14 Foods That Cleanse the Liver

Dr. Group
by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
Published on , Last Updated on

A glass of organic fresh lemonade. Performing a liver cleanse twice a year is a great way to remove the toxins from your liver.

Modern society is a sad state that produces many over-processed livers. When we overeat or eat processed or fried foods, or 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 expel toxic waste from the body.

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14 Foods that Cleanse the Liver
Length: 5 minutes

In the past, I have discussed my favorite cleansing foods. The list in this article is a little more specific and focuses mainly on foods that can help cleanse your liver. All it takes is a few simple steps to promote normal liver health. 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. I encourage you to incorporate these liver cleanse foods into your diet.

1. Garlic

Garlic
Just a small amount of this pungent white bulb has the ability to activate liver enzymes that help your body flush out toxins.[1] Garlic also holds high amounts of allicin and selenium, two natural compounds that aid in liver cleansing.

2. Grapefruit

High in both vitamin C and antioxidants, citrus fruits like grapefruit, oranges, limes, and lemons support the natural cleansing abilities of the liver.[2] Have a small glass of freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice to boost production of the liver detoxification enzymes that help flush out carcinogens and other toxins.

3. Beets and Carrots

Beets
Both are extremely high in plant-flavonoids and beta-carotene; eating beets and carrots can stimulate and support overall liver function.[3]

4. Green Tea

This liver-loving beverage is full of plant-based antioxidants known as catechins—compounds known to assist liver function.[4] Green tea is a delicious, healthy addition to any diet. Just remember that green tea offers the benefits, not green tea extract. Some research suggests green tea extract may actually have a negative effect on liver health.[5] Keep it simple and stick to the beverage to enjoy the benefits of green tea.

5. Leafy Green Vegetables

Leafy Greens
One of our most powerful allies in cleansing the liver, leafy greens can be eaten raw, cooked, or juiced. Extremely high in chlorophyll, greens soak up environmental toxins from the blood stream.[6] With their distinct ability to neutralize heavy metals, chemicals, and pesticides, these cleansing foods offer a powerful protective mechanism for the liver.

Incorporate leafy greens such as bitter gourd, arugula, dandelion greens, spinach, mustard greens, and chicory into your diet. This will increase creation and flow of bile—the substance that removes waste from the organs and blood.

6. Avocados

This nutrient-dense superfood helps the body produce glutathione, a compound that is necessary for the liver to cleanse harmful toxins.[7]

7. Apples

Apple
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.[2, 8]

8. Olive Oil

Cold-pressed organic oils such as olive, hemp, and flaxseed are great for the liver when used in moderation. They help the body by providing a lipid base that can absorb harmful toxins in the body.[9] In this way, they take some of the burden off the liver.

9. Alternative Grains

If your diet includes wheat, flour, or other standard grains, it’s time to make changes. And alternative grains like quinoa, millet, and buckwheat can help. Your liver is your body’s filter for toxins, and if you have certain sensitivities, grains that contain gluten only add to them. One study found that persons who experienced sensitivity to gluten also experienced abnormal liver enzyme test results.[10]

10. Cruciferous Vegetables

Broccoli and cauliflower are good sources of glucosinolate, which supports enzyme production in the liver. These natural enzymes flush carcinogens and other toxins from the body, and may significantly lower risks associated with cancer.[2]

11. Lemons and Limes

Lemons and Limes
These citrus fruits are high in 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 can stimulate the liver.[2]

12. Walnuts

High in the amino acid arginine, walnuts support the liver in detoxifying ammonia. [11] Walnuts are also high in glutathione and omega-3 fatty acids,[12] which support normal liver cleansing.[13, 14] Make sure you chew the nuts until they are liquefied before swallowing.

13. Cabbage

Much like broccoli and cauliflower, eating cabbage stimulates liver detoxifying enzymes that help flush out toxins. Kimchi, coleslaw, cabbage soup, and sauerkraut are great cabbage-foods to add to your diet.[2]

14. Turmeric

Turmeric is 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 detoxification by assisting enzymes that actively flush out dietary toxins.[1]

This golden spice tastes great in all kinds of dishes, but you can further boost your intake with a turmeric supplement. A word of warning; turmeric supplements are somewhat notorious for low-quality ingredients and even outright dangerous contamination.[15] Only buy the highest quality turmeric from the most reputable sources. I encourage you to try Global Healing Center’s own Turmeric supplement. This premium liquid supplement contains potent antioxidants and is sourced only from organic Curcuma longa root.

Tips For Doing a Liver Cleanse

Other liver cleanse foods not listed above include artichoke, asparagus, kale, and Brussels 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.

References (15)
  1. Braun, Lesley, and Marc Cohen. "Herbs and Natural Supplements, Volume 2: An Evidence-Based Guide, Volume 2." Elsevier Health Sciences, 30 Mar. 2015. Print.
  2. Guan, Yong-Song, and Qing He. "Plants Consumption and Liver Health." Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM 2015 (2015): 824185. PMC. Web. 6 Mar. 2017.
  3. Váli, László, et al. "Liver-Protecting Effects of Table Beet (beta Vulgaris Var. Rubra) During Ischemia-Reperfusion." Nutrition, vol. 23, no. 2, Feb. 2007, pp. 172–178.
  4. Sakata, R., Nakamura, T., Torimura, T., Ueno, T., Sata, M. "Green tea with high-density catechins improves liver function and fat infiltration in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) patients: A double-blind placebo-controlled study." International Journal of Molecular Medicine 32.5 (2013): 989-994.
  5. "Green Tea (Camellia Sinesis)." LiverTox, U.S. National Library of Medicine. Accessed 6 Mar. 2017.
  6. Dashwood, Roderick. "Chlorophyll and Chlorophyllin." Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, June 2009. Accessed 6 Mar. 2017.
  7. Brai, BIC, et al. "Hepatoprotective Properties of Aqueous Leaf Extract of Persea Americana, Mill (Lauraceae) “avocado” Against Ccl4-Induced Damage in Rats." African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, vol. 11, no. 2, 1 July 2014, p. 237.
  8. Bobek, P., et al. "Effect of Dehydrated Apple Products on the Serum and Liver Lipids in Syrian Hamsters." Die Nahrung., vol. 34, no. 9, 1 Jan. 1990, pp. 783–9. Accessed 6 Mar. 2017.
  9. Nakbi, Amel, et al. "Effects of Olive Oil and Its Fractions on Oxidative Stress and the Liver’s Fatty Acid Composition in 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid-Treated Rats." Nutrition & Metabolism 7 (2010): 80. PMC. Web. 6 Mar. 2017.
  10. Zali, Mohammad Reza, et al. "Liver Complications in Celiac Disease." Hepatitis Monthly 11.5 (2011): 333–341. Print.
  11. Wu, Guoyao, et al. "Arginine Metabolism and Nutrition in Growth, Health and Disease." Amino acids 37.1 (2009): 153–168. PMC. Web. 6 Mar. 2017.
  12. Taha, Nael Abu. "Utility and Importance of Walnut, Juglans Regia Linn: A Review." African Journal of Microbiology Research, vol. 5, no. 32, 30 Dec. 2011.
  13. Kaplowitz, N. "The Importance and Regulation of Hepatic Glutathione." The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 54.6 (1981): 497–502. Print.
  14. Scorletti, E., and CD Byrne. "Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Hepatic Lipid Metabolism, and Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease." Annual Review of Nutrition., vol. 33, 19 July 2013, pp. 231–48. Accessed 6 Mar. 2017.
  15. "Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts - Update: Gel Spice, Inc. Issues Expanded Recall of Ground Tumeric Powder Due to Elevated Lead Levels." US Food and Drug Administration Home Page. Office of Regulatory Affairs, 5 Aug. 2016. Web. 09 Mar. 2017.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

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