Did you know that your liver plays a vitally important role in your body? It’s always working hard to flush out things that your body does not need, such as toxins, foreign chemicals, or even spent nutrients. As blood flows through your liver, it detoxes, stores, and sends unnecessary substances to the bowel to be excreted. Specialized cells called hepatocytes make up the majority of cells in the liver. They have direct access to the liver’s blood supply and carry out many metabolic functions, including the production of bile and filtering blood. These cells help break down damaged or unhealthy red blood cells to recycle their contents. To keep your liver working in tip-top shape, a top recommendation is to start eating a diet rich in plant-based fiber along with healthy, whole-food monounsaturated fats, such as found in avocadoes.
We think you will love giving your liver a boost with these six powerful, liver-cleansing foods:
Are you entranced with the vibrant red color of beets? They can actually activate liver enzymes and bind excess bile, which can cause watery diarrhea and intestinal stress. Due to the high antioxidant content of beets, they have been proven to help boost exercise performance as well.
This delicious summer melon naturally contains lycopene, an antioxidant that has been found to raise glutathione levels in the body. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that can help prevent cellular damage from free radicals, but it also plays a key role in detoxification by binding to toxins before they are excreted by the body.2 If the liver is not working properly, high levels of ammonia can build in your blood. Watermelon also helps the liver to process ammonia, which helps the body get rid of excess fluids.3
Although garlic is a delicious addition to many meals, it has many nutritional superpowers. Garlic helps activate liver detox enzymes and contains dozens of antibacterial agents.4 Choose organic, fresh garlic to obtain the highest levels of allicin, the beneficial compound found in these tasty cloves.
Delicious, Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are famous for promoting excellent gut health and also healthy bowel eliminations. Postbiotics, byproducts naturally created by the fermentation process, can help stimulate healthy gut microbiota and may have a protective role on the intestinal barrier.5 These friendly, postbiotic bacteria can help colonize the intestines to promote the elimination of undesirable toxins. Get creative and prepare your own fermented foods at home. Check out tasty, fermented recipes of your favorite fruits and vegetables to add to your daily nutritional regimen.
Avocados are an all-around superstar when it comes to vitamin and nutrient content. The avocado offers a full profile of natural vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. These green gems offer a large amount of healthy fats (mostly monounsaturated) and are rich in plant fiber. They also contain potent chemicals, such as carotenoids, that may help to reduce liver damage, making them an easy (and delicious) addition to any meal.6
Apples contain an abundance of polyphenols that can help to keep cholesterol levels in the healthy range. The phytochemicals, pectin and malic acid, naturally present in apples can help remove internal toxins and provide anti-inflammatory support to the liver.7 However, it’s wise to choose organic apples, since apples are one of the most commonly pesticide-laden fruits.
- Lorizola, Isabela M, et al. “Beet Stalks and Leaves (Beta Vulgaris L.) Protect Against High-Fat Diet-Induced Oxidative Damage in the Liver in Mice.” Nutrients, MDPI, 5 July 2018,www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6073334/.
- Naz, Ambreen, et al. “Watermelon Lycopene and Allied Health Claims.” EXCLI Journal, Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors, 3 June 2014,www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4464475/.
- “Want Citrulline? Try Watermelon.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 15 Aug. 2007, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070814185634.htm.
- Team, Fisher-Titus Healthy Living. “What Foods Cleanse Your Liver?” Fisher, www.fishertitus.org/health/what-foods-cleanse-your-liver.
- Koleilat, Aziz. “Beyond Probiotics the Postbiotics.” MedCrave, 2019, medcraveonline.com/GHOA/GHOA-10-00404.pdf.
- “Avocados Contain Potent Liver Protectants.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 20 Dec. 2000, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001219074822.htm.
- Leontowicz, Maria, and Shela Gorinstein. “Sugar Beet Pulp and Apple Pomace Dietary ®Bers Improve Lipid Metabolism in Rats Fed Cholesterol.” Food Chemistry, 2000.