Everything You Need to Know About Liver Detox Diets

Liver detox diets are meant to relieve the liver of toxins so that it can work better and prevent illness. We'll tell you all about them in this article.
Everything You Need to Know About Liver Detox Diets
Maricela Jiménez López

Reviewed and approved by the doctor Maricela Jiménez López.

Last update: 13 July, 2022

The adoption of a diet to detoxify the liver is one of the most popular methods to stimulate the elimination of toxins that accumulate in this organ.

However, many experts question its effectiveness in improving possible liver damage (and other symptoms) and do not believe that it is a long-term solution to protect the liver.

Instead, dietary and lifestyle changes represent one of the best ways to combat liver disease and malfunction. Keep reading if you want to learn what they are.

The importance of liver detox diets

The liver is one of the most important organs for your health. It isn’t just in charge of purifying your blood of toxins; it also participates in fat digestion, metabolism, and the secretion of certain hormones.

Liver detox diets.

In fact, it’s estimated to play a part in 500 bodily functions since it’s a key player in protein synthesis and the storage of essential vitamins. It also produces cholesterol and is vital for proper immune system functioning.

The problem is that continual exposure to toxins and a sedentary lifestyle can make it unhealthy and not work very well. Consequently, it may develop inflammatory disorders and illnesses that can really affect your quality of life.

To stop this deterioration and the harmful effects of alcohol or diet abuse, many advocate detox programs. These are methods based on restrictive diets, herbs, or various supplements that also promise other benefits such as weight loss.

However, as noted by hepatologists at the John Hopkins Center, their adoption is generally not recommended. Some of these plans could be too restrictive and the use of some plugins could even be harmful.

In addition, at the moment there’s no scientific evidence that its adoption eliminates toxins from the body or improves possible liver damage by itself.

The best option when you want to protect the health of the liver and support its functions is to adopt a healthy and adequate diet. Let’s take a look at what this consists of below.

What do liver detox diets consist of?

The liver detox diet is an eating plan that aims to keep this organ healthy. So it’s very important to remember that it is not applied to cure any already established problem.

In this sense, the experts do agree: certain lifestyle habits help keep the liver healthy, even for those with a higher risk of liver problems.

One of these changes in lifestyle is diet and it is advisable to adopt the following measures.

Allowed foods

All of them are the ones that should be chosen as a priority on a day-to-day basis. The best way to prepare them is raw or through gentle cooking such as steaming, grilling, roasting, or sautéing.

  • Choose plenty of fruits and vegetables, at least 5 servings a day that should be present at all meals.
  • Use herbs and spices for seasoning.
  • Give priority to the healthiest fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated) found in olive oil, avocado, oily fish, seeds, and nuts.
  • Whole grains (rice, bread, wheat, millet, buckwheat) and starchy vegetables (such as potatoes or sweet potatoes) should be introduced based on your physical activity and energy needs. An indicative amount would be a third of the total of what is eaten per day.
  • Opt for lean, plant-based sources of protein: legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas), tofu, white meat, eggs, or fish.
  • Introduce dairy in moderation with no added sugar. Some good options are plain yogurt, kefir, or Greek yogurt. Also cheeses with a moderate amount of fat and semi-skimmed milk.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day, between 6 and 8 glasses a day. Broths, low-fat milk, some herbal teas, or natural juices are other valid options, although it is preferable to give priority to water. Coffee could even have a liver-protective effect, although it is not essential to incorporate it into the diet and should be taken in moderation.

Just as important as what we eat is what should be avoided so as not to damage the liver. Everything discussed below should be limited as much as possible.

  • Red meats and processed meats such as sausages, cold meats, etc.
  • Butter, margarine, cream, full-fat dairy products, and all kinds of very fatty stews and sauces.
  • Fried foods, ready meals, fast food (hamburgers, pizza, hot dogs), and industrially processed snacks.
  • Soft drinks and sodas.
  • Industrial pastries, cookies, muffins, etc.
  • Sweets and any product with an excess of added sugar.
  • Alcoholic drinks.
Not drinking alcoholic drinks.

It should be remembered that all these tips apply to healthy people who want to protect and care for liver health. Moreover, with these healthy guidelines, it is possible to improve in other areas such as the prevention of cardiovascular risk factors, type 2 diabetes, or certain types of cancer.

If you suffer from liver diseases or suspect the existence of a problem, you should consult a specialist since dietary needs may change.

A model liver detox diet

To put all these guidelines into practice, here are some meal ideas that can inspire you.

Breakfast options

  • Chamomile infusion with lemon and wholemeal bread with avocado and seeds.
  • Almond milk, tortilla with spinach, and fresh seasonal fruit.
  • Boiled oatmeal with raisins, apple, and cinnamon.
  • Orange juice with papaya and vegetarian sandwich.
  • A vegetable milk smoothie with banana, green apple, and green tea.

Mid-morning options

  • Green tea or herbal infusion.
  • A handful of soaked nuts (from the night before).
  • A piece of fresh fruit with yogurt.

Lunch options

  • Vegetable soup with brown rice and grilled artichoke
  • A salad with radishes, onion, carrots, hummus, and fruit
  • A serving of turkey breast, artichoke salad with extra virgin olive oil, whole grain bread, and green tea
  • Lentils with brown rice, serving of salmon, and green apple
  • Vegetable soup with a salad with arugula, lettuce, carrot, and avocado

Options for mid-afternoon

  • Fruit (your choice)
  • A handful of unsalted, raw almonds
  • A slice of fresh pineapple and green tea
  • Yogurt and a baked apple

Dinner options

  • Green salad dressed with extra virgin olive oil, serving of white fish, a slice of pineapple
  • Pumpkin soup with seaweed, a dish with tofu, and lime blossom tea
  • Carrot soup, brown rice, and a detox tea (your choice)
  • Brown rice with steamed vegetables and grilled chicken
  • Green salad, serving of tuna, and tea

Other guidelines to protect your liver

As we have mentioned, applying lifestyle changes does have a positive effect on liver health. Diets are not enough to detoxify or protect the liver, but they need the support of other actions.

Maintaining an adequate weight with the help of diet and exercise can reduce the risk of suffering from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Avoid all those elements that are more harmful such as alcohol, some cleaning products, sprays, insecticides, and other chemical products. Likewise, all types of drugs should be avoided, as well as medication without a prescription.

The prevention of some diseases such as hepatitis and other viruses require additional measures such as maintaining regular hand washing, avoiding contact with needles that may be contaminated, not sharing personal hygiene utensils or the application of vaccines.

Do you feel like your middle is bloated and like something’s wrong with your digestion? Is your skin dry, or do you have allergies? These are all signs that your liver is harboring high levels of toxins, so consider trying a detox diet.

More than liver detox diets, apply healthy lifestyle habits

This is, according to experts, the best way to protect this organ and prevent its deterioration and the appearance of diseases. Applying short-term remedies does not solve anything in the long term. Also, remember to consult your doctor if you have any questions about the state of your liver.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.