The liver is one of the most important organs in our body and performs several vital functions. The liver is responsible for breaking down carbohydrates, making glucose, and detoxing the body. It also creates bile, a juice that digests and absorbs the nutrients in food properly. That isn’t all, it also eliminates toxins and breaks down alcohol and medication. If your liver fails to function properly, it can lead to liver disease, metabolic disorder, build-up of toxins and even type 2 diabetes. Thus, a healthy liver is synonymous to greater well-being! There are many food items that you can consume for a healthy liver. Here’s a list of foods and drinks that help protect your liver:
Coffee is not just great to keep you awake and get you through the day, but it appears to be good for the liver. Health experts suggest that drinking coffee lowers the risk of cirrhosis in those who suffer from chronic liver disease. It is also known to increase protective antioxidants in the liver. Compounds in coffee also help liver enzymes rid the body of cancer-causing substances. 2-3 cups of this aromatic beverage every day can keep you covered!
Tea is known to be extremely helpful for a healthy liver as it is rich in antioxidants. A study in the World Journal of Gastroenterology shows that green tea may help reduce overall fat content in the liver, fight against oxidative stress, and reduce other signs of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. According to Japanese experts, consuming at least 5-10 cups of green tea daily improved blood markers of liver health. Try to include 2-3 cups of sugarless pure green tea to avail its benefits and ensure a healthy liver.
Grapefruit and grapes
A powerhouse of antioxidants and vitamins, grapefruit has proven to be beneficial for good liver health. Several studies have reported that the antioxidants in grapefruit help protect the liver from injury (caused by alcohol, medications and toxins) and also reduce inflammation, thereby ensuring the protection of liver cells. Eating whole, seeded grapes either green or red, is a simple way to add these compounds to the diet. A grape seed extract supplement may also provide antioxidants.
Blueberries and cranberries
Blueberries and cranberries, both contain very good amounts of antioxidants. Consumption of whole cranberries and blueberries, or their extracts and juices, starts to show positive effects as early as three to four weeks. Add a handful of dried cranberries and blueberries to breakfast cereals, yogurt or simply eat along with other dried fruit and nuts.
Known to be high in fibre content, vegetables and fruits like broccoli, carrots, beets, avocado, papaya, spinach and other greens are known to have a positive effect on healing the liver cells by accelerating a detox reaction. High fibre cereals like oats, barley and brown rice also help in improving liver function and reducing fatty content, thereby controlling diseases like fatty liver. Modify your diet and include 2-4 servings of fresh fruits and veggies, whole oats and other unrefined cereals to speed up liver cell recovery and ensure a healthy lifestyle.
Foods with Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of the good fats that help reduce inflammation. These fats may be especially helpful in the liver, as they appear to prevent the buildup of excess fats and maintain enzyme levels in the liver. Oily fish like salmon, mackerel and herring contain good amounts of these fats. If it is difficult to incorporate these fish in your diet, you could opt for fish-oil supplements. Vegetarian sources of omega-3 fats include walnuts, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and many fortified cooking oils like rice bran and olive oil.
There are several detoxes such as juices and herbal teas that claim to cleanse the liver. But none have been scientifically proven to be beneficial. It is very important to seek professional medical guidance while doing a detox, in order to avoid any complications or serious side effects.
To sum it all up, the health of your liver depends on various factors like diet, physical exercise, alcohol abuse and medications. Simple lifestyle changes can go a long way in helping your liver stay healthy, start today!