The liver is a very important organ in our body. We should consume best food for liver to keep it in healthy condition. Liver is responsible for carrying out a wide range of tasks that includes synthesis of proteins, bile, and cholesterol to store vitamins, carbohydrates, and minerals in the body.
Liver also helps in breaking down alcohol, medicines, and byproducts of metabolism. Thus, maintaining the health of this organ is critical for sound functioning of the body. In this article, we will tell you about the best foods and lifestyle tips that will keep your liver healthy.
Basic Facts About Liver
The liver is an essential organ of the digestive system in our body. It has several significant roles to play such as production of protein, metabolization of medicines, purification of the blood, elimination of toxins, and secretion of chemicals (bile juice) that aids in digesting food in the body. Your liver constantly assists in fighting off various types of infections, regulating blood glucose and cholesterol levels in the body.
Why Healthy Eating Is Important To Keep Liver Healthy?
Liver is made up of fat. When this fat content increases in the liver, then it leads to a condition called “fatty liver”. If this condition is not taken care of then it can also lead to liver “cirrhosis”. Fatty liver is categorized into two types: non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Both these types of conditions if not treated on time can lead to damage of the liver. It is important that a person should eat right and avoid smoking, and alcohol consumption to keep this organ healthy throughout the life.
Symptoms of Liver Disease
List of Healthy Food For Liver
Oatmeal tops the list of best food for liver. It has plenty of fiber that aids in reducing accumulated fat in the liver. It is viewed as one of the excellent ways to prevent various types of liver diseases.
Cruciferous vegetables especially broccoli is helpful in protection against non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It prevents the deposition of collagen, and fats in the liver that are the two important indicators of liver ailment. Broccoli has high fiber content that makes it beneficial for health of liver. This holy vegetable prevents liver failure by improving detoxification enzyme, and reducing oxidative stress in the body.
Coffee is considered to be the ideal beverage to promote liver health. Studies indicate that this beverage is beneficial in safeguarding the liver from chronic liver diseases and inflammation such as liver cancer, liver cirrhosis, and permanent liver damage.
Drinking three cups of coffee preferably black coffee will give you desired benefits. It is also advised to people who are suffering from any type of liver disorders. Coffee helps in increasing the antioxidant “glutathione” and reducing inflammation in the body. Antioxidants help in neutralizing harmful free radicals, that are synthesized in the body and leads to cellular destruction.
4. Green Tea/ Black Tea
Green Tea/ Black Tea is one of the major sources of antioxidant in the body. Drinking three to five cups of these teas help in reducing inflammation and the risks of building cancer, fatty liver, and liver disease in the body. Drinking green tea/black tea for a period of three months result in increased levels of liver enzyme in the body.
It can even lower fat accumulation, and oxidative stress in the liver. A person who drinks green tea regularly is less likely to buildup cancer in their liver. Black tea extract helps in reversing the impact of consuming fat-rich diet on the liver. It also enhances liver health in the body.
Grapefruit is a good source of antioxidants named “naringin”, and “naringenin” that safeguards your liver cells and tissues from inflammation. Regular consumption of this fruit has shown effective results in lowering the build-up of hepatic fibrosis where excessive connective tissue develops in the liver due to inflammation.
Both these antioxidants work by reducing the fat levels in the liver and raise the number of enzymes needed to burn fat in the body. The result is prevention of excessive amount of fat from getting deposited in the body. Naringin is seen to enhance the ability of the body to metabolize alcohol and deal with the negative effects of alcohol in the body. Grapefruit is a good means to keep liver healthy by fighting against inflammation, and damage.
Blueberries have an antioxidant named “anthocyanins” that provides a distinctive color to berries. Consuming this fruit as a whole, or in the form of juice keeps your liver healthy. It protects the liver from damage by enhancing immunity power, and the level of antioxidant enzymes in the body.
Berries are effective at lowering the rate of the development of fibrosis, lesions, and scar tissue in the liver. Blueberry extract restricts the development of liver cancer cells in the body. By incorporating this fruit in your diet, you can ensure that your liver gets the necessary amounts of antioxidants needed to keep it healthy.
Grapes is another liver-friendly food on our list. They have a beneficial plant compound named “resveratrol” that offers a wide range of health benefits, especially in case of liver. It boosts liver efficiency by reducing inflammation, preventing oxidative damage and increasing antioxidant levels in the body.
8. Beetroot Juice
Besides being a potent antioxidant, Beetroot also has good amounts of nitrates in it that benefits cardiac health and lowers inflammation, and oxidative damage in the body. When you drink this juice daily, you would notice an increase in detoxification enzymes and reduction of inflammation in the liver naturally.
Nuts have got significant amount of heart-healthy fats, and effective antioxidant, ‘Vitamin E’. In addition to keeping heart in good health, nuts benefit liver by way of increasing liver enzymes and reducing risks of non-alcoholic fatty liver in the body.
10. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish are known to have plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, that decreases inflammation in the liver and other organs of the body. It helps in preventing fat from depositing in the body, normalizing the enzyme levels, fighting inflammation as well as enhancing insulin resistance.
11. Olive Oil
Olive oil is touted to be one of the healthiest oils due to high amounts of healthy fats and no trans-fat and saturated fat in it. Incorporating this oil helps in boosting metabolic health of the body. Consuming one teaspoon of olive oil daily boosts metabolism, reduce liver fat, improve insulin sensitivity, and liver enzyme levels in the body.
Foods To Avoid
1. Stay away from Junk Foods
Junk foods have high amount of saturated fat that causes inflammation in your liver. Your liver has to work a lot harder to metabolize them. Persistent eating of oily and highly processed foods can result in scarring of the liver, known as ‘cirrhosis’.
2. Sweet foods
Sweet foods comprise of sugar, and products that are made from it. These foods are responsible for causing damage of liver. When you eat sugary foods, it gets transformed into fat and results in fatty liver disease. It becomes important to abstain from these foods to lead a healthy life.
Tips to maintain a Healthy Liver
To maintain the liver in the best condition we should avoid all those things that harms it and bring positive changes in our lifestyle. Here are some tips that will help you achieve healthy liver.
People who are overweight are often seen to be at risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Regular exercise will help you maintain the right body weight and reduce the risk of this disease. Aim to perform forty minutes of exercise daily in the form of brisk walking, swimming, jogging, skipping, strength training, yoga etc. It will help in burning triglycerides in the body to generate fuel, and reduce liver fat too.
2. Eat a nutritious diet
Hyperlipidaemia is a condition where fat levels in the blood is high and hypercholesterolaemia is a condition where levels of cholesterol in the blood is high. Both these conditions constitute to fatty liver disease. Your liver stores extra amounts of dietary fat that over time results in fatty liver disease.
To save your liver, you need to consume foods that have low fat content, and more fiber. Reduce foods that contains unhealthy fats such as saturated fats, hydrogenated fats, and trans-fats in the diet. Deep fried foods, dairy products, and red meat have saturated fats, and processed foods have trans-fat and hydrogenated fats in them.
You should avoid consuming them. Eat foods that have high fiber such as vegetables, fruits, rice, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats like vegetable oils, nuts, fish, seeds etc. in your diet. Go for lean sources of protein that includes fish, nuts, beans, white meat, and nuts. Make sure you consume adequate amount of water daily.
3. Exercise regularly
When you exercise consistently, it helps to burn triglycerides for fuel and can also reduce liver fat. Regular exercise is key to a healthy liver. Exercise helps in reducing stress on your liver, boosts energy levels and prevent obesity that is a prime factor leading to liver disease.
4. Avoid toxins
It has been found that toxins are one of the reasons behind the injury of liver cells in the body. Limit direct exposure to toxins from aerosol products, cleaning products, insecticides, additives, and chemicals.
5. Don’t use illegal drugs
Illicit drugs like marijuana, cocaine, heroin, inhalants, hallucinogens, or prescription-based psychotherapeutics drugs such as pain relievers, stimulants, sedatives and tranquilizers can cause harm to your liver. So, refrain from consuming these drugs at all costs.
6. Follow instructions on medications diligently
Taking medicines without doctor’s approval, taking it incorrectly, or taking it in large amounts can damage your liver. Some of the over-the-counter conventional medicines contain toxins, and heavy metals that can result in liver toxicity. It can also stress and impact the regular performance of the liver. If possible, go for only natural and herbal remedies.
Over-dose of medicine may lead to inflammation in liver and can cause irreparable damage or failure to it. It is thus advised to always consult with your doctor before you consume any medicine.
7. Get vaccinated
Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C are diseases that can lead to permanent liver failure. One of the ways to prevent it is by getting vaccinated. There is vaccine available for hepatitis A, and hepatitis B, but no vaccine invented till date for treating the hepatitis C virus.
Also, prevent all those possibilities of getting contracted by these conditions. Hepatitis A is caused due to contaminated water, and food, consuming contaminated or raw form of shellfish, or seafood. Hepatitis B is contracted by way of unsafe sexual contact, contaminated needles, and blood.
8. Stop or limit consumption of Alcohol
Our liver has the capacity to metabolize limited amounts of alcohol at a time. If you consume more than this permissible limit, then it will destroy the complete liver organ, and result in cirrhosis. The permissible limit of alcohol consumption in men is two standard drinks per day and one drink a day in case of women.
9. Avoid Fad diets
If you are on a Fad diet, then should stop it as it is not good for the health of your liver. These diets can make your weight to increase and then decrease drastically, that can put extreme stress on the liver. Do not try any of those diets that claims you of quick shedding of weight in a short time period. These diets are deficient of essential nutrients that harms your overall body including the liver.
10. Keep Diabetes, High Blood Pressure and High cholesterol under control:
Research shows that people who suffer from diabetes, high cholesterol level, and high blood pressure are at high risk of developing fatty liver disease. It is thus required to keep these conditions under control by performing regular exercise, consuming healthy diet, taking regular medications, and performing regular health-checkups, to prevent damage to the liver.
There are a few anti-cholesterol medicines that can cause liver issues. Do not consume medicines with alcohol, or in combination with other medications, as there is a possibility that it can cause harm to your liver.
Studies have shown that smoking cigarettes can lead to the development of cancer in the liver. This happens because smoking can increase the toxicity in liver, and can damage its cells.
Liver carries out several vital functions in the body. Therefore, it becomes essential to protect it by adopting healthy lifestyle. All the above-mentioned foods are proven to boost liver health, reduce the risk associated with liver ailment, improve detoxification enzyme and antioxidant level in the body and keep this organ in the best functioning state.
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