Eating healthy foods for the liver can improve and support liver function on a daily basis. Having a healthy liver results in greater energy and general well-being. A poorly functioning liver can result in tiredness, headaches, bad breath, allergies and intolerances, problem skin and weight gain.
If you are thinking of giving your liver a good detox see our article Cleanse your Liver for Better Health
Foods that are healthy for the liver fall into two main categories.
First are those that promote the detoxification process of the liver. And second, are those that are high in antioxidants and therefore protect the liver while it's carrying out its detoxification processes. Below are a list of the top eight foods that are considered to be good for your liver.
Garlic and onions.
Garlic contains allicin which is a sulphur-based compound needed by the liver for effective detoxification. Garlic helps the liver rid the body of mercury, certain food additives and the hormone oestrogen.
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage).
These vegetables are very powerful detoxifiers of the liver. They contain chemicals that neutralise certain toxins such as nitrosamines found in cigarette smoke and aflotoxin found in peanuts. They also contain glucosinolates that help the liver to produce enzymes it needs for its detoxification processes.
Freshly squeezed lemon in hot water.
Drinking freshly squeezed lemon juice in a cup of boiled water first thing in the morning helps to cleanse the liver and promote detoxification. It also stimulates bile production, cleanses the stomach and bowel and stimulates a bowel motion.
It's a blood-purifying tonic that is also capable of absorbing heavy metals. More information on beets
In a study done by the US Department of Agriculture at Tuffs University, it was found that the following list of fruits had the highest levels of antioxidants (in descending order): Prunes, raisons, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, plums, oranges, pink grapefruit, cantaloupe, apples and pears. Antioxidants help to protect the liver from the high levels of free radicals that are naturally produced during the process of detoxification.
Apples contain pectin that bind to heavy metals in the body (in particular in the colon) and help their excretion. This reduces the load on the liver and its detoxification capacities.
Increases bile production. One of the jobs of bile is to remove toxins through the bowel, as well as 'unfriendly' micro-organisms. It has been suggested that 30 minutes after eating globe artichoke, bile flow is increased by over 100%.
Bitter leafy salad greens (dandelion, chicory, endive, rocket).
The bitterness of these foods helps to stimulate bile flow within the liver.
See our Color Wheel of Fruits and Vegetables for more information on health benefits of vegetables and fruits.