Modern society is a sad state that produces many over-processed livers. When we overeat or eat processed or fried foods, and, anytime we are exposed to environmental pollutants or stress, the liver becomes overworked and overloaded. When the liver is taxed, it can’t process toxins and fat in an efficient way. There are many foods that can help cleanse the liver naturally by stimulating its natural ability to clean toxic waste from the body.
In the past, I have discussed my favorite cleansing foods. This list is a little more specific and focuses mainly on foods that can help cleanse your liver. In addition to taking a liver-cleansing supplement, and performing at least two liver and gallbladder cleanses per year, eating the following foods is the best way to keep your liver healthy and functioning the way you need it to. I would encourage you to incorporate these liver cleanse foods into your weekly diet.
Just a small amount of this pungent white bulb has the ability to activate liver enzymes that help your body flush out toxins. Garlic also holds high amounts of allicin and selenium, two natural compounds that aid in liver cleansing.
High in both vitamin C and antioxidants, grapefruit increases the natural cleansing processes of the liver. A small glass of freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice will help boost production of the liver detoxification enzymes that help flush out carcinogens and other toxins.
3. Beets and Carrots
Both are extremely high in plant-flavonoids and beta-carotene; eating beets and carrots can help stimulate and improve overall liver function.
4. Green Tea
This liver-loving beverage is full of plant antioxidants known as catechins, a compound known to assist liver function. Green tea is not only delicious, it’s also a great way to improve your overall diet. Learn more about the benefits of green tea.
5. Leafy Green Vegetables
One of our most powerful allies in cleansing the liver, leafy greens can be eaten raw, cooked, or juiced. Extremely high in plant chlorophylls, greens suck up environmental toxins from the blood stream. With their distinct ability to neutralize heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides, these cleansing foods offer a powerful protective mechanism for the liver.
Try incorporating leafy greens such as bitter gourd, arugula, dandelion greens, spinach, mustard greens, and chicory into your diet. This will help increase the creation and flow of bile, the substance that removes waste from the organs and blood.
This nutrient-dense super-food helps the body produce glutathione, a compound that is necessary for the liver to cleanse harmful toxins.
High in pectin, apples hold the chemical constituents necessary for the body to cleanse and release toxins from the digestive tract. This, in turn, makes it easier for the liver to handle the toxic load during the cleansing process.
8. Olive Oil
Cold-pressed organic oils such as olive, hemp and flax-seed are great for the liver, when used in moderation. They help the body by providing a lipid base that can suck up harmful toxins in the body. In this way, it takes some of the burden off the liver in terms of the toxic overload many of us suffer from.
9. Whole Grains
Grains, such as brown rice, are rich in B-complex vitamins which are nutrients known to improve overall fat metabolization, liver function and liver decongestion. If possible, do not eat foods with white flour, instead try eating whole wheat alternatives.
10. Cruciferous Vegetables
Eating broccoli and cauliflower will increase the amount of glucosinolate in your system, adding to enzyme production in the liver. These natural enzymes help flush out carcinogens, and other toxins, out of our body which may significantly lower risks associated with cancer.
11. Lemons & Limes
These citrus fruits contain very high amounts of vitamin C, which aids the body in synthesizing toxic materials into substances that can be absorbed by water. Drinking freshly-squeezed lemon or lime juice in the morning helps stimulate the liver.
Holding high amounts of the amino acid arginine, walnuts aid the liver in detoxifying ammonia. Walnuts are also high in glutathione and omega-3 fatty acids, which support normal liver cleansing actions. Make sure you chew the nuts well (until they are liquefied) before swallowing.
Much like broccoli and cauliflower, eating cabbage helps stimulate the activation of two crucial liver detoxifying enzymes that help flush out toxins. Try eating more kimchi, coleslaw, cabbage soup and sauerkraut.
The liver’s favorite spice. Try adding some of this detoxifying goodness into your next lentil stew or veggie dish for an instant liver pick-me-up. Turmeric helps boost liver detox, by assisting enzymes that actively flush out dietary carcinogens.
Tips For Doing a Liver Cleanse
Other liver cleanse foods not listed above include artichoke, asparagus, kale, and brussel sprouts. Eating the foods listed above is a great way to help keep your liver functioning properly. However, for best results, I recommend performing a liver cleanse. Performing a liver cleanse at least twice a year will eliminate any foreign substances that may be trapped in your liver.
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM