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 stores nutrients and creates bile, which is necessary to digest and absorb the nutrients in food properly. That isn’t all, it also eliminates toxins and breaks down alcohol and medication, as well as any natural by-products that are formed during the body’s metabolic process. If your liver fails to function properly, it can lead to liver disease, metabolic disorder, build-up of toxins and even type 2 diabetes. Therefore, a healthy and happy liver translates into greater well-being!
There are many foods and drinks that a person can consume to help protect the liver. Here’s a list that can help your liver stay healthy:
Coffee is not just great to keep you awake and get you through the day, but it appears to be good for the liver, especially because it protects against issues such as fatty liver disease. Health experts suggest that drinking coffee ensures protection from disease, even in those who have issues with the liver. For instance, studies 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!
2. Green Tea
Just like coffee, tea is known to be extremely helpful for a healthy liver as it has a good amount of antioxidants. A 2015 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 (NAFLD). According to a Japanese study, consuming at least 5-10 cups of green tea daily improved blood markers of liver health. Besides, it is also believed to lower the risk of liver cancer. Try to include 2-3 cups of sugarless green tea (avoid extracts or supplements, choose pure green tea) to avail its benefits and ensure a healthy liver.
3. Grapefruit and grapes
A powerhouse of antioxidants and vitamins, grapefruit has proven to be beneficial for good liver health. According to several studies, 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 study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology reports that grapes, grape juice, and grape seeds are rich in antioxidants that may help the liver by reducing inflammation and preventing liver damage. A grape seed extract supplement may also provide antioxidants. Also, grapes are easily available so adding this to your diet certainly helps!
4. Blueberries and cranberries
Blueberries and cranberries, both contain very good amounts of antioxidants that give them their colour and add to their nutritional value. According to several studies, consumption of whole cranberries and blueberries, and 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.
5. Fibre-rich foods
Known to be high in fibre content, vegetables and fruits like broccoli, carrots, beets, avocado, papaya, spinach, and other greens are great for a healthy liver. They are known to accelerate a detox reaction in your liver. 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.
6. Foods with Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of 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, and 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. A handful of nuts and seeds daily can protect your liver from damage and aid in its healing.
7. Liver detox
A liver detox is said to be useful for a healthy liver. It is a process that facilitates the removal of toxins and unwanted waste products from the body. There are several detoxes available to cleanse the liver wherein juices and herbal teas are consumed for several days, 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, a healthy 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!