The liver carries out over five hundred different functions so keeping it healthy is pretty important. It cleans the blood, keeps your hormones balanced, and even builds many of the proteins essential to life. Your liver loves you, so love your liver back by knowing what to give it.
9) Liver Lover: Beets
The liver doesn’t just synthesize vital proteins on its own. It needs help form antioxidants like glutathione. Glutathione is used by the liver for building proteins and in the many detoxification functions it carries out. Beets are a good source of glutathione plus they’re high in fiber which can lower cholesterol and keep your liver from working overtime.
8) Liver Loser: Alcohol
Since the liver’s primary function is to detoxify the blood, this one is obvious. When you have a high blood alcohol content, your liver must work extra hard to clean it. This depletes its store of nutrients so that it has less resources to clear out other harmful substances. Regular drinking can lead to alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis. Most liver health organizations’ guidelines recommend consuming no more than two alcoholic drinks in one sitting.
7) Liver Lover: Tumeric
Animal studies have shown tumeric to increase liver function by facilitating detoxification. In a human study, fermented tumeric powder was found to reduce alanine transaminase levels. Elevated alanine transaminase in the blood can be an indicator of liver problems, so keeping those levels low is a good thing.
6) Liver Loser: Soft drinks
Like alcohol, sugar dissolves fast, absorbs fast, and needs to be processed by the liver. Glucose is a sugar that your body needs and even makes if you’re not getting enough. But the refined fructose found in most soft drinks really takes a toll on the liver. It is converted into triglycerides by the liver which in turn become fat. Some of that fat is carried off to be stored and used by the body, but if too much is produced it will stay around the organ resulting in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
5) Liver Lover: Dandelions
Yes, weeds. Studies in animal subjects found that dandelion can improve liver and gallbladder function. The word is still out on humans but if it works for us too a healthy liver may be as close as your back yard.
4) Liver Loser: Sodium
Too much sodium is the cause of lots of health problems. In the liver, a buildup of sodium results in retention of liquid which can inhibit the liver’s function. This can lead to a whack of other issues like hypertension. Keep your sodium around 2000mg a day.
3) Liver Lover: Tomatoes
Like beets, tomatoes are high in glutathione with the added benefit of being easy to add to just about any dish. Tomatoes fit easily into sauces, soups, casseroles, and salads. Way more versatile than beets.
2) Liver Loser: Hydrogenated oils
Hydrogenated oils are the main source of trans fats in the average western diet. Trans fats can greatly heighten your LDL cholesterol which can wreak havoc on your liver. One of the liver’s jobs is to regulate cholesterol by taking it in and either returning it to the body, converting it into other particles, or excreting it. High cholesterol means more work for your liver, and more work means faster deterioration.
1) Liver Lover: You!
The best prevention against liver disease is to stay active and informed. Making healthy choices and taking steps to lower cholesterol, get all your daily recommended vitamins, and keep your blood sugar in check will benefit your liver and the rest of your body.