34 FOODS THAT WILL BOOST YOUR LIVER FUNCTION
A healthy liver plays a key role in relieving digestive issues, such as a sluggish metabolism, gas, bloating, and constipation. It regulates blood sugar levels, which, when out of balance, can cause sugar cravings, fatigue, and fuzzy thinking.
A toxic liver can lead to inflammatory diseases, such as diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, and autoimmune diseases. Without a healthy liver, you may suffer from hormonal imbalances that can cause headaches, mood swings, and depression. It’s time to nurture this amazing organ with foods that help it function optimally.
Other than oxygen, your body needs water more than any other substance, including food, just to survive. Because water flushes toxins and waste products from your body, you feel more energized and alert when you’re fully hydrated, and most of us often aren’t. Usually 8 to 10 glasses (8 oz) will do the trick; try these naturally flavored water recipes to start. Just don’t overdo it—too much water can be harmful, too.
And skip the ice when you’re drinking water between meals; your body uses energy to warm the ice, diluting important digestive enzymes.
Crucifers, which include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, and daikon, contain vital phytonutrients—flavonoids, carotenoids, sulforaphane, and indoles—to help your liver neutralize chemicals, pesticides, drugs, and carcinogens. They’re also some of the best foods to fight spring allergies.
DARK LEAFY GREENS
Kale, brussels sprouts, and cabbage are powerful vegetables that contain high levels of sulfur, which supports your liver in its detoxification process, triggering it to remove free radicals and other toxic chemicals.
Dandelion is another dark leafy green known as one of the most effective plants to support liver detoxification. One of its chemical components, taraxacin, is believed to stimulate the digestive organs and trigger the liver and gallbladder to release bile, which supports digestion and fat absorption.
One of the oldest inhabitants of the Earth, sea vegetables detoxify your body by preventing assimilation of heavy metals as well as other environmental toxins. Studies at McGill University have revealed that a compound in brown algae (arame, kombu, and wakame) reduced the uptake of radioactive particles into bone.
SPROUTED SEEDS, NUTS, BEANS, AND GRAINS
The energy contained in a seed, grain, nut, or legume is ignited through soaking and sprouting. And those sprouts are super-high in enzymes, proteins that act as catalysts for all of your body’s functions. For example, broccoli sprouts are high in sulforaphane, which triggers your body’s natural cancer protection.
One of the oldest land-based medicinal foods on the planet, garlic contains an active sulfur-based compound called allicin, a critical supporter of liver detoxification. It helps the organ rid your body of mercury, certain food additives, and the hormone estrogen.
ONIONS, SHALLOTS, AND LEEKS
Onion, shallots, and leeks have multiple health benefits. These garlic relatives contain sulfur compounds that support your liver in its production of glutathione, a compound that neutralizes free radicals.
Eggs provide some of the highest-quality protein, containing all eight essential amino acids, cholesterol, and the essential nutrient choline. Your liver needs these essential amino acids to perform detoxification processes. Choline, a coenzyme needed for metabolism, is found in egg yolk and protects your liver from toxins while detoxifying heavy metals.
Two phytonutrients found in artichokes, cynarin and silymarin, have been shown to nourish your liver, increase bile production, and prevent gallstones.
Maitake, shiitake, and reishi mushrooms are thought to provide significant healing nutrients that nourish and support your immune system. These medicinal mushrooms contain a powerful antioxidant called L-ergothioneine, which neutralizes free radicals while increasing enzymes that boost antioxidant activity.
Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and cranberries are among nature’s superfoods because they contain phytochemicals—antioxidant-rich plant compounds that help your liver protect your body from free radicals and oxidative stress, which have been linked to chronic diseases and aging. Anthocyanin and polyphenols found in berries have been shown to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells in the liver.
Apples, like berries, contain powerful phenolic compounds, including flavonoids, which can fight inflammatory disease. They also contain pectin, a valuable source of soluble fiber than can help eliminate toxic buildup.
Prebiotics are indigestible fibers that feed your beneficial gut flora—basically, they help probiotics grow and flourish. Prebiotic-rich foods include asparagus, leeks, cruciferous vegetables, and several root vegetables—burdock, chicory, dandelion, beets, and Jerusalem artichoke.
These include kimchi—a traditional Korean dish made of fermented cabbage, radish, garlic, red pepper, onion, ginger, and salt—sauerkraut, and real miso. Fermentation, an ancient form of preservation in which food is naturally transformed by microorganisms that break down all of its carbohydrates and protein, aids in digestion.
A great source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, freshly ground flaxseed helps regulate hormone levels.
A mix of omega-6 and omega-3 fats, hemp seeds help ease inflammation while lowering dangerous blood fat levels.
A staple in Central American Aztec and Mayan diets for thousands of years, chia seeds are all-around nutritional powerhouses. Three tablespoons contain 5 grams of protein, 200 milligrams of calcium, 10 grams of healthy fat, and 12 grams of fiber.
An extremely healthy saturated fat, coconut oil is easy to digest and is almost immediately broken down by enzymes in your saliva and gastric juices. This means that your body doesn’t need to make fat-digesting enzymes, which puts less strain on your liver.
A vital source of monounsaturated fat rich in oleic acid, avocados contain glutathione, an essential nutrient for liver health.
COLD-PRESSED, UNREFINED EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Unadulterated olive oil is rich in phenols, the same anti-inflammatory compounds found in berries and apples. Daily consumption of olive oil supports the liver in decreasing oxidative stress in the body.