The liver is the second largest organ in the body (second only to the skin) and it plays a critical role in your health. The main job of this organ is to filter blood from the digestive tract before it moves through to the rest of the body. It also works to detoxify foreign chemicals and metabolizes drugs. While at work, bile is secreted out of the liver, and this bile makes its way into the intestines. Other important jobs of the liver include creating factors that clot blood, producing proteins, synthesizes glycogen, and makes cholesterol and triglycerides. Lastly, the liver stores vitamins and other important chemicals that are vital to your health, including folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin A, iron, vitamin K, and vitamin D.
Like any organ, the liver is susceptible to damage. Though it takes a large amount of damage for any real issues to develop, if they do, they can be catastrophic for your health. Common conditions of the liver include hepatitis, jaundice, fatty liver disease, and cirrhosis.
Your diet can have a big impact on the health of your liver. Eating foods that are high in fat and processed materials, as well as ingesting high quantities of alcohol and consuming large amounts of medications can lead to liver damage. These factors leave you more prone to liver damage.
Fortunately, the liver is also highly resilient. Making changes to your diet can actually cleanse it and ensure its proper function. Here’s a look at 11 foods that can cleanse your liver and keep it in good health.
This green cruciferous vegetable is touted for being one of the healthiest foods that you can eat. For good reason, too. It is packed with vital nutrients that are important for various metabolic functions. It’s also full of antioxidants and chlorophyll, elements that can cleanse the liver.
Broccoli is also high in dietary fiber, which can cleanse the body – and the liver – of various toxins. Additionally, broccoli contains glucosinolates, which assist the liver with the production of enzymes that further help with the removal of accumulated toxins; and assist with digestion, too.
Plus, broccoli is a great source of vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin that further assists with removing toxins from the liver.
Both the golden and the red variety of this root vegetable can do a world of good for the health of the liver. High in iron, beets assist with the production of red blood cells, and also purify the blood; two factors that help to cleanse the liver and improve its function.
Beets are also a great source of antioxidants, which help to combat the damage caused by free radicals, which can impact the liver. These veggies are also packed with other nutrients, including folate, fiber, betaine, and betanin, all elements that improve the health of the liver.
Lastly, beets contain pectin, a soluble form of fiber that can cleanse the liver of toxic buildup.
3. Sweet potatoes
A valuable source of beta-carotene, sweet potatoes are an excellent food to add to your diet if you want to cleanse your liver. Beta carotene has anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial for all of your organs, including the liver.
It also helps your liver process natural vitamin A. Medical health professionals recommend getting vitamin A from natural sources as opposed to supplements, as supplements can actually do damage to your liver.
Additionally, sweet potatoes contain vitamin C and dietary fiber, which are known for their ability to cleanse the body and boost immunity.
A rich source of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and therefore cleanses the liver, lentils are a great food to consume if you are looking to cleanse and improve the function of this organ. Lentils also contain plant-based protein, which is much better for your liver than animal-based proteins.
Protein that is derived from animals can be hard on the liver, which can actually cause damage. Lentils, on the other hand, provide necessary protein without causing damage to this vital organ.
This citrus fruit is a great way to cleanse the liver. Lemons have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which are both beneficial for cleansing the liver.
They also have a high amount of antioxidants, specifically vitamin C, which also rids the liver of toxic buildup. Lemons assist the liver with the production of enzymes, which will not only aid in digestion but will give you more energy, too.
And, despite the fact that they are acidic in nature, lemons actually alkalize the body, which aids in the secretion of waste that builds up in the liver.
The old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” comes to mind. A rich source of pectin, a form of soluble fiber, apples can pull toxins out of the liver and other organs. This fruit also removes cholesterol from the blood, which helps to improve the health of the liver, too.
Additionally, apples are loaded with malic acid, a nutrient that has natural cleansing properties that have the ability to remove toxins from the bloodstream, thereby further improving the health of your liver.
While all apples are healthy for your liver, organic varieties are the best, as they are free of pesticides that could actually harm this organ.
7. Green leafy vegetables
Veggies like spinach, Swiss chard, kale, collard greens, arugula, and romaine lettuce are all foods that you should up your intake of if you want to cleanse your liver and keep it healthy. These nutrient-dense veggies pack a powerful punch for the health of your gut and your liver.
Most notably, they contain chlorophyll, which purifies the blood and aids the function of the liver by neutralizing toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and even pesticides that can do damage to the liver.
Again, make sure that you purchase organic leafy greens, as they are free of liver-damaging pesticides.
Onions are full of allicin, a nutrient that flushes the liver, as well as the digestive tract, riding both of toxins. Onions are also a great source of potassium, flavonoids, phytonutrients, and fiber, which all assist your body in a myriad of ways, from fighting off infections to repelling the absorption of toxic chemicals.
On top of all of that, onions are full of antioxidants, so they can prevent damage caused by free radicals. If you aren’t a fan of the pungent odor and taste of raw onions, sauté them in olive oil for a more pleasing experience.
Garlic is famous for its rich flavor and delicious aroma, but it also does a world of good for your health. It contains selenium and allicin, two powerful nutrients that do wonders for the health of your liver.
These nutrients both cleanse and nourish the whole body, particularly your blood. Selenium is most noted for its ability to detoxify, and allicin helps to protect the immune system from foreign pathogens.
Both of the qualities of garlic make it a great food for flushing your liver of unwanted and dangerous toxins. Opt for whole garlic instead of processed for the best effects.
If you love guacamole, you’re going to love knowing that the main ingredient in this delicious dip, avocados, can actually help cleanse the liver. Avocados are considered a superfood because they are packed with vitamins and nutrients that are vital for your overall health and well being.
Most notably, avocados assist the body in the production of glutathione, a compound that helps the liver cleanse itself of toxic chemicals. It is also full of fat soluble fiber, which makes it easier for your liver and your digestive tract to break it down.
Lastly, it’s a great source of healthy cholesterol, which improves the health of the blood, thereby cleansing the liver.