The liver is like your own personal filtering system; it has regenerative properties, helps clear out waste and toxins, aids in digestion and keeps our blood healthy. But we don’t always treat our livers right (we blame you, mouth-watering sangria). To ensure the liver isn’t being overworked, here are 10 foods with liver-protecting powers you should start incorporating into your diet.
In 2000, Japanese researchers reported that avocados, filled with healthy fats, contain phytochemicals that reduced liver damage in rats.
The research is still in the early stages, but there’s some evidence that beets can protect the liver by reducing excess fatty acids.
There’s no question that carrots are super healthy, a specific reason being that they contain carotenoids, which stimulate bile flow and help eliminate waste from the body.
Turmeric has been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for treating liver problems, according to the University of Maryland, and research from 2001 indicated that the curcuminoids found in the spice might prevent fat accumulation in the organ.
A 2001 study found that the sulforaphane found in broccoli boosted the liver (and the colon) health of rats. One more reason to eat this green veg!
Thousands of years ago, garlic was prescribed to treat a wide range of conditions and illnesses, including respiratory problems, parasites and poor digestion. Also, a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry reported that garlic supplements benefited liver function, and another study found that a garlic-derived compound might help alcohol-induced liver damage.
You may be surprised to learn that, like broccoli, arugula is also a cruciferous vegetable, meaning it contains the same sulphur compounds that give broccoli some of its potential liver-related health benefits.
Along with sulphur compounds, cabbage also contains choline, a nutrient the National Liver Foundation says is important for liver health.
One more way that apple could help you keep the doctor away: a 2008 study found that the pectin in apples reduced liver cholesterol in rats.
Terri Coles is a freelance writer living in St. John’s, NL. She writes regularly about food, health, nutrition, and travel.