2. Drink raw vegetable juice – an easy way to pack a whole lot of nutrition in one glass.
Your liver benefits from a wide variety of vegetables but it’s hard to eat enough to provide a thorough cleanse.
Using a juicer, you can pack four to five servings of raw vegetables into one glass, creating a nutrient-dense liver-detox powerhouse. Mixing vegetables also makes it easy to include selections you don’t particularly like.
Additionally, drinking just the juice—rather than the entire vegetable that contains digestion-intensive fiber in the pulp—is easier on the liver.
Best foods for your liver-cleansing juice:
- cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, daikon)
- dark leafy greens
- sea vegetables
- ginger root
- carrot (19)
- herbs: parsley, mint, cilantro
3. Increase your potassium intake – liver damage depletes blood potassium levels. (If you have problems with your kidneys, consume potassium-laden foods in moderation.)
Research has shown a direct correlation between low serum potassium and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. (20)
Potassium is important to the liver to regulate cell pressure and maintain heartbeat; the heart supplies the liver with blood.
Liver cells, when faced with restricted blood flow, lose dangerous amounts of potassium. (21)
Potassium deficiency in otherwise healthy people isn’t uncommon so if you are at a loss to begin with, liver dysfunction will exacerbate the problem.
- Beans – they’re good for more than just your heart. White, kidney, and lima beans are among the most potassium-rich.
- Beet greens and spinach – beet roots are great for circulation but don’t throw away the greens! Beets and their greens stimulate bile production and flow, which are important for liver support. These might be a good candidate for juice or a smoothie but can be eaten raw or cooked to get over 1300mg of potassium in one cup (almost forty percent of the daily recommended intake).
- Blackstrap molasses – this raw product of sugarcane is extraordinarily nutrient-dense. You can use it to replace other, less-nutritious sweeteners.
- Sweet potato – contains more potassium than a banana; vitamins A, B-complex, C, and K; manganese, copper, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. A sweet potato is mostly carbohydrates, so you may want to skip or limit this root vegetable if you’re diabetic. (22)
- Tomato (concentrated) – this berry is mostly water, so to get all the potassium from it (and significant vitamins A and C), eat it in a puree, paste, or sauce, where loads of them can be mushed together. One cup of whole tomatoes contains 400mg of potassium, whereas one cup of puréed tomatoes contains almost three times that much.
- Banana (we couldn’t leave it off the list) – on top of its potassium content, bananas are a fiber-rich prebiotic that feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut to improve digestion. Furthermore, pectin in banana helps to rid the body of heavy metals, an important part of detoxifying your liver.
4. Add milk thistle, dandelion, and turmeric to your diet – these herbs and spice are notorious for liver support.
- Milk thistle is probably the most effective herb for liver support. It contains several flavonoid antioxidants and protects the liver from toxins and heavy metals. Thistle has been shown to speed healing of the liver when it’s been plagued by hepatitis and cirrhosis. A 2010 study found significant reductions in liver toxicity resulting from chemotherapy after supplementation with milk thistle. (23) You can find milk thistle tea, tinctures, or capsule supplements at natural food stores.
- As with beets, the entire dandelion is edible and extremely beneficial for human health. Dandelion greens are a natural diuretic that promote toxin elimination and stimulate bile production and flow. The leaves can be rather tough but are wonderful as a tea or in a juice or smoothie. The root of the dandelion improves lipid (fat) profiles and its antioxidants reduce the risk of metabolic disorders. It’s also good for easing digestion.
- Turmeric is a superspice, good for whatever ails you and the liver is no exception. Its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory compound curcumin has been found to help improve liver metabolism and repair injury caused by various toxins and illnesses. (24)