The liver is one of the most important organs in your body. It has many functions including filtering all of your blood and removing toxins, dangerous bacteria and other harmful substances, monitoring amino acid levels, and storing vitamins.
“The liver has so many important functions, but its main function is to make bile,” says Andrea Mathis, MA, RDN, LN, a registered nutritionist and owner of the healthy eating blog Beautiful Eats & Things. “The production of bile is extremely important because it helps remove waste and break down fats in the small intestine during the digestive process.”
And if you have hepatitis C, a virus that affects the liver A liver-friendly diet is extremely important to Improving liver health and reducing the incidence of cirrhosis.
“Diet is an important part of a healthy liver. The liver also plays an important role in the metabolism of all macronutrients and an excess of them can affect their effectiveness and your health, ”saysso Serena Poon, CN, CHC, CHN, holistic nutritionist and owner of the wellness blog Serena Loves. “For this reason Diet that is high in fat, sugar, salt, alcohol, and processed foods can adversely affect your liver. “
If you have hepatitis C and you continue to be on such a diet, the liver has to work harder.
“Over time, this overload can diminish the liver’s detoxification and cleansing effects,” she says Lauren Minchen, MPH, RDN, CDN, registered dietitian nutritionist and nutritionist for Freshbit. “Conversely, with a balanced diet with antioxidants, fiber and proteins, the liver is less stressed and the nutrients from these whole foods support its natural functions and health.”
Whether or not you have hepatitis C, if you want to add liver-friendly foods to your diet, we’ve found 12 great options.
Foods that are good for your liver
1. Dark leafy vegetables
“Researchers have found Promising evidence that the natural nitrates found in leafy green vegetables can support liver health. Foods like spinach, arugula, and kale are healthy additions to any diet, especially for someone living with hepatitis C, ”says Poon. “In addition to their liver support properties, leafy green vegetables are rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fiber that support overall health. Green leafy vegetables are also considered a top anti-inflammatory food. If you’re having a hard time convincing yourself to eat leafy greens, consider adding them to a fruit-filled anti-inflammatory smoothie. “
Related: How to Keep Your Liver Healthy
2. Organic green tea
“Green tea contains antioxidants, so-called catechins, which strengthen the liver’s natural cleansing functions and can actually help reduce virus activity in hepatitis C,” says Minchen. “Matcha green tea is also a good choice here. However, avoid green tea extract, which has not been shown to be helpful for improving liver health. “
“Grapefruit is often associated with weight loss or fat loss, but it actually contributes to liver health,” says Mathis. “It contains antioxidants that naturally protect the liver and can help reduce inflammation.”
4. Wild salmon, sardines and mackerel
“Omega-3 fatty acids found in these wild fish are essential fatty acids that also have powerful anti-inflammatory effects,” says Minchen. “They reduce triglycerides and help lower LDL cholesterol, and they have also been shown to reduce the viral activity of hepatitis C while increasing liver function.”
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5.Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
“Extra virgin olive oil contains fatty acids and phenolic compounds that are rich in antioxidants and support a healthy liver. By preventing inflammation, oxidative stress, and other damage, EVOO was shown to help damage or heal liver damage, ”says Poon. “EVOO was also shown to protect against cardiovascular diseases and some types of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Extra virgin olive oil is a wonderful addition to any kitchen and can be used in dressings, on bread, or as a substitute in recipes. Choose high quality EVOO with a high phenol content. ”
“Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli can help protect the liver from damage by increasing the liver’s natural detoxification enzymes,” says Mathis. “These enzymes help filter the blood to remove toxins and other unwanted particles.”
“YYou may not think of your daily dose of caffeine as a liver support tonic, but research shows it is! Coffee consumption was shown to support liver health in a variety of ways, including preventing liver cancer, promoting fibrosis, and possibly reducing the ability of hepatitis C to replicate, ”says Poon. “Most studies have found that between 1-4 cups of coffee a day is good for liver health. I recommend opting for fair trade organic coffee blends for the best overall health (and usually taste) experience. Keep an eye on the other effects of coffee on your health. You should balance its liver healing effects with stress inducing effects. If four cups of coffee are affecting your stress levels and your ability to sleep, it could be too much. “
8. Blueberries, raspberries and strawberries
“Berries are rich in antioxidant vitamin C, B vitamins (including folic acid), and other antioxidant phytonutrients,” says Minchen. “Vitamin C actively reduces the viral load in hepatitis C cases and at the same time reduces oxidative stress on the liver. Folate supports the liver’s natural detoxification process, while the abundance of phytonutrients in berries reduces inflammation associated with liver disease. “
“Nuts are a great source of healthy fats and other important nutrients that are normally associated with heart health, but research shows that these components can also contribute to liver health,” says Mathis. “Increased nut intake has been linked to improved liver enzyme levels.”
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10. Chia seeds
“Chia seeds are rich in plant-based omega-3 fats, called ALA. This special type of omega-3 fatty acid, such as DHA and EPA in oily fish, has a liver-protective effect, reduces inflammation and supports your natural detoxification processes, “says Minchen. “In addition, the fiber in chia seeds also helps to relieve the liver and supports a healthy digestive function.”
“Oatmeal is a great source of fiber and beta-glucans, which can be beneficial for liver health,” says Mathis. “Studies show that beta-glucans can help reduce the amount of fat stored in the liver, which can provide protection and improve health.”
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12.Zhi Shi (unripe bitter orange)
“Sometimes people look for therapeutic foods outside of their culture. Zhi Shi is a dried unripe bitter orange used in traditional Chinese medicine. in the a study, researchers found that zhi shi can not only help prevent liver damage, but also potentially reverse the effects of liver damage, ”says Poon. “Zhi shi is a little difficult to find in the United States, and it is recommended that you work with a licensed practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine to determine the ideal use. Check with your doctor before starting any herbal treatment to make sure it is not contraindicated with any medical condition or current medication. “
Next, read about these 13 foods high in vitamin D.