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Liver Friendly Foods

Liver Friendly Foods
It is important that you choose foods that will help maintain and support your liver. Good nutrition can also help to rebuild some damaged liver cells and help the liver form new cells.
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Source:  Dr. Tajammul Hussain Assistant Professor Allama Iqbal Medical College, Lahore
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  • It is important that you choose foods that will help maintain and support your liver. Good nutrition can also help to rebuild some damaged liver cells and help the liver form new cells. The liver has two detoxification pathways called Phase One and Phase Two. The work of each of these phases requires specific vitamins and minerals. These vitamins and minerals in turn need other nutrients called phytochemicals and amino acids to help them.

  • Following are some more foods that have the nutrients needed to help liver do its work of detoxification: Beets contain antioxidants such as beta-carotene, other carotenoids and healing flavonoids. Antioxidants help to limit the damage caused by free radicals, thus they have a healing and cleansing effect on the liver, beets also have folic acid which is necessary for detoxification.

  • Foods for Phase I Detoxification: Broccoli contains B and C vitamins and is a good source of folic acid. Brown rice provides the antioxidant, selenium, and also B vitamins.

  • Carrots contain beta carotene and carotenoids that help to protect the liver. Eggs supply B vitamins. Garlic has selenium and glutathione, both of which act as antioxidants. Spinach provides folic acid and other B vitamins. Tomatoes have vitamins C and E. They are also a good source of the antioxidant lycopene. Wheat germ contains selenium and vitamin E and is an excellent source of phytochemicals. Melons and peppers are good sources of vitamin C. Tomatillos, papaya, plantains, carambola and guava are good sources of the antioxidants beta-carotene and vitamin C.

  • Foods for Phase II Detoxification: Broccoli contains natural sulfur compounds. Cabbage like broccoli contains natural sulfur compounds. Eggs contain methionine, a sulfur-containing compound. Brazil Nuts contain selenium. Garlic has methionine; also contains glutathione, a powerful antioxidant. Onions have sulfur compounds which are important in both detoxification pathways; also a source of glutathione.

  • Asparagus and Watermelon are rich, natural sources of glutathione. Papaya and Avocado help the body to produce glutathione. Mushrooms have a lot of glutamic acid which is needed to produce glutathione and help with liver detoxification.

  • Foods for the General Health of the Liver: Soy Beans contain lecithin which helps the liver break down fats and helps reduce high cholesterol levels, lecithin also helps maintain healthy membranes around liver cells. Cayenne Pepper contains many phytochemicals including beta-carotene and lutein and is rich in certain B vitamins as well as vitamins C and E. It also aids in digestion. Lemon is a bitter, acidic food which is helpful for general cleansing of the body. Walnuts are a source of arginine which helps the liver detoxify ammonia, a waste product in the body; they are also a rich source of glutathione and omega-3 fatty acids. Wheat germ has arginine and essential fatty acids. Caraway Seeds contain many flavanoids and carotenoids which act as antioxidants. Caraway is helpful in liver and gallbladder disease and helps produce glutathione in the body.

  • Eat plenty of fresh fruits and lightly cooked vegetables especially dark green, leafy vegetables and orange, yellow, purple, and red colored fruits and vegetables - they contain living enzymes, fiber, vitamin C, natural antibiotic substances, and anti-cancer phytonutrients. Eat foods that are rich in glutathione or help to produce glutathione in the body. Asparagus, watermelon, broccoli and boldo are good sources of glutathione while papayas and avocados are foods that help the body to produce glutathione. Bitter foods like dandelion greens, mustard greens, bitter melon, Romaine lettuce and broccoli raabe can help in cleansing the liver. Herbs like dill, caraway seeds, garlic, onions, boldo, turmeric and cayenne are easy to use in cooking and can help protect the liver. Green tea has immune-boosting properties and contains less caffeine than coffee.

  • Drink lots of water (6–12 cups per day) because it helps the kidneys to get rid of the toxins that the liver has broken down. Omega-3 fats are very helpful. These fats are found in cold water fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines and halibut. Other good sources are ground flaxseeds, flaxseed oil and walnuts. Nuts, seeds, and avocados are good food sources of polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats that are less harmful to the liver than saturated fats.

  • Foods that can Make the Liver Work Harder: Saturated fats are harder for the liver to process. Limit high fat meats like sausage, bacon, salami, hot dogs and high fat dairy products like whole milk, ice cream and cheese, which contain saturated fats. Other foods to limit that have a lot of saturated fat are french fries and high fat snack foods like potato chips, Doritos and Cheese Doodles. Limit processed foods like white bread, white rice, cakes, cookies, donuts and candy. Add whole grains like whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, quinoa and barley to your diet. Limit caffeine to 2-3 cups/day. Caffeine is broken down by the liver and may make it more difficult to cleanse the liver. Coffee, tea and most sodas contain a lot of caffeine. Eat light meals more frequently. Eating a light evening meal can help to reduce the liver’s work during the healing hours of sleep.

  • Things to Avoid: Alcohol is known to be a powerful toxin that will damage the liver. Recreational drugs can also be stressful to the liver. Limit, as much as possible, chemicals such as food colorings, flavorings and preservatives as well as toxins such as insecticides and pesticides because these substances make the liver work harder. Avoid multi-vitamins that contain iron. Iron is stored in the liver and supplementing with iron may increase the risk of iron toxicity.

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Comments posted by users for Liver Friendly Foods

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    on Jun 14 2016 8:59AM Report Abuse SHARI
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