The liver isn’t the most glamorous part of the body, but it is a hard worker. Among its many jobs are detoxification, protein synthesis, and the production of biochemicals needed for digestion. It’s not glamorous, but it’s very important: You can’t live without it. If you want to be healthy, keeping your liver functioning as it should is mandatory.
To be honest, the liver has never been at the top of my list of health concerns. But after looking around a bit, I decided that maybe it deserves a little more attention, a little more care. But what can you do for your liver?
Well, I of course jumped to a “fix-it” mentality. I decided that what the liver probably needed was a detox; it’s always dealing with toxins, impurities, and so forth, so cleaning it out seemed like a good idea.
But WebMD convinced me otherwise. They actually said that “most natural liver detox diets have little science supporting them… are very restrictive and can cause harm….”
Detox diets are usually restrictive and impossible to maintain for more than a little while, and if they involve any fasting, that can actually slow your metabolism and possibly deprive your body of necessary nutrients. Fasting can even become addictive because it can cause a sort of “high,” And if you have diabetes, low blood sugar, an eating disorder, a heart condition, any chronic condition, are a child, a teenager, a senior, pregnant or breastfeeding, forget it.
I decided to approach liver care with a more supportive, less aggressive strategy. I decided to find out what my liver needs, not what I need to do to it.
So what’s good for the liver? Foods that fight free radicals and promote natural detoxification:
Apples The pectin in apples attaches itself to heavy metals to help your body excrete them.
Artichokes increase the production of bile which helps move toxins through the bowels.
Beets contain folate (an important type of B vitamin that needs to be consumed daily) and, when eaten regularly, help cleanse the liver.
Bitter leafy greens (e.g., chicory, dandelion, endive, etc.) help stimulate bile flow.
Cruciferous vegetables (e.g., broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower) contain phytochemicals to breakdown toxins as well as help the liver produce the enzymes it needs for detoxification.
Garlic contains allicin, a sulfur-like compound that helps lean the liver of such substances as mercury and food additives. If you don’t like the smell of garlic, try taking garlic pills.
Other fruits (e.g., blueberries, grapefruit, prunes, raisins, strawberries, oranges, cantaloupe, pears) that contain those all-important antioxidants. Try to eat at least 3 servings a day.
So, you can maintain a healthy liver without torturing yourself. From this list of foods, I’d even say the process might be enjoyable. Healthy liver. Happy me. Win. Win.