Eating for good health – food for liver health

The liver is the main organ that helps the body with the detoxification process. Everything you swallow and breathe is absorbed into the bloodstream and passes through the liver.  The liver regulates, synthesizes, stores, and secretes many important proteins and nutrients. It purifies, transforms, and clears toxic or unneeded substances, according to the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care.

Many detoxification products claim to “cleanse” the liver, but in healthy individuals, the liver is not a place where toxins are stored. Rather, the liver turns potentially harmful chemicals into water-soluble chemicals that can be sweated or excreted from the body.

Eating these 13 foods is a great way to help keep your liver functioning properly.

  • 1. Garlic
    Eating just 4 cloves of garlic a day has the ability to activate liver enzymes that help your body flush out toxins. Garlic holds high amounts of allicin and selenium, two natural compounds that aid the liver. Garlic also contains arginine, an amino acid important for relaxing the blood vessels, and selenium, a mineral important for increasing the action of antioxidants.

    2. Grapefruit
    High in vitamin C and antioxidants, grapefruit increases the natural cleansing processes of the liver.  200mls of freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice can boost the production of liver detoxification enzymes.

    3. Beetroot and Carrots
    Both are high in plant flavonoids and beta-carotene which when eaten can stimulate and improve overall liver function.

    4. Green Tea
    This deliciously refreshing tea is full of plant antioxidants known as catechins, a compound known to aid liver function.  Remember that green tea offers benefits so keep it simple and stick to the cuppa tea.

    5. Leafy Green Vegetables
    Leafy greens can be eaten raw (in smaller quantities) or cooked. High in plant chlorophylls, greens cleanse environmental toxins from the bloodstream. With their distinct ability to neutralize heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides, these cleansing foods offer a powerful protective mechanism for the liver.

    6. Avocados
    This super-food helps the body produce glutathione, a compound that is necessary for the liver to excrete toxins.

    7. Apples
    High in pectin, apples hold the chemical constituents necessary for the body to cleanse and release toxins from the digestive tract. This makes it easier for the liver to handle the toxic load.

    8. Olive Oil
    Cold-pressed organic oils such as olive, hemp and flax-seed are great for the liver, when used in moderation. They help the body by providing a lipid base that can suck up harmful toxins in the body.

    9. Cruciferous Vegetables
    When you eat broccoli and cauliflower the glucosinolate is increased in your system, adding to enzyme production in the liver. These natural enzymes can help flush toxins.

    10. Lemons & Limes
    These citrus fruits contain high amounts of vitamin C, which aids the body in synthesizing toxic materials into substances that can be absorbed by water. Drinking freshly-squeezed lemon or lime juice in the morning helps stimulate the liver.

    11. Walnuts
    Holding high amounts of the amino acid arginine, walnuts aid the liver in detoxifying ammonia. Walnuts are also high in glutathione and omega-3 fatty acids, which support normal liver cleansing actions.

    12. Cabbage
    Like broccoli and cauliflower, eating cabbage helps stimulate the activation of two crucial liver detoxifying enzymes that help flush out toxins. Try eating more kimchi, coleslaw, cabbage soup and sauerkraut.

    13. Turmeric
    Put this spice on your favourites list. Add it into your next lentil stew or veggie dish for an instant liver pick-me-up. Or slice it fresh and infuse it into hot water to drink as a tea. Turmeric helps boost liver detox, by assisting enzymes that actively flush out toxins.

Other liver cleansing foods include artichokes, asparagus, kale, and Brussels sprouts.

The nutritional advice expressed is not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern see your doctor first.

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