every day.
Yes! There have been several studies that have shown that coffee can be beneficial to prevent a fatty liver by helping to prevent the build-up of fat, supporting toxin elimination and antioxidant cell protection. But to achieve these benefits you need to be drinking good quality ground coffee and I recommend no more than two cups a day due to its more negative stimulant effect.
All these foods have been shown to have beneficial effects on the liver. Since it is estimated that 1 in 3 people in the UK may have early stages of NAFLD, consumption of these foods will help to lower the risk of more serious liver disease and keep your liver performing at its best.
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