Your diet, while a source of contaminants, can also support liver health if you choose foods that are naturally detoxifying. Topping the list are fresh fruits and vegetables—specifically sulfur-rich foods such as onions, garlic, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale. One recent study at Hendrix College in Conway,
Arkansas, found that the organosulfur compounds in garlic have a protective effect on the mitochondria in liver cells. And new findings in the journal Mutation Research focused on cabbage sprout’s ability to support both Phase I and Phase II detoxification.
As mentioned earlier, vegetables are also an excellent source of fiber, which helps toxins to move through your digestive tract, reducing stress on your liver. But choose your produce wisely. Conventionally grown fruits and vegetables may harbour pesticide residue that, over time, accumulates in the body’s fatty (adipose) tissue. This is especially true for certain foods like apples, blueberries, celery, grapes, lettuce, peaches, peppers, potatoes, spinach, and strawberries.
It’s also smart to choose organic or grass-fed meat and poultry as conventional options may be laced with growth hormones or antibiotics. And opt for low-mercury, wild-caught seafood when possible to reduce contaminants.
Top 10 Foods for Liver Health
- Avocados help your body make the powerful antioxidant glutathione that helps the liver filter out contaminants.
- Beets are high in flavonoids that help to neutralize free radicals and improve liver function.
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower increase glucosinolates—organic compounds that encourage the production of digestive enzymes.
- Garlic helps the liver activate enzymes that flush out toxins. This pungent herb is also rich in sulfur and selenium, two nutrients that aid in liver cleansing.
- Grapefruit helps the liver flush out carcinogens and other toxins. This tart fruit is also an excellent source of vitamin C and bioflavonoids that neutralize free radicals.
- Green tea is packed full of antioxidants known as catechins that have been shown to enhance liver function.
- Leafy greens like spinach and arugula have been found to help neutralize some heavy metals and industrial chemicals while acting as an overall liver protectant.
- Lemon is high in vitamin C. But it also helps the body eliminate toxins and aids in digestion.
- Turmeric helps the body during detoxification and stimulates the production of bile.
- Walnuts are high in glutathione and omega-3 fatty acids, which support the liver during detoxification.
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