The liver acts as a "filter" and naturally detoxifies your body. It is essential for drug and alcohol metabolism, the production of bile for digestion of fats, the storage of glycogen, and the synthesis of plasma proteins.
These functions are vital to the maintenance of overall health and a sense of wellbeing. So it is crucial to keep your liver healthy and free from disease.
What are the benefits of liver detoxification?
- Strengthens immune system
- Increases nutrient absorption
- Increases tissue oxygenation and reduces fatigue
- Improves bowel regularity, reduces bad breath, constipation, colon inflammation and abdominal bloating
- Improves the appearance of skin, nails and hair (by reducing dandruff)
Which foods support liver detoxification?
1. LEMONS AND APPLES
Lemons are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants with a protective function for your liver. Apples are rich in fibre and triterpenes that help prevent the development of liver cancer (1).
Try chicory (known for its diuretic and purifying properties), artichokes (which helps produce bile and promote digestive processes), beetroot (which lowers blood pressure), cabbage and broccoli (helps eliminate waste and accumulated toxins) and all green leafy vegetables (which contain chlorophyll that stimulates the elimination of toxins from the blood).
3. EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Extra virgin olive oil is rich in vitamins and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which favours the elimination of the "bad cholesterol" LDL.
4. NUTRITIONAL YEAST
Nutritional yeast, which has a nutty-cheesy flavour, is rich in B vitamins (which helps convert nutrients into energy). Studies have shown the presence of S. Cerevisiae in nutritional yeast can enhance your immune system, reduce inflammation due to bacterial inflammation, and treat diarrhoea.
Research shows when garlic is chopped or crushed, it releases a compound known as allicin, which is an antioxidant that reduces inflammation, and protects against alcoholic liver disease (2).
Walnuts contain the essential amino acid, arginine, which helps to remove accumulated ammonia that would otherwise be toxic to the central nervous system. There is also a growing body of evidence indicating that arginine has a positive impact on overall wellbeing, including benefits for the reproductive, cardiovascular and pulmonary systems as well as enhancing insulin sensitivity to combat diabetes (3).
7. WHOLE GRAINS
Whole grains are rich in B vitamins, minerals and fibre,which regulates bowel movements and control blood sugar levels. Studies suggest that fibre acts by changing the gut microbiota and reducing fat to improve non-aloholic fatty liver disease (4).
Which foods should be avoided?
Avoid refined foods (e.g. added sugars, white bread, pasta, sweets, pastries), red meat, cold cuts and sausages, spirits, heavy sauces and sugary drinks.
What else should you do for a liver detox?
- Limit alcohol intake
- Vaccinate against hepatitis
- Maintain a healthy weight, to reduce the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes
Your liver will benefit from ongoing attention, through a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet.
Share with someone who needs a liver detox!
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(1) He, X., & Liu, R. H. (2007). Triterpenoids isolated from apple peels have potent antiproliferative activity and may be partially responsible for apple's anticancer activity. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 55(11), 4366-4370.
(2) Panyod, Suraphan, et al. "Diet supplementation with allicin protects against alcoholic fatty liver disease in mice by improving anti-inflammation and antioxidative functions." Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 64.38 (2016): 7104-7113.
(3) Wu, Guoyao, et al. "Arginine metabolism and nutrition in growth, health and disease." Amino acids 37.1 (2009): 153-168.
(4) Parnell, Jill A., et al. "The potential role of prebiotic fibre for treatment and management of non‐alcoholic fatty liver disease and associated obesity and insulin resistance." Liver International 32.5 (2012): 701-711.
Liver image by pch.vector