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LIVER HEALTH
Reshma Harish Joshi ( Clinical Nutritionist ) | 10 May, 2022
blog

The liver is a powerhouse of an organ.

The liver is a major organ which performs many essential biological functions such as detoxification of the organism, and the synthesis of proteins and biochemicals necessary for digestion and growth.

The five major functions of the liver include:

Filtration.

Digestion.

Metabolism and Detoxification.

Protein synthesis.

Storage of vitamins and minerals.


 

The liver performs essential, life-sustaining functions. While we can't live without a liver completely, we can live with only part of one. Many people can function well with just under half of their liver. Liver can also grow back to full size within a matter of months.

It also breaks down toxins like alcohol, medications, and natural byproducts of metabolism. Keeping your liver in good shape is important for maintaining health.

Coffee is one of the best beverages you can drink to promote liver health.

Studies have shown that drinking coffee protects the liver from disease, even among those who already have problems with this organ.

Studies have repeatedly shown that drinking coffee helps lower the risk of cirrhosis, or permanent liver damage, in people with chronic liver disease

Coffee increases antioxidant levels in the liver, all while decreasing inflammation. It also helps lower the risk of developing liver disease, cancer, and fatty liver.


 

A smaller study including people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) found that drinking green tea high in antioxidants for 12 weeks improved liver enzyme levels and may also help reduce oxidative stress and fat deposits in the liver

Grapefruit contains antioxidants that naturally protect the liver. The two main antioxidants found in grapefruit are naringenin and naringin.

The protective effects of grapefruit are known to occur in two ways — by reducing inflammation and protecting cells.


 

Blueberries and cranberries both contain anthocyanins, which are antioxidants that give berries their distinctive colors. They’ve also been linked to many health benefits.

Several animal studies have demonstrated that whole cranberries and blueberries, as well as their extracts or juices, can help keep the liver healthy

Berries are high in antioxidants, which help protect the liver from damage. They may even help improve its immune and antioxidant responses. Still, human studies are needed to confirm these results.


 

Beetroot juice helps protect the liver from oxidative damage and inflammation, all while increasing its natural detoxification enzymes. However, human studies are needed.


 

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts may help increase the liver’s natural detoxification enzymes, protect it from damage, and improve blood levels of liver enzymes.


 

Nuts are high in fats, nutrients like the antioxidant vitamin E, and beneficial plant compounds.

This composition is responsible for several health benefits, especially for heart health, but also potentially for the liver

Nut intake has been associated with improved liver enzyme levels in people with NAFLD. Conversely, low nut intake has been associated with a higher risk of developing the disease.

One 2015 studyTrusted Source reports that a large number of plant foods may be helpful for the liver.

These include:

  • avocados

  • bananas

  • barley

  • beets and beet juice

  • broccoli

  • brown rice

  • carrots

  • figs

  • lemons

  • papayas

  • watermelons

People should eat these foods, if possible, as part of a whole and balanced diet


 

Eating omega-3-rich .fatty fish has many benefits for the liver. However, it’s just as important to keep your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in check.

Olive oil is considered a healthy fat because of its many health benefits, including positive effects on heart and metabolic health.

However, it also has positive effects on the liver

Several more recent studies have found similar effects of olive oil consumption in humans, including less fat accumulation in the liver, improved insulin sensitivity, and improved blood levels of liver enzymes

Fat accumulation in the liver is part of the first stage of liver disease. Therefore, olive oil’s positive effects on liver fat, as well as other aspects of health, make it a valuable part of a healthy diet.

The foods listed above have demonstrated beneficial effects on the liver. These benefits include the following:

  • a lowered risk of liver disease and cancer

  • higher antioxidant and detoxification enzyme levels

  • protection against harmful toxins

Incorporating these foods into your diet is a natural and healthy way to help keep your liver functioning at its best.

However, there are also some foods and food groups Trusted Source that the liver finds harder to process. These include:

  • Fatty foods: These include fried foods, fast food meals, and takeout meals from many restaurants. Packaged snacks and chips may also be surprisingly high in fats.

  • Starchy foods: These include low fiber, highly processed breads, pastas, cakes, and baked goods.

  • Sugar: Cutting back on sugar and sugary foods — such as cereals, baked goods, and candies — may help reduce the stress on the liver.

  • Salt: Some simple ways to reduce salt intake include eating out less often, avoiding canned meats or vegetables.

  • Alcohol: Anyone who is looking to give their liver a break may wish to consider reducing their intake of alcohol or eliminating it from the diet completely.