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Your liver undergoes damage from high-fat, refined foods, alcohol, and
long-term medicine usage. Broccoli, beetroot, amla, berries, omega-3 fish,
ginger, garlic, and coffee are some of the most potent liver-detoxifying foods.
While tuna and berries lower fat deposition in the liver, treating NAFLD,
broccoli and ginger fight free radicals by raising the natural antioxidant levels.
Both garlic and coffee protect against alcohol-related liver damage.

Liver-Friendly Foods For Cleansing

Brussels sprouts, Fish like tune


broccoli, and cabbage
Beetroot
and salmon

Amla Berries Ginger

Garlic and onions


Did you know that your liver is the most important detox center in the
body? Harmful chemicals from everything you ingest or inhale – food,
drinks, medicine, or smoke – transform into less harmful, water-soluble
substances in the liver in a 2-phase process and are then excreted. But
the first phase of the detoxification process also generates free radicals,
which then go on to damage cells and cause inflammation. If the free
radicals and their damage are not countered and repaired, over time,
they affect the liver’s health and functioning. This is why antioxidants are
must in a liver detox diet. Just as important are foods that lower
cholesterol, especially the harmful LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, a
type of fat. Here are the 10 foods, herbs, drinks, and spices that help the
liver carry out its detox functions and protect it from damage.

1. Broccoli And Brussels Sprouts


There’s wisdom in eating your greens, especially cruciferous ones like
broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, watercress, and cauliflower. These
contain helpful chemicals like sulforaphane, indole-3-carbinol, and
1-cyano-2-hydroxy-3-butene (CHB) which block cancer-causing chemicals
– such as NNK in cigarette smoke. These also increase the levels of natural
antioxidant enzymes essential for the detoxification process. When the
body is overloaded with toxins, the levels of natural antioxidants go down,
thereby slowing down the detoxification process in the liver.

Eating too much refined and sugary foods also increases harmful LDL
cholesterol and a type of fat called triglycerides in the body. And since the
liver helps remove excess LDLs from the body, an LDL overload can strain
it. Triglycerides, on the other hand, collect in the liver, causing fatty liver or
non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This raises your risk for liver
inflammation (steatohepatitis), which leads to cirrhosis, liver failure, and
liver cancer. Cruciferous vegetables contain cholesterol-like compounds
called phytosterols which can lower both high cholesterol and triglyceride
level.

How much should you have? Have 1.5–2.5 cups of dark green veggies,
including cruciferous ones, every week.4 If you have a hypothyroidism
problem, cook these vegetables well before consuming them.

Best for protecting the liver against damage


2. Beetroot
Here’s what the violet on your rainbow plate of veggies can do for your
liver. Betalains, the antioxidant pigments in beetroot, along with
flavonoids, phenolic acids, and vitamin C, protect the liver against
oxidative stress from carcinogens or cancer-causing agents.

If you have beetroots regularly, it could modify your body’s metabolism


(by reducing the activity of the enzymes that increase free radicals during
detoxification) in such a way that your liver would be protected from toxic
compounds.

How much should you have? Beet juice made from 1 large beetroot is
safe for daily consumption. Drink the juice 2–3 days a week.

Best as a preventive against oxidative stress in the liver

3. Fish Like Tuna And Salmon


Omega-3 (polyunsaturated) fats found in marine fish like tuna, salmon,
trout, or mackerel, to name only a few, are good for the liver. They are
known preventives (medicines or foods that prevent illness and disease)
and inhibit triglyceride synthesis in the liver. But they can also reduce liver
fat in people with NAFLD, who also have high cholesterol and triglyceride
levels. Omega-3 fats also increase the levels of HDL, the good cholesterol.

Other sources of omega-3 fats are fortified eggs, walnuts, and avocados.
But it’s not enough to include these in your diet; you also need to cut
down on omega-6 fats like vegetable oils.

How much should you have? The American Heart Association


recommends at least 2 servings (3.5 oz per serving) of fatty fish per week if
you don’t have a heart condition. You could also have fish oil in a daily
dose of 2–4 g if you have high triglyceride levels.Fish and Omega-3 Fatty
Acids. American Heart Association.

Best for NAFLD patients


4. Amla Or Indian Gooseberry
Amla or the Indian gooseberry (Emblica Officinalis) is a natural liver
revitalizer. It is commonly used in Ayurveda for treating enlarged livers.

Researchers have found that this fruit, which is rich in vitamin C, can be
used to treat liver problems like jaundice. Remember, vitamin C is a potent
antioxidant. Since it also lowers cholesterol and triglycerides, amla is also
good for anyone with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

How much should you have? You can have the fresh fruit or dried fruit
powder. The standard dose used in experiments is 1–3 g fruit powder. You
can also have 1 fruit a day, raw or in a juice form, preferably spread
through the day.

Best for those with jaundice, enlarged livers, and NAFLD

5. Berries
Cleanse your body naturally by giving it plenty of berries rich in
polyphenols and anthocyanins, the antioxidant pigments that give them
their unique colors. These nutrients are potent anti-inflammatory agents.

One study found that lingonberries, black currants, and bilberries were
especially effective in preventing the accumulation of fat in the liver.
Lingonberries, in particular, decreased body fat significantly in animals
that were on a high-fat diet.

How much should you have? The standard serving size for berries is 1/2
cup frozen or fresh fruit or 4 oz juice daily. There’s no strict upper limit;
however, too many berries might have side effects on people on
medicines for blood-thinning and diabetes.

Best for preventing NAFLD


6. Ginger
The warm earthy heat of ginger doesn’t just spice up your meal but can
also be really good for the liver. This root spice, with antioxidant-like
gingerols and shogaols, acts on your digestive system, increasing enzyme
secretions and boosting metabolism and circulation.

It has been seen to lower oxidative damage in the liver caused by free
radicals, whether due to environmental toxins or due to long-term use of
medication. It also increases the levels of natural antioxidants in the blood.

Since ginger can decrease triglycerides, total cholesterol, and the LDL
cholesterol, it is a good addition to the diet for people who are at risk of
NAFLD.

How much should you have? For a healthy adult, up to 4 g ginger is


considered safe, whether eaten raw, cooked, or as a tea. For pregnant
women, however, the dosage is limited to 1 g.

Best for those with NAFLD and liver damage due to medication or
drugs

7. Garlic And Onion


Odd as it may seem, odorous vegetables of the Allium species like garlic
and onion are great for liver health. The sulfur compounds in them,
responsible for that distinctive smell, help stimulate liver enzymes
responsible for detoxification. They also have antioxidants called
flavonoids which can both block and suppress the function of free radicals.

The best part about garlic, however, is its ability to reduce alcohol-related
liver damage (alcoholic steatohepatitis), whether taken raw, as garlic oil, or
as an aged black garlic extract. Onions too have shown similar effects on
alcohol-induced liver damage.

How much should you have? Most studies use garlic in a dose of
600–1200 mg. However, a few cloves a day is well within the tolerable
limit. Make sure you crush the cloves before eating them or cooking them
to release the bioactive sulfur compound called allicin. There’s no known
upper limit on onions.

Best for patients with alcohol-induced liver damage


8. Coffee And Tea
Coffee lovers, it’s time to rejoice! Finally, there’s a study that tells us your
oh-so-favorite morning drink is good for you! If you suffer from liver
diseases, a moderate consumption of coffee can actually decrease the
progression of the illnesses. For patients who are scheduled for a liver
biopsy, caffeine is known to reduce the development of cirrhosis.
Although it’s not entirely clear why caffeine helps, we do know that it
reduces the risk of developing liver diseases. Thanks to kahweol and
cafestol, the 2 naturally occurring substances in coffee, coffee reduces the
risk of liver cancer.

A very recent study on finds that drinking around 3 cups of coffee and
herbal tea regularly led to less scarring of the liver. Continuous scarring of
the liver due to inflammation and death of liver cells leads to liver fibrosis.

How much should you have? Just 2 cups of coffee per day is considered
the ideal amount, and anything over 5 cups is not advised.20 Also,
remember not to have coffee within 2 hours before sleep.

Best for patients with cirrhosis

9. Milk Thistle
A natural herbal remedy, milk thistle can be enjoyed in a herbal tea that’s
great for your liver. Some fans of the ingredient also use it in smoothies
and salads. Silymarin, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory flavonoid in
the seeds, offers protection to the liver not just from toxins in your diet but
also from drugs like acetaminophen that damage the liver when taken in
high doses.

Milk thistle may also help against alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and
hepatitis C. Research suggests it may even help rejuvenate and repair your
liver by aiding the growth of new cells.

How much should you have? Around 300 mg milk thistle thrice a day is
the ideal amount for consumption.

Best for alcoholic hepatitis and can cure hepatitis C


10. Turmeric
No cleanse list would be complete without the anti-inflammatory and
natural healing spice turmeric. Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine have both
been using it to treat liver problems for centuries.

The curcumin in turmeric prevents fat accumulation in the liver, as seen in


several animal studies. Test animals consuming curcumin through their
diet had lower cholesterol and triacylglycerol concentrations in the liver,
showing the potential of including the ingredient in your diet. It also raises
the natural antioxidants involved in the detoxification process in the liver.

How much should you have? In Asian and Indian cuisine, turmeric powder
is an essential condiment. Include 1.5–3 g powdered turmeric root every
day. However, if you suffer from inflammatory bowel syndrome, reduce the
dosage to 1–1.5 g. Additionally, in order to increase the absorbability of
curcumin, experts advise combining it with black pepper.

Best for preventing fat accumulation and inflammation

11. Grapefruit And Grapes


If you’ve got a sweet tooth, pick up a grapefruit or grapes when the
cravings kick in. Grapefruit contains naringenin and naringin, two
antioxidants, that keep liver healthy by effectively metabolizing alcohol
and preventing any negative effects that it might have on the liver. Red
and purple grapes, meanwhile, contain resveratrol (a plant compound)
which ensures smooth functioning of the liver.

Alternatively, you could snack on grapes, especially red and purple ones.
They contain resveratrol (a plant compound) which, like antioxidants,
prevents any damage to the liver and ensures its smooth functioning.

How much should you have? There is no recommended dosage for


either grapes or grapefruit, but be sure to restrict yourself to a cup every
day. However, avoid grapefruit if you’re taking medications to lower
cholesterol, high blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia, and allergic reactions.
Additionally, neurological and psychiatric medications might interact with
grapefruit as well.

Best for smooth functioning of the liver.


12. Prickly Pear
Prickly pear is a type of edible cactus which was used in traditional
medicine as a treatment for liver diseases. One study found that the
extract of this plant reduced symptoms of a hangover, including nausea,
dry mouth, and lack of appetite. This benefit was magnified when they
consumed the extract before drinking alcohol. Since alcohol is broken
down by the liver, the researchers looked into the exact effect of the
extract on the liver and found that it reduced inflammation, which often
occurs after drinking alcohol. Another study found that consuming the
extract after alcohol normalizes enzyme production and cholesterol levels
in the liver along with decreasing the amount of oxidative damage caused
by it. However, human studies are needed in order to fully understand the
positive effects of prickly pear on the liver.

How much should you have? All of the studies so far are focused on
prickly pear extract (1600 mcg dosage on an average). Hence, it’s difficult
to tell exactly how much of it you should consume without consulting a
doctor. That said, do ensure you stick to the standard 1 cup (240 ml or 8 oz)
a day unless told otherwise by a professional.

Best for reversing the damaging effects of alcohol on the liver.

13. Nuts
The healthy fat and nutrient – including vitamin E – content in nuts makes
them good for the liver. One study that looked into the effects of nuts on
people with non-alcoholic fatty disease for six months found that regular
consumption improved the levels of enzymes in the liver. Additionally,
another study found that men who consumed fewer nuts were at a higher
risk of developing non alcoholic fatty liver disease as opposed to those
that ate more.

How much should you have? A handful of nuts every day is


recommended for good health.

Best for preventing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.


14. Olive Oil
Switch up your regular bottle of oil with olive oil for healthy liver
functioning. One small study in people with non alcoholic fatty liver
disease found that consuming olive oil every day improved liver enzyme
and fat levels. Participants also noted a decrease in liver fat as well as
better blood flow in the liver. Other studies have also noted that olive oil
consumption improves blood levels of liver enzymes.

How much should you have? Based on studies, it’s recommended that
you have one teaspoon (6.5 ml) of olive oil every day.

Best for healthy liver functioning in people with non alcoholic fatty
disease.
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