Eating liver-healthy foods can improve and support liver function on a daily basis. Having a healthy liver results in increased energy and general well-being. A poorly functioning liver can lead to tiredness, headaches, bad breath, allergies and intolerances, skin problems, and weight gain.
Foods that are healthy for the liver fall into two main categories. First are those that promote the liver’s detoxification process. And secondly, those that are rich in antioxidants and therefore protect the liver while it performs its detoxification processes. Below is a list of the top eight foods that are considered good for the liver.
1. Garlic and onion. Garlic contains allicin, which is a sulfur-based compound that is needed by the liver for effective detoxification. Garlic helps the liver to remove mercury from the body, certain food additives, and the hormone estrogen.
2. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage). These vegetables are very powerful liver detoxifiers. They contain chemicals that neutralize certain toxins such as nitrosamines found in cigarette smoke and aflotoxins found in peanuts. They also contain glucosinolates that help the liver produce the enzymes it needs for its detoxification processes.
3. Freshly squeezed lemon in hot water. Drinking freshly squeezed lemon juice in a cup of boiled water first thing in the morning helps cleanse the liver and promote detoxification. It also stimulates bile production, cleanses the stomach and intestines, and stimulates bowel movements.
4. Beets. It is a blood purifying tonic that is also capable of absorbing heavy metals.
5. Fruits high in antioxidants. In a study conducted by the US Department of Agriculture at Tuffs University, the following list of fruits was found to have the highest levels of antioxidants (in descending order): prunes, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, plums, oranges, pink grapefruit, cantaloupe, apples, and pears. Antioxidants help protect the liver from the high levels of free radicals that occur naturally during the detoxification process.
6. Apples. Apples contain pectin which binds to heavy metals in the body (particularly in the colon) and aids in their excretion. This reduces the burden on the liver and its detoxification ability.
7. Artichoke. Increases the production of bile. One of the functions of bile is to eliminate toxins through the intestine, as well as “harmful” microorganisms. It has been suggested that 30 minutes after eating artichoke, the flow of bile increases by more than 100%.
8. Bitter green leaf salad (dandelion, chicory, endive, arugula). The bitterness of these foods helps stimulate the flow of bile within the liver.