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Liver Health

21 August 2018

10 foods that are good for your liver

Consuming these foods is a healthy way to keep your liver functioning at its best, naturally.

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Your liver is your largest internal organ, performing more than 500 functions in your body. It is therefore vitally important that you consume the right foods to maintain a healthy liver.

Incorporating these foods into your diet can help keep your liver functioning at its best:

1. Grapefruit

This bitter citrus fruit is high in vitamin C and other antioxidants that are known to protect your liver. These antioxidants help reduce inflammation and prevent damage to cells.

A 2004 Japanese study tested the effects of grapefruit juice on rats and discovered that grapefruit juice suppresses DNA damage to the liver.

liver, foods, grapefruit

2. Grapes

Researchers at the Department of Drug Applied Research Center of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences in Iran found that grape seed extract improved liver function in patients suffering from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NFLD).

Animal and human studies done by the Departments of Biosciences and Pathology at the Federal University of São Paulo in Brazil indicate that grapes and grape seed extract protect the liver from damage, increase antioxidant levels and fight inflammation. 

liver, food, grapes

3. Avocado

Avocados have a healthy fat content and are rich in fibre, which can help with weight control. Glutathione, a compound produced by avocados, is functional in the removal of harmful toxins from the body.

Researchers discovered chemicals in avocados that actively reduce liver damage.

liver, foods, avocado

4. Nuts

Nut consumption is associated with improved liver enzyme levels in patients with NFLD.

An article published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology explains how a low nut intake can be linked to a higher risk of developing the disease.  

liver, food, nuts

5. Prickly pear 

The juice and flesh of opuntia, also known as prickly pear, is commonly used in traditional medicine to treat liver disease, fatigue and ulcers. 

An abstract published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health found that the juice of the pinkish fruit decreased the amount of oxidative damage to the liver after alcohol consumption. 

liver, foods, prickly pear

6. Garlic 

What is garlic? Is it a herb or a vegetable? While this debate continues, it has been found that when garlic is consumed the liver activates enzymes that help the body get rid of harmful toxins. It is also known to be rich in the compounds allicin and selenium that aid liver cleansing.

Studies show that this pungent substance can reduce body weight and fat in people who suffer from NAFLD. liver, food, garlic

7. Olive oil

Olive oil is loaded with powerful antioxidants, but should be consumed in moderation. A journal entry published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology shows that olive oil consumption may decrease the level of fat in the liver and increase blood flow, while improving liver enzyme levels.

liver, foods, olive oil

8. Fatty fish

An abstract published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology shows that fatty fish helps maintain enzyme levels, fights inflammation and prevents fat build up. Consuming omega-3 fatty fish has many benefits for the liver. For further benefits, one should consider lowering one's intake of omega-6 fatty acids as well. 

A study conducted by the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre and Biosciences Institute in Ireland found that a high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio can increase one's risk of liver disease. 

liver, food, fatty fish

9. Lemons and limes 

These citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. The journal entry published on Plants Consumption and Liver Health suggests that these fruits may reduce liver damage. 

It is highly recommended that these citrus fruits are consumed in the morning to stimulate the liver.

liver, foods, lemon, lime

10. Blueberries and cranberries

These small pulpy fruits are soft and juicy, and high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are vital in protecting the liver from damage.

An abstract published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology indicates that by including blueberries in your diet, you can help increase antioxidant enzymes and immune cell response.

liver, food, berries

Image credit: iStock