A plant-based diet is one of the best ways to improve your health, lower your risk for many diseases, and enhance your liver function. When your liver loses its ability to perform its many functions, you lose your lifeline. But never fear, there are a dozen ways to enhance your liver function. And if you’ve heard the term, “cheaper by the dozen,” it applies here. These twelve foods are inexpensive.
- Green Tea – A 2013 study in the Journal of Molecular Medicine reveals that green tea may help reduce overall fat content, fight against oxidative stress and reduce other signs of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). So drink up, my friends, but in moderation.
- Coffee – According to the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, coffee appears to reduce fat buildup in the liver, increase protective antioxidants, and helps liver enzymes to rid the body of cancer-causing substances. Another reason to start your day with this powerful drink. But it’s always best in moderation and not after 3 p.m.
- Garlic – Garlic contains many organic sulfur compounds that promote biological activities in the body and liver such as detoxification. The selenium in garlic supports the thyroid gland. Garlic is also known to enhance the immune system.
- Berries – Dark berries such as blueberries, raspberries and cranberries contain antioxidants called polyphenols, which may protect the liver from damage. Eating berries also stimulates the immune system. It’s no secret that my husband and I both eat one cup of blueberries each day in our smoothie. Read this former blog for more details.
- Lemons, limes and grapefruit – These citrus fruits are all natural sources of vitamin C and contain powerful antioxidants. Like garlic, they boost the production of liver enzymes, which promote detoxification in our bodies. (However, grapefruit is not recommended for heart patients taking certain medications.)
- Cruciferous vegetables – Brassica vegetables such as Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, arugula, watercress, and broccoli contain sulfur compounds that support detoxification and health of the liver. They also help the liver to metabolize hormones. This is especially important for breast and estrogen- fed cancer patients. A recent study in men with fatty liver disease found that Brussel sprouts extract improved liver enzymes and decreased oxidative stress.
- Avocado – Avocado is actually a fruit that contains glutathione, which protects the liver from incoming waster and toxins. It also assists the liver in eliminating chemicals and toxins from your body. For more info on avocados, click here to view my previous blog post.
- Leafy vegetables – Leafy greens contain numerous cleansing compounds that neutralize heavy metals and stimulate bile flow. Your liver loves bitter. So leafy greens such as dandelion, mustard greens, chicory, and arugula are great. And the bitter, the better! View my blog post on arugula.
- Turmeric – This herb contains high antioxidants, which repair liver cells, protect against cellular damage and assist in detoxification. Due to the pungent taste, folks like me choose to take this as a supplement daily to lower inflammation and relieve pain.
- Grapes and grape seed extract – Grapes, especially red and purple ones, contain a variety of beneficial plant compounds such as resveratrol. A study with NAFLD patients showed that supplementation with grape seed extract improves liver function.
- Beetroot juice –Beetroot juice contains nitrates and betalains (an antioxidant), which reduce oxidative damage and inflammation.
- Nuts – Nuts especially walnuts are high in healthy fats including vitamin E and beneficial plant compounds that benefit the liver. Nut intake has been associated with improved liver enzyme levels.
There are also foods to avoid to keep your liver healthy:
Fatty foods like chips
Starchy foods such as breads, pastas and baked goods
Too much sugar (cutting back reduces stress on your liver)
If you are to remain healthy, you must show love and care for your liver. By investing in these dozen foods that enhance your liver, you can live longer and healthier. And you will save yourself lots of money over time with these foods that together are “cheaper by the dozen” in saving you healthcare dollars. And what does our liver have to do with cancer? EVERYTHING!
Can anyone share more foods that enhance liver function? How about tasty recipes that keep your liver working as God intended?
For Your Health,
PS. For more information on the liver, check out this post from one of my favorite functional medicine doctors, Dr. David Jockers: