It may not be the first thing one thinks of when it comes to good health, but don’t underestimate your liver. While the three most important organs in the body are often heralded as the brain, heart and lungs, a healthy liver is important to prolonging your life.
That’s why eating the right food to support your liver is so important, so you are helping it function optimally.
The liver is responsible for filtering blood and breaking down alcohol and medications. It also produces bile which helps digest fats and remove waste. Your diet is vital to your liver, as many foods contain compounds that can help protect against fat buildup, decrease inflammation, and help improve liver enzymes.
Here are seven foods to include in your diet that can help support your liver health naturally.
Surprised? Us too! Drinking coffee helps protect the liver from disease and is one of the best foods to support liver detox. It also helps lower the risk of permanent liver damage (cirrhosis) in people with chronic liver disease. It also helps reduce inflammation and increases antioxidants which neutralise free radicals, which can damage cells.
When it comes to food to support liver health, research has found that green tea reduces levels of liver enzymes in people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). A 2017 review from the National Library of Medicine also found that people who drank green tea were less likely to develop liver cancer.
Cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts and cauliflower – are high in fibre and are rich in certain compounds. Research suggests that these compounds protect against harmful compounds. They may also help reduce the occurrence of fatty liver disease and tumours.
The healthy fat omega-3 is present in fatty fish. It helps reduce inflammation and can help lower the risk of heart disease. Fatty fish can also help lower triglycerides (the main constituents of body fat in humans) in those with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Nuts are one of the best foods to support liver, and should definitely be added to your diet. They have a lot of nutrients with several health benefits, including healthy fats, vitamin E, antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds. Studies have found that these nutrients may lead to a reduced risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
There are two main antioxidants in grapefruit which benefit the liver: naringenin and naringin. They help to reduce inflammation and protect cells. Studies have shown that these antioxidants can help dull the development of hepatic fibrosis. This occurs when there is an excessive connective tissue build up in the liver.
Blueberries and cranberries contain antioxidants known as anthocyanins. These help improve hepatic steatosis or fatty liver, making them some of the best foods to support liver. Studies from blueberry extract have also been shown to inhibit the growth of liver cancer cells, however more research is needed.