Did you know that your liver is one of the most essential organs in your body? In fact, the liver performs over 500 functions to keep your body healthy. These include:
- breaking down toxins in the body
- storing vitamins and minerals
- producing bile to help with digestion
- resisting infections by making immune factors
- removing bacteria from the bloodstream
With all those responsibilities, it’s easy for the liver to become overworked and overloaded. Factors that contribute to an overworked liver include poor diets, consuming alcohol, and environmental toxins.
An overworked liver can also contribute to long-term liver disease. Liver disease can be inherited or caused by lifestyle influences. Outside factors contributing to the liver disease include alcohol use, a poor diet, obesity, and even some viruses. Over time, any of these conditions that damage your liver can lead to cirrhosis or liver failure.
What can you do to keep your liver functioning at peak efficiency? Cleansing and detoxifying your liver are essential for optimal health. While that might sound daunting, it’s something you can incorporate into your everyday routine.
Let’s talk about the eight best foods to cleanse your liver.
Garlic is a superfood. While there are many ways to proactively support good liver health, garlic might be one of the best – and there are countless ways to incorporate it into your diet with dishes that are delicious and simple to prepare.
By itself, garlic helps your body fight infections, regulates blood sugar, lowers blood pressure, and lowers cholesterol. But what can it do for your liver?
Garlic is such good food to cleanse your liver due to its sulfur-containing compounds, which help protect your liver from damage. It also promotes liver detoxification, and multiple studies have shown that taking raw garlic or garlic powder can help reduce fat accumulation in the liver. This reduces the risk of fatty liver disease in men.
2. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are a healthy food category and are a great source of chlorophyll, which cleanses and detoxifies the blood flowing through your body. That helps eliminate toxins in your body that would otherwise pass through your liver.
Some of the best leafy greens include spinach, kale, and collards. They can be eaten raw or cooked, but they are essential for you and your liver’s health. By making them part of your daily diet, you’re sure to reap the health benefits.
Leafy greens are also loaded with fiber and can reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, and high blood pressure as part of a balanced diet. They can also lessen your risk factors for fatty liver disease.
3. Cruciferous Vegetables
Although it’s quite a mouthful to say, cruciferous vegetables can play a big part in your liver’s health. What you eat plays a vital role in your health and risk for liver disease.
These vegetables are bursting with sulfur compounds, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. All things that keep your liver happy and healthy.
Cruciferous vegetables include:
- Bok Choy
- Collard greens
While some of these have a bitter taste, there are endless ways to prepare these veggies so they’re delicious and their natural goodness comes out. Including them in your diet is also great for weight management because they are low in calories.
Studies say they may also prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) due to containing a compound called indole, which is linked to lower fat in your liver. The disease is linked to obesity and increased risk of different types of cancer.
4. Citrus Fruits
Who doesn’t love an orange or grapefruit for breakfast or just a snack with your kids? Not only are citrus fruits delicious and versatile, but they’re also great for your liver health.
Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons are rich in vitamin C, which helps boost your immune system. This can keep colds at bay and maintain your health.
Citrus fruits also stimulate the liver and help it turn your body’s toxins into substances that can be readily absorbed by water. Eating citrus fruits regularly helps to reduce liver inflammation and improve detoxification. Grapefruit, in particular, is high in the antioxidants naringin and naringenin, which have been shown to lessen inflammation and shield your liver from damage.
5. Olive Oil
Although it’s called an oil, olive oil is considered a healthy fat with health benefits that can help protect your liver. Olive oil’s positive effects on liver fat and inflammation have been well documented in many scientific studies.
Olive oil is great to cook with and not only provides flavor for your dishes, but it’ll also help maintain your liver’s health, so it functions properly for years to come. Olive oil lowers your bad cholesterol (LDL) without decreasing the good cholesterol (HDL).
Studies have concluded that incorporating olive oil into your diet can significantly reduce the fat deposit in your liver. A compound found in olive oil, hydroxytyrosol, has even been shown to reduce the adverse effects of fatty liver disease.
Walnuts can also be placed in the superfood category. Walnuts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation also. They are among the most beneficial for reducing fatty liver disease thanks to their higher antioxidant and fatty acid content.
Studies show that a ‘Mediterranean Diet’ that includes walnuts and olive oil had a positive effect on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) due to reducing the fat deposits on the liver that cause the disease.
That’s not all. Walnuts provide benefits for your liver, but they also boost your brain health and blood circulation. Eat them by themselves or sprinkle them in salads, oatmeal, or yogurt. They’re a great addition not only to a meal but to your overall health.
Turmeric is a spice that might be one of the most effective nutritional supplements in existence today. It’s commonly found in curry and gives it that orange color. It has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that can keep your liver healthy and functioning properly.
Studies show that by fighting inflammation, Turmeric and Curcumin help your body fight against not only liver disease but also heart disease, cancer, and possibly even Alzheimer’s.
Turmeric is one of the best foods to cleanse your liver because it also aids the liver in producing bile, which helps the liver break down fats and toxins.
Blueberries taste great and are also widely considered a superfood. Like other foods on this list, blueberries are rich in anthocyanins, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that help protect your liver. They can help increase immune cell response and increase antioxidant enzymes in your body.
Eating blueberries regularly can help reduce inflammation and improve detoxification. Blueberries protect the liver from oxidative stress by reducing inflammation in your body. Eating blueberries regularly can also protect against liver disease or damage and reduce the risk of fibrosis.
To Wrap It Up
At the size of a football, the liver is the largest organ in your body and directly affects your overall health. Why not keep it protected and functioning at its peak capacity? There are many great foods to cleanse your liver, and we’ve talked about eight of the best ones here.
It’s estimated that 25% of adults have fatty liver disease. This is something that can absolutely be prevented. At Tandem Clinical Research, our mission is to advance the science of medicine while improving the quality of life of our patients. Our team believes in providing best-in-class care to our patients while conducting compassionate research.
Contact us with any questions you have about our research, including current trials involving nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.