Healthy Foods For the Liver

Written by Sky Taylor, Diet Bites

Liver Detox - Naturally - Healthy Foods for a Healthy Liver

A poorly functioning liver can pose an unfortunate list of ills - from weight gain to tiredness. One may experience headaches, allergic intolerance, foul breath and issues with the skin (the body's largest organ).

The foods that you choose to fuel your body can assist in maintaining a healthy liver when they are rich in antioxidants which promotes natural detoxification.

Our top foods for a healthy liver include:

Artichokes: Assists in increasing bile production which works to remove toxins from the body via the intestinal track.

Beets: May absorb heavy metals within the body. Also hold blood-purification powers.

Bitter Leafy Greens: Adding endive or dandelion greens may assist in stimulating bile flow. Spinach can add a healthy dose of B vitamins and folic acid. Popeye was a smart little guy.

Brazil Nuts: Rich in the antioxidant selenium.

Brown Rice: Contains the B vitamins and provides a healthy dose of the antioxidant selenium.

Caraway Seeds, Avocado, Broccoli & Watermelon: Helps with the production of glutathione for healthy liver and gall bladder function.

Carrots: Rich in beta-carotene.

Cayenne Pepper: Aids in digestion packed with so many liver-friendly elements including B vitamins, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, beta-carotene and lutein.

Eggs: Rich in B vitamins.

Fruits High in Antioxidant Powers which include apples, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, oranges, pink grapefruit, prunes, raisins, raspberries,  strawberries. A note about the apples. Apples contain pectin and fiber which have been deemed beneficial in sweeping the colon which in turn reduces toxin build-up in the liver. Pectin has the power to bind with heavy metals and assists in ridding them from the body via the intestinal track.

Garlic, Onions, Shallots, Chives - If you're including fish in your diet, pair it with a dose of healthy garlic which can assist in removing mercury from the liver.

Green Tea: Packed with antioxidant powers and contains less caffeine than regular coffee. As a side note, the liver breaks down caffeine so it's easy to see the sense in keeping caffeine intake to a minimum. Caffeine is also contained in cola-based sodas, so be certain to check the labels. Caffeine also acts as a stimulant and may produce irritating effects on the digestive and nervous system which can impact everything from happy potty time to slumber time.

Omega-3 Fat Sources: Salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, flax seeds (including flaxseed oil) and English walnuts.

Soy Beans: Contains lecithin which helps promote a healthy liver.

Tomatoes, Peppers  & Watermelon: Stellar sources of the antioxidant lycopene.

Wheatgerm: Adds a healthy dose of selenium and Vitamin E.

Cruciferous Vegetables: Includes broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower.

Other things that you can do to promote a healthy liver include:

- Avoid taking unnecessary medications, including over-the-counter medications. Over time, the chemicals contained in many medicines can damage the liver. With some medications, including over-the-counter medications, it can take as little as one over-dose to do permanent damage to the liver. And along this topic, use of illegal drugs raises risks associated with liver damage (via contaminated needles), such as Hepatitis C.

- Be sure to thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables to remove toxins that may be the result of the cultivation process. These invisible remains of pesticides and insecticides can serve to not only make the liver work harder, they can also inflict damage.

- If you indulge in alcohol (a toxin), allow no more than 2 drinks per day. To obtain the healthy benefits often paired with wine, try 100% natural grape juice instead.

- Avoid tobacco as well as second-hand smoke. As a note, second-hand smoke chiefly refers to the air which is exhaled from a smoker's lungs which is pumped with toxins that can damage not only the liver, but practically every morsel of your body.

- Strive to keep weight in check. If you're overweight, drop those pesky pounds. Avoid yo-yo dieting. It's best to be a bit overweight and remain constant than to tax the body by the weight gain/weight loss scenario.

- Avoid fried and fatty foods in the daily diet. In addition, avoid salty, cured foods, smoked foods and foods containing food color which can pose stress on the liver. Avoid foods high in saturated fats which can take their toll on the liver's functioning powers. DO insert foods that are rich in fiber such as healthy beans, whole grain breads  and barley.

- We do not support multi-vitamins unless recommended by a physician. Circumstances exist in which a multi-vitamin can produce healthy and at times, life-saving benefits. For these individuals, a multi-vitamin may be just what the doctor ordered. But for the other 99% of us, getting our vitamins naturally from the foods that we eat is best for the body. A good example is iron which is stored inside the liver. An iron supplement may be just enough to tip the scales, triggering a serious condition known as iron toxicity.

Symptoms That May Signal Liver Disease or Liver Issues

If you experience any of the following, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss at your earliest convenience. Keep in mind that most of the time, all is well and there is no need to panic. Meeting with your doctor can help diagnose any existing issues as well as relieve your concerns. Symptoms that MAY signal liver trouble include: pale or bloody stools, tiredness, chronic fatigue, abdominal pain, abdominal swelling, prolonged itching of the skin, dark urine, nausea or loss of appetite.

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