The liver is a vital organ that is responsible for more than 500 tasks in the body. It helps in detoxification, protein synthesis and aids in the digestion of food. Vitamin K helps the liver to produce proteins that are helpful in blood clotting. It helps break down and absorb fats, cholesterol and vitamins in the body. It is also the only organ in our body that can regenerate. If our liver gets damaged, it can seriously affect our health. There are a variety of foods that are good for your liver.
So, let us read about 16 best foods for liver.
Add these fruits to your diet for a healthier liver.
Grapefruits are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C which help in the detoxification abilities of the liver. Naringenin and naringin are the two primary antioxidants found in grapefruit.
According to studies, naringenin and naringin help protect the liver against injuries (1).
Antioxidants can also help reduce the development of hepatic fibrosis. In this condition, excessive tissue build-up on the liver and this results in chronic inflammation (2).
Grapes, especially the red and purple variety, have many beneficial properties. Grape and grape juice is highly beneficial for the liver. According to a study, grape seed extract helps to improve liver function in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver (3). Since grape seed extract is in concentrated form, having whole grapes may not have the same effect.
4. Prickly pear
Prickly pear is an edible cactus which has been used for its medicinal properties for years. According to a 2004 study, the extract from the prickly pear helps reduce the symptoms of hangovers by decreasing the inflammation associated with drinking alcohol (5).
According to another study done on mice, it was observed that having prickly pear extract helped reduce enzyme and cholesterol levels when consumed with a pesticide that is harmful to the liver (6).
Berries like blueberries and cranberries contain anthocyanins and antioxidants that have many health benefits. Many studies have been done on the beneficial properties of different berries for the liver (7).
Several test tube studies have been done to study the beneficial impact of blueberry extract to help inhibit the growth of human liver cancer cells (8).
6. Lemons and limes
These citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, and they help the body to synthesise toxic materials into material that can be absorbed by water. Vitamin C helps the liver to produce glutathione, a regenerative antioxidant that helps the liver process and eliminate toxins.
Several beverages, including juices, are helpful in keeping your liver healthy. So, drink these for more robust health.
Tea, both green and black, is highly beneficial for your health. A study done on 1371 men aged over 40 in Japan discovered that drinking green tea helps protect against the disorders of the liver (9)
In another study done on patients with the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, it was discovered that patients who consumed green tea for 12 weeks had improved levels of the liver enzyme. They also had reduced oxidative stress and lesser fat deposits in the liver (10).
Drinking green tea also helps reduce the chances of liver cancer.
Black tea is also beneficial for the liver. In research done on rats, it was observed that black tea extract reverses the adverse effect of high-fat diet on the liver (11).
Consuming coffee also helps lower the risk of liver cancer. It also helps reduce the chances of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and inflammation in the liver. These benefits to the liver are all attributed to antioxidative, anti-inflammatory and antifibrotic effects of coffee (13).
According to a study, you must drink at least three cups of coffee every day to reduce the risk of death in people suffering from the chronic liver disease (14).
The antioxidants present in coffee help neutralise harmful free radicals, which can cause damage to cells.
9. Beetroot juice
Drinking beetroot juice provides ascorbic acid, vitamin E, carotenes, phenolic acids and phytoestrogens to the body. It is natural body cleanser and helps cleans the body of heavy metals. It contains betalains that help form glutathione, which helps neutralise toxins and make them water-soluble.
Many studies done on rats have shown that beetroot juice helps reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in the liver (15). More studies need to be done on humans to confirm the findings of these studies.
These vegetables play an essential role to help your liver function optimally.
Garlic contains a powerful antioxidant called allicin which is exceptionally beneficial for the liver. This sulphur-based compound helps your liver get rid of mercury from your body.
According to a study published in the Journal of Agriculture and food chemistry, allicin induces cell death in human liver cancer cells through autophagy or apoptosis.
Other studies have found that garlic is also useful in reducing total serum cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in individuals with elevated total cholesterol levels.
Onions contain disulfides that help the liver to produce glutathione, a compound that neutralises free radicals in the body. Onions are also rich in allicin, which is good for the liver.
Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, Brussels sprouts and daikon. These are highly nutritious and extremely beneficial vegetables. Some animal studies have shown that Brussels sprout and broccoli extract increases the levels of detoxification enzymes and protect the liver from damage (16).
Even when the Brussels sprouts are cooked, they had a similar effect on human liver cells (17). Another study found that extracts of Brussels sprouts improved liver enzyme levels and decreased oxidative stress. This study also discovered that this extract also helped prevent liver failure in rats (18).
13. Leafy vegetables
Leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, chard and romaine are rich in nutrients and they top the list of foods good for liver. They contain chlorophyll that helps in liver function, and they help neutralise heavy metals, toxic chemicals and even pesticides that burden the liver.
Nuts are rich in nutrients like vitamin E and they are also best food for liver. Eating nuts help improve the level of liver enzymes. According to an observational study, men that had small amounts of nuts had a higher risk of developing NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) as compared to the men who ate a large number of nuts (19).
15. Fatty fish
Fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids that help in reducing inflammation and lower the risk of heart disease (20). These fish are beneficial for the liver as they decrease inflammation and keep the enzyme levels normal. It is also essential to reduce the levels of omega-6 fats. If the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is too high, it can lead to liver disease.
16. Olive Oil
Olive oil is also beneficial for our liver. In a study on patients with the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, scientists observed that having one teaspoon of olive oil per day helped improve liver enzyme and fat levels.
There have been many more studies on the effect of olive oil on the health of the liver. It has been discovered that olive oil helps improve insulin sensitivity and blood levels of live enzymes (21).
A healthy liver helps in keeping the whole body healthy. So, you must include foods that are good for your liver in your daily diet plan. The food listed above have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which are essential for a healthy liver.