Liver Friendly Foods (along with vitamins and herbs)

The liver is a very good friend of ours,
and we should all love it the same way as it loves us.

Just showing some liver love.
Our mighty liver is constantly cleansing out the unhealthy things we put in our body such as alcohol, trans fatty acids, and the toxic chemicals in things such as make-up and cleaning products, to name a few. 

Did you know that the liver has over 500 functions? Some of the functions include:

• Producing bile, which helps carry away waste and break down fats during digestion
• Produces certain proteins for blood plasma
• The liver is a little hormone factory that makes and distributes hormones such as cholesterol.
• Converts glucose into glycogen for storage.
• Regulates amino acids which are the building blocks of of proteins
• Converts harmful substances into LESS harmful substances, so that they can be excreted safely.
• Makes immune factors which help to build our immune system.

Hallelujah for our liver!!

We need to make sure to give our liver some extra lovin', and to nourish our bodies with foods that will give it extra support. Here is a list of some of the foods that help detoxify and support the liver:

Garlic:


In my opinion, the best herb ever! I love this little guy. Just one powerful little bulb has the ability to activate the liver to flush out toxins. Garlic has high amounts of allicin (an organosulphur compound) and selenium (a mineral). These two compounds help to cleanse the liver.

Beets:


Beets are beneficial to the liver for many reasons, as they are full of antioxidants, including: betaine, betalains, fiber, iron, betacyanin, folate an betanin. Problem is, not that many people love beets as much as I do! (weirdos, I tell ya.)
That's fine. There are plenty of other liver supporting foods, vitamins, and herbs that support your liver.. keep reading!

Leafy Greens:


These awesome little leaves are our most POWERFUL weapon for liver protection and detoxification. Plants have chlorophyll (the pigment that makes them green). They do an excellent job in neutralizing heavy metals, chemicals, and pesticides. It wasn't until about a month ago that I finally started liking salads... Surprising isn't it? Healthy and holistic foodie, RHN-Holistic Nutritionist that doesn't like salads? How weird, eh?. But it's only until I did the candida cleanse and actually become more mindful about foods, that I started to actually like them. They're easy to dress up if your get creative with salad dressings! Try this Roasted Garlic salad dressing, or this Fennel and Apple salad. Not to toot my own horn, but they're pretty good! 

Try to go for bitter greens (although these are the hardest ones to get used to i'll admit). Bitter greens include arugula, dandelion greens, mustard greens, and kale. 

Apples:


Apples are high in pectin, which is a soluble fiber. Soluble fibers act as a broom and sweep your digestive tract clean. This, makes it easier for your liver to cleanse.

Cruciferous Veggies:


Cruciferous veggies have high amounts of glucosinolates in them (you can read about the study that suggests that glucosinolates have anti-carcinogenic properties here). Cruciferous veggies are also high in indole-3 carbinol which have been used a cancer preventative. They help to flush out carcinogens along with other toxins such as harmful estrogens and testosterones from your body. 
Eat these guys up any way you can! 

Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, kale, brussels spouts, cabbage, and cauliflower.

Lemons and Limes:


Citrus fruits contain lots of vitamin C, which helps the body synthesize toxic materials into substances that can be absorbed and excreted by water. Drink freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice in water daily (especially in the morning before breakfast). Doing this, will help to increase the livers production of bile, which will aid in digestion. 

Turmeric:


Turmeric is a spice that has been used in Ayurvedic cooking for centuries. This gem contains curcumin, which is the active component in turmeric, and is what makes it so amazing. There are many studies behind curcumin that prove it to be useful for inflammatory conditions such as arthritisgastro and colon cancers, and decreasing side effects from diabetes such as oxidative stress. This spice truly is amazing!! But back to the supporting the liver.. Turmeric helps boost the liver by assisting enzymes that actively flush out carcinogens. To gain all of the benefits of curcumin, taking a high quality supplement is also helpful. Read this article if you want to learn more about Turmeric.

Try to eat all of these these foods weekly! They're soooooo important for the maintenance of your liver. 

Some herbs that are beneficial for liver detoxification are: Milk thistle herb, dandelion, goldenseal root, oregon grape root, red clover blossom, and yellow dock root. These are available in supplement form, and also in tea form in most health food stores.

Vitamins and minerals that support liver detoxification are: B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc, calcium, vitamin E, selenium, and amino acid L-Cysteine.


In general, eating whole foods, exercising, and staying hydrated (along with many other things) will help to keep your body healthy. The foods, herbs, vitamins and minerals listed above are ones that I have chosen to explain the importance of in liver health. 

Incorporating all of these habits into daily life will help support your liver, and will help to reduce the  risks of liver problems in the futures. Most importantly though, love your body the way that your body loves you!




Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I am an RHN-Holistic Nutritionist. The health information contained herein is to share my knowledge and recipes. Any information provided is not intended to treat or cure any disease, or to replace any discussions with a health care provider. You, the reader, are personally responsible for ensuring the safe application of anything described herein. Read the Scope of Practice, as well as the Code of Ethics of an RHN-Holistic Nutritionist.

Pictures adapted from:
http://mixedgreensblog.com/2010/07/21/seasons-eatings/basic-recipes-on-the-local-table/if-you-cant-beet-em/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Allium_sativum._Restra_de_allos_de_Oroso-_Galiza.jpg
http://foodess.com/2009/04/how-to-make-greens-taste-grand/
http://yourbrainonbliss.com/Blog/?p=1456
http://www.alternativecancer.me/therapy/how-cruciferous-vegetables-brassica-plants-protect-against-cancer/
http://www.tootimidandsqueamish.com/2011/06/raw-vegan-savory-ice-cream-sandwiches/olympus-digital-camera-39/
http://www.healthyfoodhouse.com/turmeric-spice-with-amazing-health-benefits/




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