30 Best Foods To Eat for a Healthy Liver
If you want to stay in tip-top shape, you need to look after your liver.
The human liver is a vital organ that performs a number of key functions. According to WebMD:
“The liver’s main job is to filter the blood coming from the digestive tract, before passing it to the rest of the body. The liver also detoxifies chemicals and metabolises drugs. As it does so, the liver secrets bile that ends up back in the intestines. The liver also makes proteins important for blood clotting and other functions.”
As you can see, then, it’s pretty important!
The thing is that many of us don’t pay at all that much attention unless it stops functioning properly and we begin to get sick. We joke about how we hope our liver can forgive us after our bout of drinking at the weekend.
This kind of disregarded for such a key organ is perhaps one of the reasons why as many as 100,000,000 Americans are thought to have a fatty liver. Of those, 10% will go onto develop cirrhosis, which is deadly unless a suitable replacement liver is found.
What Happens When Our Liver Breaks Down?
The good news is that, if your liver isn’t doing too well, it will let you know. This then gives you plenty of time to fix your diet so that your liver can properly regenerate (the liver is the only organ that can regenerate) and doesn’t go onto develop chronic liver disease. Or, worse still, cirrhosis.
There a number of things that start to happen to your body when your liver starts to break down:
- you can’t lose weight
- you feel bloated all the time
- you don’t feel like eating
- you’re forever constipated
- your urine is dark
- you have constant headaches
- Anxiety flares up
- you’re always tired and low on energy
- you feel depressed
- you bruise easily and often with no cause
- your skin and eyes are yellow
The good news is that, if you have started to develop one or two of these symptoms, switching to a better, more liver-friendly diet can reverse them in just a few weeks.
If you haven’t got any of the above symptoms but you’ve woken up to the fact that at the foundation of good health is a happy liver, join us as we take a look at the top 30 foods to eat for a healthy liver.
Let’s start with something nice and easy that you probably already know and love: Coffee.
If you want a healthier liver, all the signs are that you should drink more coffee. Have a cup of Joe first thing in the morning and then a few more as the day goes along – and don’t feel bad about it!
Research has been done into the positive effects that coffee has on the liver, and it’s been found that coffee can reduce your risk of developing permanent liver damage if you’ve already been diagnosed with a fatty liver.
This is most likely down to the fact that coffee stops the build up of collagen and fat in your system, two things that are common signs of liver disease.
Coffee is also known to reduce inflammation while producing more health-promoting antioxidants in your body.
From now on, then, double down on your coffee intake! Cheers!
Prefer tea to coffee? No problem – tea works just as well.
Indeed, tea drinkers should be celebrating just as much as coffee drinkers. This is probably down to the high levels of antioxidants that are found in herbal teas – especially green tea.
Indeed, green tea is know to be especially beneficial when it comes to your liver because it’s SO high in antioxidants. What these guys do is they reduce the amount of fat and oxidative stress in your liver, thus relieving its burden somewhat. Total babes, right?
Moreover, studies have also shown that those who drink green tea have a reduced risk of liver cancer.
Grapes have a long history – even the ancient Athenians used to eat them!
Grapes are great because they’re convenient, easy to snack on and oh so tasty. Grapes are fine.
Even better, grapes have been researched extensively. The conclusion? They’re ideal for a healthy liver!
It doesn’t matter what grape you go for – black grape, green grape or even red grape – they’re all good. Just grab a bundle, add them to salads or sandwiches, or just eat them on their own. They’re a much healthier snack than candy!
The luscious red tomatoes are among the healthiest foods on the planet. They look great, taste great – they are great!
And if you want to look after your liver more, they’re pretty much essential.
This is because tomatoes are rich in a compound called glutathione, which essentially detoxifies your liver. For this reason, it’s a very good idea to consume lots of tomatoes after a heavy night of drinking!
As well as this, tomatoes also contain another beneficial compound known as lycopene. This compound looks after your skin and can even reduce your risk of developing cancer.
Admit it – you were hoping to see avocados on here!
The sexiest fruit alive right now (okay, except mangos), avocado’s are very on trend at the moment. However, just because everyone from your vegan best friend to your grandma is eating them, that doesn’t mean they’ve not got substance.
As it turns out, avocados have both style and substance. They’re probably popular because people think it’s cool to eat them, but these beauties also have some useful health benefits.
As well as being so rich in fibre that they can help you lose weight, avocados also contain a compound called glutathione. It’s a bit of a mouthful but it’s very beneficial to humans. This compound takes a load off your liver by helping it to eliminate nasty, harmful toxins from your body.
Avocados are great in salads and sandwiches, and they also work well when paired up with scrambled eggs.
No, not everyone likes Brussels sprouts. In fact, many people can’t stand them!
But here’s the thing: If you happen to love Brussels sprouts it’s time to double down on them because they’ll work wonders for your liver.
The reason for this is because these green dudes are rich in both glucosinolate and sulphur, both of which force your liver to release more enzymes. These enzymes then go onto protect your system from the damage done to them by dietary and environmental toxins.
After the sexiness of avocados comes – for some people – the unsexiness of the leafy green.
At Beauty and Tips, though, we think that the humble leafy green gets a bit of a bad rep. Okay, so these guys aren’t as trendy as an avocado – but there’s still a lot to love about em.
And when we say a lot, we mean a LOT.
When it comes to making sure your liver is nice and healthy and functions properly, leafy greens – which include spinach and kale – are your allies. They’re rich in chlorophyll that, while it doesn’t sound especially pleasant, is able to absorb environmental toxins that have been swimming around your bloodstream.
Leafy greens also neutralise pesticides, chemicals and heavy metals that have made their way into your system.
There’s no need to stop at just spinach and kale, either. Try adding more dandelion to your diet, as well as swiss chard and bok choi. Be creative with your leafy greens and your liver will thank you!
Also not quite as sexy as the avocado, the lean asparagus still knows how to strut its stuff in the name of liver health.
Asparagus works wonders for your liver because it’s rich in the likes of potassium, magnesium, fibre, choline, folate and lots of vitamins.
Studies have been done into the effectiveness of asparagus on liver health and they’ve found that asparagus helps by suppressing hepatoma cell growth. Asparagus also minimises reactive oxygen species, and it helps to eliminate the likes of ethanol and hydrogen peroxide from your system.
Garlic is a funny thing – when chopped up, it’s tiny, it smells weird, and yet dieticians, health experts and nutritionists all around the world agree that we should consume more of it.
In fact, they say that we should try to consume garlic each day. How come?
Because garlic is so beneficial to our health!
Garlic aids your liver by activating enzymes that then go onto eliminate pesky toxins from your system.
Garlic also contains selenium and allicin, two compounds that help to clean your liver.
The great thing is that garlic really does taste good and adds a kick to your meals. And now you’ve got even more of a reason to add it to your dishes!
Oh-la-la, red cabbage!
Let’s face it, red cabbage is by far the sexiest cabbage. It looks great, tastes great, and it’s also super beneficial to your health.
This is because red cabbage is stocked up with all kinds of vital anthocyanins and antioxidants that your liver needs in order to keep functioning properly. Red cabbage helps to lower your levels of bad cholesterol, and it can also keep your liver nice and safe from toxicity.
For best results, aim to start eating red cabbage 2 – 3 times a week from now on.
Okay, we admit that some of you will find this suggestion a bit strange, and we’re not going to lie – it is a bit odd.
However, what we’re not saying is that you should start picking lots of dandelion flowers and eating them (thank gosh, right?!).
Instead, all you need to do is drink more dandelion tea – which is perfectly normal!
Dandelion tea works like a charm because it’s able to help your live break down the fats that enter your body. It then produces more amino acids and helps to eliminate toxins from your system.
Go on, make yours a cup of dandelion tea – it’s not weird at all!
Lemons and Limes
When life gives you lemons …
Well, you know how it goes. But you should also start making the most of limes, too.
Lemons and limes come with lots of health benefits, and it’s highly recommended that you drink lemon or lime juice first thing in the morning.
Why? Because these citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, which allows them to flush out toxins that have built up in your system the night before.
Moreover, lemon and lime juice is well worth drinking in the morning because they stimulate your liver, kicking it into action. And isn’t it better to do this as soon as the day begins?!
Beetroot seems to be one of the most overlooked vegetables, and yet we can’t understand why – it’s just SO colourful and begs to be picked in the supermarket.
Not only is it bright and colourful, but beetroot is also really healthy and it LOVES your liver.
The reason beets are so good for the liver is because they contain betalains. These are powerful antioxidants that can repair liver injury that’s been caused by pesky carcinogens.
And if you can’t find a way of adding more beets to your salads and sandwiches, drink a glass of beet juice each day instead.
A lot of people eat the wrong kind of grains. These are rye and wheat grains that prove rather taxing on your liver’s resources. Instead of helping your liver out, they make your liver work harder than it needs to – which is really not cool at all!
Instead, what you need to start doing is add more alternative grains to your diet.
There are lots to choose from, and buckwheat, millet and quinoa are just some examples.
Have you been wondering what oil you should cook with?
We know what it’s like – there are so many different oils to choose from! From coconut oil to avocado oil to rapeseed oil, which one do you go for!?
While each oil has its own merits, olive oil is the one to go for if you want to maintain a healthy liver.
Why? Because olive oil is loaded in precisely the antioxidants that your liver needs. The more olive oil you consume, the less fat you’ll have in your system. Moreover, your blood will improve, as well your liver enzyme levels. It’s pure win.
If you already eat lots of nuts, you’re already winning. If you don’t, it’s time to consider adding more nuts to your diet.
Nuts are easy to eat and they’re nutritionally dense. For something so small, a nut is an absolute powerhouse that supercharges your health.
Specifically, blueberries and cranberries.
Why do these berries work so well when it comes to protecting your liver? It’s because they’re rich in exactly the right kind of antioxidants that your liver needs if it’s to keep doing its job properly.
Indeed, the more blueberries and cranberries you can add to your diet, the better your immune cell response. Not just this, but you will also have more antioxidant enzymes in your system, which is exactly what you want.
Well, you know what they say, right? An apple a day keeps the doctor away!
Apples are an important fruit that are rich in fibre and powerful antioxidants. Some have even gone as far as describing them as a “miracle food”!
To be fair, that might not be too far from the truth. See, apples can offer you lots of health benefits. For one thing, they improve your brain health, and for another they can prevent dementia.
Apples can also reduce your risk of a stroke, lower your levels of bad cholesterol – and, of course, they’re good for your liver.
Apples are good for your liver because they contain a compound called pectin that’s able to clean your colon and rid your system of nasty toxins. In this way, they’re taking a massive load off your liver by sharing the burden.
Carrots are funny looking things, and you can guarantee that if they weren’t a vibrant orange they wouldn’t sell anywhere near as well as they do.
The thing is that there’s more to the carrot than its colour. The carrot is super tasty, easy to cook and versatile.
It’s also really healthy, too.
When it comes to aiding your liver, carrots have a lot going for them. They contain plenty of fibre, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants that have powerful long-term benefits.
In fact, studies have shown that carrots can reduce your risk of developing a fatty liver and they can also reduce liver toxicity.
All you need to do is start adding more carrots to your meals – soups and broths are good places to start, but also consider sandwiches and casseroles, too.
Alternatively, you could drink a glass of carrot juice each day.
The human liver is a pretty big fan of spices. Its fav spice? Turmeric.
Turmeric is a godsend for a weary liver that’s had to cope with a weekend of you drinking. This Indian spice assists enzymes that eliminate bad toxins that have been allowed to build in your system.
And the best thing? Like garlic, turmeric offers a kick and a vitality to any dish you add it to. Because it’s so versatile and can go with so many different dishes (even scrambled eggs!), it’s super easy to get your turmeric fix.
Ah, broccoli. The bane of our childhoods! Whenever we saw that mom had added broccoli to our plate of foods as kids, who didn’t then affix her with a sharp ‘WHAT’ stare?!
The thing is that, as many of us have got older, we’ve come to realise that broccoli is actually one of the most amazing vegetables on the planet. Not only does it taste good, but it acts as the perfect foil for so many meats.
Moreover, broccoli is also good for your liver. How so?
Because broccoli contains sulphurous compounds, it’s able to flush nasty carcinogens out of your system while also boosting your metabolism. These compounds also have anti-inflammatory properties.
There’s also the fact that broccoli has been researched extensively and has been found to reduce our risk of developing a fatty liver.
Fatty fish is very good for you!
Fatty fish includes the likes of salmon and tuna, and you should aim to eat at least 2 portions a week.
It’s not that hard to get these 2 portions. Salmon works well as a breakfast along with eggs, for example, while a tuna salad, anyone?
Mackerel and toast is a great way to get more fatty fish into your diet, too.
But why does fatty fish work so well for your liver?
It works because of the crucial omega-3 fatty acids that it contains. These help your liver to stop fat from building up, and they also help to fight inflammation. Moreover, they can help your liver maintain its optimum enzyme levels, too.
At the same time, you should do what you can to lower your levels of omega-6’s. When you have more omega-6’s in your system than omega-3s, it can increase your risk of developing liver disease.
The great thing about the foods on this list is that every single one of them provides more than one health benefit. They look after your liver, but they look after you in many other ways too.
Add them to your diet, and find ways to be creative with them. Make the switch from junk foods to whole foods as soon as possible and – as hard as this may be – cut down on alcohol, too. It could be the best decision you make.
Stay happy and healthy!