Your liver simultaneously performs various critical functions necessary for survival, including energy metabolism, protein breakdown, and assisting the immune system in fighting infections. In particular, if you have a condition like cirrhosis or hepatitis C, which can make it difficult for your liver to filter foods and nutrients in the way it should. Because the liver is vital for overall health, it is fundamental that you take care of it. But what can you do about it? Here are the basic guidelines to follow for better liver health.
While it may be impossible to control all risk factors, particular foods and beverages may assist in maintaining liver health. If you’re concerned about the health of your liver, not all foods are made equal. We are here providing the list of liver-friendly foods that will benefit liver health in the long run.
FOODS BENEFICIAL FOR LIVER HEALTH
Great news! Your early cup of coffee has some liver-protective properties, and while it is not a food, it is a beverage that people enjoy for energy and flavor. Coffee use has been shown repeatedly to help reduce the chance of cirrhosis, or persistent liver damage, in persons with chronic liver disease.
Coffee contains caffeine, organic acids, and polysaccharides. Additionally, they contain polyphenols, which act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. It’s been linked to a decreased risk of death in those with chronic liver disease, with the most significant advantages observed in those who consume at least 3 cups daily. According to a 2014 study, the beneficial effects of coffee may be linked to the way it affects liver enzymes. According to research, it appears to help prevent the accumulation of fat in the liver. Additionally, it raises the amount of protecting antioxidants in the liver improving overall liver health.
According to sources, 400 mg of caffeine per day — the equivalent of four cups (945 ml) of coffee — is considered safe for the majority of healthy persons. The key to reaping these benefits is to consume coffee on a daily basis without adding fatty creams or sweeteners. Alternatively, substitute the whole milk with skimmed or low-fat dairy milk, unsweetened soy milk, almond milk, cinnamon, or chocolate powder.
2. OLIVE OIL
Consuming an excessive amount of fat damages liver health; however, certain types of fats may strengthen it. Olive oil is regarded as a healthy fat due to its numerous health benefits, including beneficial effects on the heart and metabolism. Olive oil may also help reduce oxidative stress and improve liver function. That is why it is on our list of liver-friendly foods.
Studies have claimed that olive oil may aid in the reduction of liver enzymes associated with liver disease.
Consumption of olive oil on a long-term basis may even help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood.
One small study found that taking 1 teaspoon (6.5 ml) of olive oil daily improved liver enzyme and lipid levels in 11 persons with NAFLD ( non-alcoholic fatty liver disease). The first stage of any liver disease involves fat accumulation in the liver. Several more recent studies have discovered that olive oil consumption has similar impacts on human health, including decreased liver fat buildup and increased insulin sensitivity.
Olive oil can be regularly consumed at a rate of 14% of total daily calories. This equates to around two tablespoons (28 grams) every day.
3. GREEN TEA
Tea is usually thought to be helpful to health. Still, research has revealed that it may be particularly useful to liver health. Green tea contains catechins, which are antioxidants that improve blood markers of liver function, increase liver enzyme levels, and protect the liver from oxidative stress and fat deposits. A 12-week analysis of persons with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease indicated that consuming antioxidant-rich green tea improved liver health. Green tea may be beneficial in lowering the incidence of liver cancer in female Asian populations, according to a 2016 systematic study. Another study indicated that green tea drinkers had a lower risk of liver cancer. Those who drank four or more cups daily had the lowest risk.
There are health benefits associated with drinking as little as one cup per day, while other research recommends drinking five or more cups per day and is good for liver health. You’ll gain more catechins if you brew your homemade tea and consume it hot. Iced tea and ready-to-drink green teas contain significantly less. Clinical investigations on humans suggest that single dosages of green tea extract up to 1.6 grams are well tolerated. Furthermore, because some research suggests that concentrated green tea supplements may raise the risk of liver damage, it is preferable to consume it in its natural form – as a leaf or powder brewed in hot water – rather than in supplement form.
Next on our liver-friendly foods list is nuts. Consuming nuts may also be an easy way to maintain liver health. Nuts are high in fats, nutrients such as the antioxidant vitamin E, and phytochemicals that are helpful to the body. A 2019 research revealed that consuming more nuts is connected with a lower incidence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Another study discovered that men who consumed more nuts and seeds had a decreased chance of developing NAFLD than men who consumed fewer nuts and seeds.
Among all nuts, walnuts are particularly effective for preventing fatty liver disease. This is because they have a higher concentration of antioxidants and fatty acids. Walnuts contain the highest concentrations of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as antioxidant polyphenols. Almonds also are high in vitamin E, a substance that study indicates may help protect against fatty liver disease. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 1 ounce (28 g) of almonds per day and the same for walnuts. However, limit yourself to a handful or so to keep calories and fat in check—a serving has quite a bit.
5. FATTY FISH
Fish is a healthy alternative to fatty meats like bacon and beef. Fish, especially fatty fish, may potentially have some liver advantages which promote liver health. These fats appear to inhibit the accumulation of extra fats and maintain enzyme levels in the liver. Fatty fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial lipids that aid in inflammation reduction. Omega-3 fatty acids were found to help reduce liver fat and triglycerides in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, according to a 2016 study.
According to a study in 2015, fatty fish such as salmon can help reduce inflammation and fat accumulation in the liver while also supporting a lower total BMI.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest at least 8 ounces (230 g) of seafood per week. While eating more omega-3-rich fatty fish may benefit your liver, it is not the only factor to consider. Most Americans consume too many omega-6 fats, found in many plant oils. A high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio can lead to liver damage.
Oatmeal is a simple way to get more fiber. Oats have particular fibers (beta-glucans are found in oats and oatmeal) that may be beneficial to liver health. It has been shown in research to aid in the loss of excess weight and belly fat, which is beneficial in preventing liver disease.
According to a 2017 study, beta-glucans are very physiologically active. They help regulate the immune system, reduce inflammation, and may help control diabetes and obesity. The research also indicates that oat beta-glucans appear to help reduce liver fat storage, possibly protecting the liver.
When preparing oats, a serving size of 1/2 cup (25 g) is advised for women and 38 g for men. Those looking to increase their consumption of oats should choose whole oats or steel-cut oats rather than instant oatmeal. Instant oatmeal may contain additives such as flour or sugar, which are detrimental to the body’s health
Another reason why green vegetables are so beneficial to your health and are on our list of liver-friendly foods. Cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, mustard, cabbage, and brussels sprouts) aid the liver in detoxifying the numerous unhealthful substances we come into contact with on a daily basis. This vegetable contains quercetin, which has been reported to benefit liver health.
Consuming cruciferous vegetables may also help lessen the risk of developing liver cancer.
According to a study published in 2015, a wide range of plant meals may be beneficial to liver health.
- Broccoli and brussels sprouts are well-known for their distinct flavor. They’re also rich in plant chemicals that are good for you. According to research, brussels sprouts and broccoli sprout extract assist promote detoxifying enzyme levels and protecting the liver from harm. This impact was reported in liver cells even after cooking brussels sprouts. Like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli sprouts are high in sulforaphane and other substances that promote detoxification and shield the liver from damage. Broccoli sprout extract has been shown to help men with fatty liver disease by improving enzyme levels and decreasing oxidative stress. A half-cup (78 grams) of cooked broccoli provides 84% of the RDA(Recommended daily allowance)
- Spinach, include a potent antioxidant called glutathione, which can aid in the proper functioning of your liver. It is high in potassium, manganese, and magnesium. Additionally, they contain chlorophyll, which aids the liver in its detoxification process by neutralizing heavy metals and harmful substances. Consume at least 1 1/2 cups of dark green vegetables per week for over and also for better liver health, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
- Beetroot. is a root veggie that is abundant in antioxidants, pectin, betalains, and betaine. They are high in fiber, manganese, potassium, vitamins A and C. It boosts enzyme activity and bile flow, which breaks down wastes and helps the body eliminate them faster. According to a 2014 study, consuming one 250-ml glass of beetroot juice each day is good.
- Garlic. It contains allicin, vitamin C, B6, and selenium, all of which aid in detoxification. Selenium is a naturally detoxifying mineral that assists the liver by enhancing antioxidant activity. Patients with NAFLD who took 800 mg (0.8 g) of garlic powder per day for 15 weeks observed a reduction in liver fat and an improvement in enzyme levels, according to a recent study published in 2020.
Adults are generally recommended to consume 4 g (one to two cloves) of raw garlic each day.
- Artichokes. Compounds contained in this liver-friendly food are being investigated for their ability to block the entry of liver-damaging toxins into liver cells. One study found that taking 600 mg of artichoke extract daily for two months improved liver function in 90 patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Artichoke leaf extract in amounts ranging from 320 to 640 mg three times daily is reported as recommended dosage.
Avocados are often used in cuisines. This liver-friendly food provides various health advantages, including better liver health. Avocado lovers are also more likely to have a reduced body mass index (BMI) and circumference of the waist. Additionally, they have greater HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Some of these effects are assumed to be due to avocados’ high fiber, healthy oil, and water content.
According to Japanese researchers, avocados contain powerful compounds that may help to minimize the risk of liver disease. A 2015 review examined the role of specific diets in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Avocado consumption, when combined with a balanced diet, was found to be connected with weight loss and overall improved liver function tests.
The recommendation for daily intake lies around 1/3 to 1/2 an avocado.
9. BRIGHT PURPLE AND RED BERRIES
Several berries, including blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries, contain polyphenol antioxidants that may help protect the liver from liver damage which frequently occurs in conjunction with obesity and high cholesterol. Blueberries and cranberries are high in vitamins, minerals, and anthocyanins, which are antioxidant phytonutrients that give berries their vibrant colors. Berries have been shown to improve immune cell activation while decreasing inflammation. Regular consumption of these fruits is an excellent approach to help ensure that your liver receives the antioxidants it requires to remain in good condition.
Numerous animal studies have proven that cranberries and blueberries in their true form, as well as their extracts or juices, can help maintain a healthy liver. According to some research, blueberries can help to protect the liver from injury and minimize the risk of fibrosis. Blueberry extract has also been proven to suppress the growth of human liver cancer cells in test-tube experiments, which is an important finding.
Grapes, particularly red and purple grapes, contain a variety of phytochemicals that are helpful to the body. The most well-known is resveratrol, which is associated with a variety of health advantages. According to a study conducted in 2014, grape seeds, as well as the skin and pulp, contain a considerable number of antioxidative compounds. There appears to be a link between these antioxidants and protect against some types of liver damage. Another small study in adults with NAFLD ( non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) found that supplementation with grape seed extract for three months improved liver function by reducing fatty liver disease.
Grapes are a particularly liver-friendly food and are an excellent complement to your necessary daily fruit intake of 1.5 to 2 cups, as recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate guidelines.
10. CITRUS FRUITS
Lemon and Limes. Citric acid, potassium, vitamin C, and bioflavonoids are all found in lemons and limes. These nutrients aid in the enhancement of energy levels, the detoxification of the liver, and the reduction of inflammation. Lemon juice may help restore the liver’s damage from heavy alcohol usage. A new Chinese study found that lemon juice could help repair alcohol-induced liver damage. Simply squeeze 1 lemon into a glass of water and consume it 2 or 3 times daily.
Making to our list of liver-friendly foods is Grapefruit which includes antioxidants that help to protect the liver health naturally. Grapefruit contains naringenin, an antioxidant that protects the liver from oxidative damage by lowering inflammation and inhibiting oxidation. The available evidence suggests that regular consumption of grapefruit can help protect your liver from damage and inflammation and maintain its functioning optimally.
New research reveals that naringin may protect against liver steatosis caused by alcohol because it reduces the amount of oxidative stress in the body.
There is no recommended value, however, 1 large grapefruit has 190% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C, which helps maintain a healthy immune system and liver health. A study has shown that naringin may help prevent the development of excessive connective tissue in the liver and hence minimize the risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Liver cancer is one of the most common cancer worldwide. Learn more about it here.
11. BEANS AND SOY
Both beans and soy have demonstrated potential in terms of lowering the risk of NAFLD ( non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) promoting better liver health.
Resistant starches found in legumes like lentils, chickpeas, soy, and pea can enhance gut health, according to a comprehensive review of diet and liver disease. People who are obese may benefit from eating beans, which have been shown to reduce blood glucose and triglycerides. Furthermore, a study published in 2019 indicated that a diet high in legumes reduced the risk of NFALD.
Some studies have found that eating soy (either as a meat or fish substitute, may help protect the liver, most likely because soy contains a high content of the protein -conglycinin, which is known for its ability to lower triglyceride levels and possibly protect against visceral fat buildup and helping in the improvement of liver health.
One should have 100 g or around 1/2 a cup of legumes at least 2 – 3 times each week.
Its one of the famous spices known for its anti-inflammatory properties and is on our list as a liver-friendly food. Recent research into the brilliant orange root of turmeric suggests that it can help lower levels of blood alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST). These two enzymes are seen in unusually high levels in people with fatty liver disease. Individuals suffering from NAFLD may benefit from high dosages of curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, because it may lower signs of liver damage.
The recommended daily dose ranges greatly (from 100 to more than 1,000 mg per day).
Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your liver health. Start drinking more water instead of alcohol or sugary beverages such as sodas or sports drinks to establish a healthy habit. As a general rule, whole foods are excellent for your general as well as liver health. However, When it comes to finding out what foods are safe for you to eat, your healthcare provider or registered dietician is your best source of information to get you a liver-friendly diet. Cooking oils and fatty seafood, for example, maybe restricted for people with advanced liver disease who are unable to absorb dietary fats.