Today, we are going to explore the best foods to clean out your liver. It is important to understand that your liver does not naturally have toxins. Its primary function is to detoxify harmful substances such as toxins, poisons, and chemicals.
Many people think the liver stores harmful substances; however, this is only true if you have a fatty liver. In such cases, the toxins get stored in fat cells and make the liver toxic.
When your liver gets inflamed, it heals by forming scar tissue. Too much scar tissue can cause cirrhosis and loss of liver function, resulting in serious health issues.
However, it is possible to regenerate your liver through food alone, and help it to detoxify at maximum capacity; this is what we will cover in this video.
First, let’s talk about the different functions of the liver.
So, the liver plays a vital role in detoxification, bile production, and hormone synthesis.
Bile is a fluid produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder that aids in breaking down fats and absorbing nutrients from them.
Your liver is a primary producer of hormones, including IGF-1, or insulin-like growth factor 1. Growth hormone, produced by the pituitary gland, tells the liver to make IGF-1. Then, IGF-1 carries out growth-promoting actions as an extension of growth hormone, such as fat burning, muscle building, and protein synthesis. It also helps you use stored sugar and fat as energy for your body.
Plus, your liver processes steroid hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and vitamin D3 (which acts like a hormone in the body).
Another important hormone produced by your liver is cortisol, the primary anti-inflammatory hormone that helps your body deal with stress. Without enough cortisol, you will feel more stressed. Eighty percent of the cortisol circulating in your bloodstream is made from HDL cholesterol secreted by your liver.
Your liver needs to produce the correct amounts of HDL and LDL so that enough cholesterol can be delivered to the locations where it is needed to make steroid hormones and cell membranes. Every single cell in your body—and there are trillions of them—is lined on the outside with cholesterol.
If your diet is high in sugar, it will cause your liver to produce more LDL, which when oxidized, can lead to cholesterol buildup in your arteries. Research has shown that NAFLD is strongly associated with clogged arteries.
What is interesting is that people who take statins to lower cholesterol may end up not making hormones efficiently, and they may have all sorts of issues.
So these are just some of the 500 functions of your liver.
Now, before we get to the food, let’s go through the different symptoms that occur when you have damage to the liver.
Skin itchiness, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes), lethargy, swollen legs and abdomen, and achy joints are some common symptoms that may indicate liver issues.
Many people who experience stiffness and joint inflammation might be dealing with an underlying liver problem.
Nausea is another major symptom associated with liver dysfunction. And, a decline in cognitive function could also be linked to liver damage.
Gallstones are a likely indicator of liver problems because a deficiency of bile and an excess of cholesterol can cause them to form.
So, now let’s get into the best foods to cleanse and detox your liver.
At the top of the list is Number 8. “Cruciferous Vegetables”.
Cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, radish, arugula, and mustard greens, are incredibly beneficial for liver health.
These vegetables are rich in a natural phytonutrient called sulforaphane, which plays a vital role in boosting your liver’s detoxification enzymes and reducing inflammation.
Inflammation, can lead to insulin resistance, high insulin levels, diabetes, and even cancer. So, incorporating sulforaphane into your diet is essential for liver protection
Sulforaphane can quickly detoxify substances like caffeine, drugs, chemicals, and even poisons. It can also help if there’s fat accumulation in the liver.
Cruciferous sprouts, such as broccoli, radish, and mustard seed sprouts, contain up to ten times more sulforaphane. Adding just a small amount of these sprouts to your salad can yield significant health benefits.
Cruciferous vegetables also contain cysteine, a primary building block of glutathione – a disease-fighting natural molecule found in every cell, often described as the body’s “master antioxidant.” It helps reduce liver damage and inflammation and contains sulfur which binds to toxins and free radicals, allowing them to be harmlessly flushed from the body.
To get up to 4 times more sulforaphane from these sprouts, heat them for ten minutes at no higher than 70 degrees Celsius (158 degrees Fahrenheit). For mature broccoli, heat no more than 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit).
Coming up we have Number 7. “Garlic”.
Garlic is packed with sulfur, a powerful compound that aids in detoxifying the liver and acts as a natural antibiotic. It is very anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral.
Sulfur is an essential component of glutathione, and your liver would not be able to make glutathione without it.
Garlic is particularly effective in removing excess fat from the liver, thus promoting optimal liver function.
Moving on we have Number 6. “Beets”.
Beets have long been recognized for their liver detoxifying properties, offering numerous benefits for liver health.
They can help lower elevated liver enzymes. And their phytonutrients, particularly the pigments, aid in activating the release of bile salts (the primary component of bile). This helps remove fat from the liver.
Moreover, beets are hepatoprotective, which means they safeguard liver cells and significantly reduce inflammation in the liver. In this way, beets help slow down the progression of fibrosis (scar tissue formation), and cirrhosis.
And at Number 5, we have “Turmeric”.
Turmeric is an essential ingredient for liver health, primarily due to its active phytonutrient, curcumin.
Curcumin is a powerful agent with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and detoxifying effects. It protects the liver from the damaging effects of pollutants, particularly heavy metals, such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic.
Turmeric has been extensively studied for its ability to reduce fat accumulation in the liver, and it has been shown to protect against metabolic syndrome – a cluster of unhealthy medical conditions that can set the stage for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Additionally, turmeric has been shown to help repair and regenerate liver functions. Interestingly, the liver is the only organ in the human body that can regenerate itself after damage.
This resilient organ can withstand significant damage and still function effectively provided that it is not completely destroyed. Many people with damaged livers can still survive and thrive.
Next up, we have Number 4. “Mushrooms”.
Mushrooms play a crucial role in supporting overall liver function, due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Mushrooms are especially high in glutathione content. This master antioxidant neutralizes free radicals and protects the liver from oxidative stress. Mushrooms with high levels of glutathione include porcini, white button, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms.
In addition, reishi and shiitake mushrooms not only boost liver health but also offer hepatoprotective properties, which means they safeguard the liver cells from damage.
Coming into the top 3, Number 3 is “Avocados”.
Avocados are highly beneficial for liver health due to their rich content of glutathione. Including avocados in your diet can help reduce inflammation, which is crucial to prevent liver complications such as hepatitis, fatty liver disease, and cirrhosis. Consuming just one to two avocados per week can improve liver health.
Moving on we have Number 2. “Eggs”.
Eggs are beneficial for your liver because they contain high amounts of choline in the yolk, which can help stop and reverse NAFLD. It helps move fat away from the liver to other places in the body, thereby preventing the accumulation of fat in the liver, which can cause inflammation, liver damage, and cirrhosis.
Furthermore, choline helps control cholesterol levels and keep the liver healthy. As if its fat-burning capabilities weren’t impressive enough, it turns out that choline can actively promote the regeneration and regrowth of liver cells. Another excellent source of choline is organ meat like liver and kidney.
And at Number 1, we have “Prebiotics and Probiotics”.
The liver is very close to the digestive system and connected by a special system called the “hepatic portal system”. If there is an imbalance in the digestive tract, such as too much bad bacteria, it can hurt the liver. This is because bad bacteria release substances that can cause inflammation in the liver.
Taking probiotics (healthy bacteria) and prebiotics (fiber, which acts as “food” for good bacteria) can help improve liver health. The probiotics and prebiotics help balance the gut, which leads to positive effects on the liver.
Studies showed that people with NAFLD who took prebiotic and probiotic supplements reduced inflammation and scarring, as well as fat storage in the liver.
Prebiotic fibers include onions, garlic, asparagus, and bananas. Probiotic-fermented foods include sauerkraut, miso soup, kimchi, and kombucha.