All of us want to live a stress-free, happy, and healthy life. But with all the unhealthy habits and poor food choices that we unconsciously or consciously make every day, this seems to be next to impossible.
The good news is, we all can do something! This goal can be realized with a few baby steps: getting physically fit, changing some lifestyle habits, and eating foods good for the liver.
Yes, you’ve read it right! Apparently, a healthy liver can do so much for your overall wellness. So, we’ve listed the top 10 foods that help optimize your liver health. Read on and add these foods to your diet!
What Does Your Liver Do?
Before we get down to it, let us first understand your liver well.
Your liver is your largest gland and internal organ, and it carries out hundreds of essential tasks. From protein synthesis to detoxification to bile production, your liver just keeps on working and working.
But there’s more:
The liver is also classified as both an organ and a gland, having thought to carry out 500 distinct functions.
Yes! Not 10, not 20, not even a hundred! This pretty much explains why it is often regarded as one of the most important organs in your body. Curious what your liver does?
Take a look:
Bilirubin is formed during the breakdown of red blood cells in your body. One of the liver's functions is to absorb it. Bilirubin levels in your blood can help determine your liver's health.
High levels of bilirubin usually cause jaundice.
Another liver function is bile production. The liver also produces bile, dark green to a yellowish-brown fluid that helps in the digestion of lipids in your small intestine.
The liver continuously produces bile in humans.
Supports blood clots
Bile plays an important role in the absorption of Vitamin K. If the liver fails to produce enough bile, it will be difficult to produce clotting factors such as Vitamin K.
This vitamin is essential in producing certain coagulants that help clot the blood.
Bile, which is produced by the liver, is also responsible for breaking down fats, making way for easier digestion.
Stores vitamins and minerals
Vitamins A, B12, D, E, and K are stored in the liver. Significant amounts of these vitamins are being kept by the liver as several years' worth of these vitamins are held as a backup in some cases.
The liver also serves as a storage for hemoglobin's iron in the form of ferritin, prepared to produce new red blood cells. The liver stores copper and releases it as well.
Aside from vitamins and mineral storage, the liver likewise keeps carbohydrates.
This storage is where carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and funneled into your bloodstream to keep the normal levels of your glucose.
They are stored as glycogen, and whenever there's a need for a quick burst of energy, they are released.
Top 10 Foods that Promote Liver Health
Since your liver carries out hundreds of essential tasks, you need to make sure it stays healthy. To do this, you have to monitor your lifestyle and make changes when necessary.
And most importantly, you need to eat healthily! You can add these top 10 foods that promote a healthy liver to your diet to keep it strong and thriving:
Researchers conducted a study on the impact of dehydrated apple products on the serum and liver lipids.
They found that apple pulp and apple pomaces were able to reduce the cholesterol and triacylglycerols (TG) in the serum lipid. The TG in the liver was also reduced to normal levels.
Another study discovered that apple polyphenols are helpful in stimulating the antioxidant system and restraining pro-inflammatory cytokines, reducing the risk of liver diseases such as hepatic steatosis.
Asparagus is a powerful source of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients such as vitamins A, C, E, calcium, magnesium, and dietary fiber.
A research was conducted to study the effects of the young shoots and leaves of asparagus on protecting liver cells.
It was discovered that asparagus shoots and leaves alleviate alcohol hangover and protect the liver against toxicity.
Avocado contains healthy fats with antioxidant properties that are known to prevent and cure several diseases, making it one of the foods good for the liver.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver, which is usually caused by poor lifestyle choices, can be prevented by eating avocados due to its antioxidant properties.
This claim was supported by a study that confirmed the avocado’s ability to suppress liver damage.
Broccoli contains isothiocyanates, which regulate the expression and activity of enzymes that are engaged in promoting metabolism and eliminating carcinogens.
They also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. A scientific study has confirmed that long-term broccoli consumption reduces the risk of fatty liver and liver cancer.
Garlic and garlic extract also have significant amounts of antioxidant properties that guard the body against free radical damage. It vitalizes the liver to stimulate enzymes that can eliminate toxic materials.
It is important to note though that heating damages the qualities of garlic. If you won’t consume it raw, you can buy supplemental capsules from the pharmacy instead.
Grapefruit is another excellent source of antioxidants that are proven to boost immunity.
Scientists conducted an experiment on lab rats to examine the possible role of grapefruit and Oroblanco grapefruit on hepatic detoxification enzymes.
It was discovered that grapefruit enhanced hepatic detoxification.
7. Green leafy vegetables
Green leafy vegetables (GLVs) are also helpful in protecting your liver from oxidative stress and other illnesses.
Vegetables like lettuce, mustard greens, spinach, radish greens, collard greens, and sweet potato are rich in vitamins A, B, C, and K, and have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
A study also confirmed that eating GLVs improve liver fatty acid profiles and reduce the risk of fatty liver and cardiovascular diseases.
8. Olive Oil
The nonalcoholic fatty liver is reported to be the most common liver disease brought about by poor lifestyle choices.
Scientists discovered that olive oil consumption reduces the risk of liver diseases. Olive oil decreases LDL or bad cholesterol and improves insulin resistance, promoting liver health.
Walnut is another healthy liver food. It is essentially rich in healthy fats that contain anti-inflammatory properties.
Scientists observed a reduction in hepatic triglyceride amounts when lab rats were supplemented with walnut.
It also regulated essential proteins in liver homeostasis and suppressed genes involved in adipose tissue inflammation.
10. Whole Grains
Whole grains like quinoa, rye, amaranth, and brown rice are packed with dietary fiber, which is helpful in weight loss.
How to Keep Your Liver Healthy
Dietary and lifestyle changes can significantly improve your liver health. Aside from eating foods good for the liver, there are other ways by which you can take care of it. Below are some of them:
Have a balanced diet
Too much fat can lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which is why it is important to keep a balanced diet.
Also, 85-90 percent of your blood that exits your stomach bring essential nutrients to your liver. This is why it is important to eat healthier and smarter.
Sweet potatoes and other foods rich in Vitamin A do not harm the liver, so consider consuming these foods.
Another helpful tip:
Refrain from eating raw or undercooked shellfish to avoid the risk of contamination. Also, avoid consuming too much protein as it can harm people who are suffering from liver diseases such as cirrhosis.
You can eat fiber-rich foods instead such as vegetables, fresh fruits, cereals, rice, and whole grain bread. A low-salt diet is also recommended for people with liver disease.
Lemons make a good replacement for salt. Also, and more importantly, drink lots of water!
Detoxify your liver
Every day, we expose ourselves to the harmful toxins present in our surroundings, personal care products, and processed foods among others.
While each of us has different tolerance and immunity to these substances, some may be more vulnerable than others. A serious detox may be needed to prevent illnesses caused by these external factors.
The best way to do this is through a liver cleanse. By flushing out toxins from your body through a liver cleanse, you can start to see improvement in how you feel, and in your overall health as well.
Being healthy doesn't stop at eating right. You also need to get yourself moving. Regular exercise has been proven to bring various health benefits.
When you exercise regularly, your burn triglycerides for fuel. Exercise can also help cut down liver fat.
Avoid unhealthy habits
Smoking and drinking alcohol can harm your health. These habits can damage and scar your liver. Develop healthy lifestyle habits and avoid vices as much as possible.
When it comes to taking care of your health, your liver should never leave the equation. With its many functions and roles, it deserves to receive the utmost care it deserves.
Add these foods good for the liver to ensure your liver’s optimum health. Aside from choosing to eat nutrient-dense foods and avoiding unhealthy food choices, ditch your poor lifestyle habits, too!
Also, try to have a more active lifestyle. If you can squeeze in a little time for an exercise routine. Above all, keep a positive outlook on life.
The secret to a longer life has a lot to do with living your life well. Embrace positivism and try to see the good in everything!