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10 Foods that Boost & Naturally Cleanse the Liver

Cleanse and Boost Your Liver With These 10 Foods

Love your liver and it will love you back!

This vital organ is an absolute powerhouse with so many jobs that keep you alive and healthy. Did you know that the liver performs more than 500 vital functions? Of the hundreds of tasks the liver is responsible for, one of the most important is that it detoxifies the body and helps to remove harmful substances.

Lifestyle factors like smoking, drinking alcohol, pollution, and eating processed foods all put the liver to work. In order to perform its job, the liver needs the right nutrients to be in top condition. By eating well and consuming the best foods, you can naturally boost and cleanse your liver.

Here are ten foods you can add into your diet to boost your liver and naturally cleanse the body:

  • Garlic
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemons and limes
  • Green vegetables
  • Avocado
  • Walnuts
  • Turmeric
  • Healthy fats
  • Beetroot
  • Tea

What is the Role of the Liver?

Human Liver Anatomy. 3D|foods that boost and naturally cleanse the liver

The liver is a large and crucial organ that sits on the right side of the stomach and weighs about three pounds. The essential organ has several roles vital to keeping you alive. It stores iron and vitamins and produces bile to break down and digest fats. The liver also works with the gallbladder, pancreas, and intestines to digest, absorb, and process your food.

The gallbladder sits just under the liver. The bile that’s produced by the liver is all stored in the gallbladder. By detoxing your liver and gallbladder, you can get rid of toxins that have accumulated and make sure your body is working at an optimum level.

Related: Spring into the Season! Detox your liver and Gallbladder

As the largest organ in the body, the liver has three main functions which are detoxification, storage, and synthesis. The liver filters the blood flowing from the digestive tract before letting it flow through the rest of the body. The liver eliminates many toxins from the body that are naturally present from waste generated in the body from the things you consume.

The liver metabolizes drugs and cleanses the body of chemicals. Additionally, the organ is essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It also stores vitamins A, D, E, and K and glycogens. This means that it stores energy like sugar, making it available when the body needs it.

These are just some of the important things the liver does.

Some of the other key roles of the liver include:

  • Burning fat
  • Producing bile (carries away waste and breaks down fat in the small intestine)
  • Producing cholesterol and certain proteins to carry fats through the body
  • Storing and releasing glucose as needed
  • Fighting infection by making immune factors as well as removing bacteria from the blood

When the liver starts to become overwhelmed with pollutants or toxins, its natural function begins to slow. Although alcohol and drugs can be taxing on the liver, things like processed and fried foods can overload the liver, especially when eaten in high quantities.

Related: Clean Out Your Body for a Healthy Liver

It’s pretty clear our health would significantly suffer without a healthy, efficiently operating liver. The good news is that a lot of the food you probably already eat is helping to naturally cleanse your liver and give it a boost.

You don’t need to go on a strict detox to reset your body, you can add delicious and healthy foods to your diet to stimulate your liver’s natural ability to remove toxins from the body, and perform the functions your body needs to survive.

How Does Food Affect Your Liver Health?

chopping fresh vegetables on a cutting board|how does food affect your liver health

Considering good nutrition can support your liver, it comes as no surprise that a poor diet high in refined sugar and processed fats can negatively impact the liver. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables is essential to maintaining a healthy weight, feeling strong and supporting the liver. A strong liver is usually a prerequisite to feeling healthy.

When it comes to fatty liver disease, there are two major types; non-alcoholic and alcohol-induced fatty liver disease. Fatty liver disease is the leading contributor to liver failure and affects almost a third of the American population.

As the name suggests, fatty liver disease means you have too much fat in your liver. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is most commonly found in people who are obese, very sedentary and tend to eat a diet rich in highly processed foods. Obesity is associated with an increased risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

One of the primary ways to treat fatty liver disease, regardless of type, is to change your diet. By eating a diet high in fiber with very little sugar, salt, saturated fat, refined carbohydrates, and no alcohol, you can reduce the risk of fatty liver disease and boost your liver naturally.

10 Foods to Boost and Naturally Cleanse the Liver

Because a healthy liver is so crucial, it’s of paramount importance to feed it nourishing and strengthening foods for optimal function. Below, you’ll find some of the top general liver-boosting, liver-cleansing foods necessary for regularly consuming to keep your body strong and well.

1. Garlic

A number of compounds in garlic contain sulfur, and these compounds help activate the liver enzymes responsible for removing toxins from the body. Additionally, garlic contains allicin and selenium; these two nutrients protect the liver from damage and also detoxify the body.

2. Grapefruit

This citrus fruit is naturally high in vitamin C as well as other antioxidant nutrients that cleanse the liver. Grapefruit also has compounds that increase the production of liver detoxification enzymes. Furthermore, grapefruit has something called naringenin, a compound that helps the liver burn fat rather than store it.

3. Lemons and Limes

These sour citrus fruits provide many of the same antioxidant protection that grapefruit does, and are also high in vitamin C.

4. Green Vegetables

Dark, leafy greens have an array of nutrients that boost and cleanse the liver. They also neutralize heavy metals and contribute to the production of bile. Vegetables like broccoli and brussel sprouts are both delicious and high in beneficial plant compounds.

Studies have found that broccoli sprout extract and brussel sprouts increase detoxification enzyme levels and help protect the liver from damage. Evidence shows that the same beneficial effects on the liver also remain after cooking brussel sprouts.

To add more brussel sprouts to your diet, try this delicious dish of sundried tomatoes and sprouts. Add some nutritional yeast for some extra flavor.

Recipe: Brussels Sprouts and Sundried Tomatoes

5. Avocado

This delicious food is high in an antioxidant known as glutathione, which is particularly helpful at protecting and boosting the function and cleansing capabilities of the liver. Avocados have even been shown to help heal a damaged liver.

6. Walnuts

Walnuts are high in an amino acid called l-arginine, as well as healthy omega-3 fats, and the antioxidant vitamin E. These compounds boost the liver, particularly of ammonia. Walnuts also oxygenate the blood.

Vitamin E has several health benefits and is great for the heart and the liver. In a six-month observational study, researchers investigated the effects of eating nuts on 106 patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The results showed an improvement in liver enzyme levels after eating nuts regularly for six months.

7. Turmeric

This root is extremely powerful at boosting liver health and function. It has a strong protective effect on the liver and can even assist in the regeneration of damaged liver cells. Additionally, turmeric produces bile, improves the function of the gallbladder, and supplies strong antioxidant nutrients that detoxify the liver of toxic debris.

Related: 11 Health Benefits of Curcumin Turmeric’s Secret Weapon

8. Healthy Fats

Healthy fats such as naturally occurring saturated fats from organic coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, raw nuts and seeds, avocado, and other such sources protect the liver and keep it functioning optimally.

Related: Healthy Fats: Your Brain’s BFF!

9. Beetroot

Beetroot juice is rich in nitrates and antioxidants called betalains, all of which may support heart health and decrease oxidative stress and inflammation. Although eating beetroots whole can be a tasty addition to any dish, the majority of studies use beetroot juice to get the most benefits out of it. You can either buy fresh beetroot juice or juice beets at home yourself.

Several studies have found that beetroot juice reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, especially in the liver. Beetroot juice has also been found to boost natural detoxification enzymes. These enzymes are very important for breaking down and eliminating toxins from the body.

10. Tea

Whether you have a cold or feel a bit run down, you’ve probably heard that there’s a tea for that. Tea is widely considered beneficial for your health but evidence suggests it could be great for your liver.

One Japanese study investigated the effects of drinking green tea on liver health. Researchers found that drinking 5-10 cups of green tea was associated with improved markers for liver health.

Another study focused on the effects of green tea in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. They found that after 12 weeks of drinking green tea rich in antioxidants, patients experienced improved liver enzyme levels. Green tea may also reduce fat deposits in the liver and decrease oxidative stress.

4 Worst Foods For Your Liver Health

Diet plays an essential role in liver health. While some foods can benefit your liver, others may be harmful. As well as incorporating liver-healthy foods into your diet, here are four foods to actively avoid to help keep your liver healthy.

1. Fatty Foods

Highly processed foods and fatty foods like French fries are high in saturated fat. These types of foods can make it harder for your liver to do its job. Over time, consistently eating very fatty foods may lead to inflammation.

2. Limit Your Sugar Intake

Try and stay away from sugary foods like candy, soda, and cookies. High blood sugar can increase the amount of fat buildup in the liver.

3. Alcohol

The liver is the organ that metabolizes alcohol but, it can only metabolize a certain amount of alcohol at a time. When the alcohol in the blood becomes too high, it can interrupt the functioning of the liver.

4. Ease Up on the Salt

If you eat too much salt, it can make your body hold onto excess water. Your body does need salt, but probably not as much as you get on a daily basis. Research suggests that a high-salt diet may harm the liver in both adults and developing embryos.

Related: Clean Out Your Body for a Healthy Liver

When the liver is working optimally it can flush out harmful toxins, store vitamins, and minerals and produce bile effortlessly. By following a diet rich in fiber, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, you give your liver the best chance to work properly. Drink plenty of water and add foods to your diet that boost and naturally cleanse the liver.

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 1, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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