12 Foods to Improve Your Liver Function
The regular consumption of some healthy foods can help improve liver function. Although we usually neglect this fact, diet is decisive for this organ to work optimally. Even as a publication in Molecular Aspects of Medicine points out, foods rich in antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids are beneficial.
The importance of the liver
You may underestimate your liver and think it’s just “another organ” along with your lungs, stomach, and heart. However, its job is just as important as pumping blood or supplying oxygen. That’s because your liver has the tough job of eliminating the toxins that accumulate in your body.
This means that your body stays clean thanks to your liver. Problems arise when it gets overloaded. That is, when it has to excrete too much “waste”, it gets overloaded and can’t do its job anymore. This results in different diseases and symptoms.
In turn, as a publication by the National Center for Biotechnology Information indicates, the liver is responsible for producing bile, a second way to detoxify the body and metabolize fats and proteins from the foods we eat.
If this organ doesn’t work properly, your body doesn’t have a way to clean itself or absorb nutrients. Your eyes, brain, heart, and kidneys depend on your liver to function. Your blood needs it to get rid of alcohol, for example.
Additionally, it plays an essential role in destroying sick red blood cells, breaking up hemoglobin and insulin, as well as storing vitamins and minerals.
You should also read: Learn All about Liver Diseases
Foods to improve your liver function
Foods that improve liver function are those that contain substances such as antioxidants, healthy fats, and essential vitamins and minerals. Although we often neglect it, nutrition is essential when it comes to preventing and treating liver problems.
In fact, in a recent publication in the journal Nutrients the experts concluded that patients diagnosed with liver disease assess their diet immediately and apply dietary interventions. The reason? This can help improve their quality of life and prevent complications. Here are some recommended foods.
Garlic consumption is associated with improved liver function. In fact, a study published in the journal Advanced Biomedical Research found that eating garlic helps reduce weight and fat content in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Grapefruit is a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants. Both compounds are necessary to cleanse the liver. In addition, this fruit contains naringenin and naringin. According to studies, they help protect the liver.
One of the legumes that can improve liver tasks, thanks to its high levels of an amino acid called arginine. This component helps to rid the body of ammonia, which can trigger neurological problems such as confusion and fatigue.
4. Cruciferous vegetables
This family of vegetables consists of broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, and red cabbage, among others. They help improve liver health, as they contain chemicals that help neutralize toxins.
For example, cruciferous vegetables are recommended for smokers to excrete nitrosamines found in cigarette smoke.
5. Green tea
This infusion is an antioxidant. It has the ability to promote the elimination of fat that accumulates in the liver. Therefore, it optimizes liver function.
A meta-analysis published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine concluded that consuming green tea on a regular basis can help reduce the risk of liver disease.
In addition to being very rich and full of water, tomatoes contain a substance called glutathione that, according to a study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, helps protect the liver from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
7. Leafy vegetables
Arugula, spinach, and chard are vegetables that you should include in your diet. They contain many “antioxidant” compounds that neutralize the action of heavy metals that damage the liver, stimulate bile production, and eliminate pesticides and herbicides used in plantations.
This citrus fruit has many properties, which is why you should always have lemon at home. Among its benefits, we can highlight the fact that it helps keep the liver healthy, promoting its functions and reducing the risk of diseases.
This delicious American fruit promotes liver function, as it contains healthy fats and antioxidant compounds. Eating one avocado a week can help prevent liver damage. You should substitute mayonnaise with it!
According to a study published in the journal Nutrients, turmeric is a healthy spice for the liver. According to this publication, curcumin, the main active compound in turmeric, helps protect and treat liver diseases, inhibiting oxidative stress.
Don’t forget to read: Five Benefits of Drinking a Turmeric Tisane
This nut contains arginine, glutathione, and omega-3 fatty acids, the latter considered “good fats”. A study that was published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology highlights that this food improves liver function, as it improves liver enzyme levels.
Beet juice has been used as an adjuvant to improve liver health. Its high content of antioxidants fight oxidative stress and inflammation, which increase the risk of liver disease.
Consuming these foods as part of a healthy and balanced diet can help maintain healthy liver function. However, it’s best to consult your nutritionist for the best diet for you.It might interest you...
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.
- Morisco, F., Vitaglione, P., Amoruso, D., Russo, B., Fogliano, V., & Caporaso, N. (2008). Foods and liver health. Molecular Aspects of Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mam.2007.09.003
- InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. How does the liver work? 2009 Sep 17 [Updated 2016 Aug 22]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279393/
- Soleimani D, Paknahad Z, Askari G, Iraj B, Feizi A. Effect of garlic powder consumption on body composition in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Adv Biomed Res. 2016;5:2. Published 2016 Jan 27. doi:10.4103/2277-9175.174962
- Madrigal-Santillán, E., Madrigal-Bujaidar, E., Álvarez-González, I., Sumaya-Martínez, M. T., Gutiérrez-Salinas, J., Bautista, M., … Morales-González, J. A. (2014). Review of natural products with hepatoprotective effects. World Journal of Gastroenterology. https://doi.org/10.3748/wjg.v20.i40.14787
- Ozsoy Y, Coskun T, Yavuz K, Ozbilgin K, Var A, Ozyurt B. The effects of L-arginine on liver damage in experimental acute cholestasis an immunohistochemical study [published correction appears in HPB Surg. 2013;2013:492846. Ozsoy, Mustafa [removed]; Namlı, Kemal [corrected to Ozbilgin, Kemal]]. HPB Surg. 2011;2011:306069. doi:10.1155/2011/306069
- Yoshida, K., Ushida, Y., Ishijima, T., Suganuma, H., Inakuma, T., Yajima, N., … Nakai, Y. (2015). Broccoli sprout extract induces detoxification-related gene expression and attenuates acute liver injury. World Journal of Gastroenterology. https://doi.org/10.3748/wjg.v21.i35.10091
- Jiang W, Guo MH, Hai X. Hepatoprotective and antioxidant effects of lycopene on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in rat. World J Gastroenterol. 2016;22(46):10180–10188. doi:10.3748/wjg.v22.i46.10180
- Farzaei MH, Zobeiri M, Parvizi F, et al. Curcumin in Liver Diseases: A Systematic Review of the Cellular Mechanisms of Oxidative Stress and Clinical Perspective. Nutrients. 2018;10(7):855. Published 2018 Jul 1. doi:10.3390/nu10070855
- Clifford, T., Howatson, G., West, D. J., & Stevenson, E. J. (2015). The potential benefits of red beetroot supplementation in health and disease. Nutrients. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7042801