(article by Frances Murchison, HHC, AADP – Rodale News)
Foods for your liver are essential to keeping your body’s powerhouse—your liver—functioning optimally. 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!
Use these foods for your liver to start feeling better:
After 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 your body is fully hydrated (which most of us usually aren’t!). Usually eight to 10 8-ounce glasses will do the trick. Just don’t overdo it—too much water can be harmful, too.
Skip the ice when you’re drinking water in between meals. Your body uses energy to warm the ice, diluting important digestive enzymes.
Crucifers contain vital phytonutrients—flavonoids, carotenoids, sulforaphane, and indoles—to help your liver neutralize chemicals, pesticides, drugs, and carcinogens. Crucifer foods include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, and daikon, a root rich in phenolic compounds that could prevent the formation of carcinogen in your stomach in response to foods made with hydrogenated oils and sodium nitrite.
Dark Leafy Greens
Kale, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage are powerful brassica 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 and recommended plants to support liver detoxification. One of it’s 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, such as cadmium, 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 superhigh in enzymes, proteins that act as catalysts for all of your body’s functions. Broccoli sprouts appear to be high in sulforaphane, which triggers your body’s natural cancer protection.
Garlic—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 your liver rid your body of mercury, certain food additives, and the hormone estrogen.
Onions, shallots, and leeks—A relative of garlic, these foods also contain those smelly sulfur compounds that support your liver in its production of glutathione, the compound in every cell of your body that neutralizes free radicals.
Eggs—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 the egg yolk and protects your liver from a wide range of toxic substances, while detoxifying heavy metals.
Artichokes—Two phytonutrients found in artichokes, cynarin and silymarin, have been shown to nourish your liver, increase bile production, and prevent gallstones.
Berries—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—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.
Flax seeds—A great source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, freshly ground flax seeds help regulate hormone levels.
Hemp seeds—A mix of clean omega-6 and omega-3 fats, hemp seeds help ease inflammation while lowering dangerous blood fat levels.
Chia seeds—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.
Coconut oil—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 pancreatic fat-digesting enzymes are not essential, which produces less strain on your liver so it can work more efficiently.
Avocado—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.