The liver can really take quite a beating. Chunks can be ripped from it, and it will still work. Nonetheless your liver has its limits, and if you do not support it with the right food, it might eventually fail you, if you abuse it enough. The purposes of the liver are numerous to break down damaged cells, to produce proteins that help with clotting, to break down fats and produce energy, to clean the blood of toxins, and to produce bile to aid in digestion.
There are essentially three ways that food can help the liver. One is to help flush the body of toxins, which leaves less for the liver to deal with. The second is to aid the liver in its function. The last is to stimulate the production of enzymes that will help the liver do its job.
The Importance of Spices
is probably the most important thing to add to your diet if you want to protect your liver
. It helps on multiple fronts. Garlic has allicin, which is a thiosulfinate that helps activate enzyme production that flushes toxins. It contains vitamin B6
, which helps to lower the homocysteine
levels in the body, thus acting as an anti-inflammatory for the liver. It has arginine, an amino acid that reduces the blood pressure in the liver. It has selenium
, which supports antioxidants in their work to flush toxins from the system.
is another wonder spice for your liver. There are several studies being done that show turmeric has some amazing properties, especially when it comes to the liver. It strengthens a damaged liver
, protects a healthy one, and might even have the ability to cure liver cancer. What makes turmeric useful to the liver is curcumin, though the exact benefits are still being studied. Early studies show that it helps reduce bile duct blockage and protects the cell from damage and scarring. Turmeric contains curcumin, which is believed to communicate with the liver to produce more LDL receptors, which help remove cholesterol from the liver
. Studies done on rats show that turmeric increases their ability to flush toxins. Turmeric is particularly powerful at protecting against hepatoxins (toxins that target the liver), and even helps rebuild the liver.
is another one, though too much of it can have the opposite effect. Green tea is an unfermented leaf, and this results in it having the highest polyphenols count of all the teas. Polyphenols are a powerful anti-oxidant, crucial to fight free radicals that are constantly bombarding our bodies. It also contains catechin, a flavanoid that, among other things, helps to augment anti-tumour activity of doxorubicin
. Doxorubicin is a bacterial antibiotic used to treat leukaemia
. Several lab tests
have shown that green tea improves liver function, blocks the amount of fat stored in the liver and strengthens anti-oxidant defences.
The Foods that Help
is a type of fibre that helps flush the body of the toxins that the liver could not handle, thus preventing them from being reabsorbed by the body. Pectin is found in apples, citrus fruit, beets, peaches, apricots, carrots, tomatoes and potatoes.
is important, as there appears to be a direct link between the level of glutathione and the ability of the liver to detoxify the higher the glutathione level, the better. It is another in the sulphur family, like the allicin in garlic, and it draws toxins (heavy metals, free radicals) to it like a magnet pulls in ferrous metal. Glutathione can be found in avocadoes, walnuts, garlic, cumin, onions, broccoli, kale, cabbage, collards, cauliflower, asparagus, potatoes, peppers, carrots, squash, spinach, tomatoes, grapefruit, apples, oranges, peaches, bananas, and melons.
Lemons and limes
help with digestion by stimulating the production of bile. They also help to loosen toxins lodged in the digestive tract. Many people swear that starting the day with a glass of hot water and lemon. It activates the metabolism and helps with digestion.