The Best Antioxidant-Rich Foods For Your Liver
As we know, the liver is one of the most important organs in the human body. It has many functions, but one of its main jobs it to filter your blood and remove toxins and dangerous bacteria, monitor amino acid levels, and store vitamins—your liver works hard!
But we can help it work as effectively as possible by feeding it well…
“Diet is an important part of maintaining a healthy liver. The liver also plays a major role in the metabolism of all macronutrients and eating an excess of any can impact its effectiveness and your health,” says Serena Poon, CN, CHC, CHN, holistic nutritionist. “Because of this, a diet that is high in fat, sugar, salt, alcohol and processed foods can have detrimental effects on your liver.”
“Conversely, when we eat a well-balanced diet with antioxidants, fibre, and protein, the liver is less burdened, and the nutrients from those whole foods support it’s natural functions and health,” says Lauren Minchen, MPH, RDN, CDN, registered dietician, nutritionist, and nutrition consultant.
We’ve rounded up some of the best foods for keeping your liver happy and healthy:
- Dark leafy greens
“Foods like spinach, arugula, and kale are a healthy addition to any diet. Leafy green vegetables are high in antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fibre that support overall health,” says Poon.
“Leafy greens are also considered to be a top anti-inflammatory,” she continues. “If you have a hard time convincing yourself to eat leafy greens, consider adding them to a fruit-filled anti-inflammatory smoothie.”
- Green tea
Green tea has lots of benefits, and contains antioxidants called catechins that boost the natural cleansing functions of the liver. However, make sure you get the real deal and don’t just drink something with ‘green tea extract’, as it’s been shown not to be helpful for boosting liver health.
- Extra virgin olive oil
This wonderstuff is packed with fatty acids and antioxidant-rich phenolic compounds that support a healthy liver. It’s also been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease and some neurodegenerative diseases. And it’s versatile, so use it in dressings, on bread, or as a replacement in recipes.
We’ve talked this one up on our blog—research demonstrates that caffeine can be a liver-supporting tonic.
“Most studies found that between 1-4 cups of coffee a day support liver health,” says Poon. “Keep an eye on the other ways that coffee impacts your health, you will want to balance out its liver healing effects with any stress-inducing effects,” she continues. “If four cups of coffee impacts your stress levels and your ability to sleep, it could be too much.”
You know the score… blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries. They’re all rich in antioxidant vitamin C, B vitamins—including folate, which supports the liver’s natural detoxifying process, while the array of phytonutrients in berries decrease inflammation related to liver disease.
- Chia seeds
These are great, because you can add them to anything—porridge, yogurt, smoothies, baking. “Chia seeds are rich in plant Omega 3 fats, called ALA. This particular type of Omega 3 fatty acid exerts liver-protective effects, reducing inflammation and supporting natural detoxification,” says Minchen. “And the fibre in chia seeds also helps reduce the burden on the liver and supports healthy digestive function.”
Check out our range of best liver detox supplements today.