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11 Foods That Are Good for Your Liver

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11 Foods That Are Good for Your Liver

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The liver is a powerhouse of an organ.

It performs a variety of essential tasks, ranging from producing proteins, cholesterol and bile to storing vitamins, minerals and even carbohydrates.

It also breaks down toxins like alcohol, medications and natural byproducts of metabolism. Keeping your liver in good shape is important for maintaining health.

This article lists the 11 best foods to eat to keep your liver healthy.

1. Coffee

Coffee is one of the best beverages you can drink to promote liver health.

Studies have shown that drinking coffee protects the liver from disease, even in those who already have problems with this organ.

For example, studies have repeatedly shown that drinking coffee lowers the risk of cirrhosis, or permanent liver damage, in people with chronic liver disease (123).

Drinking coffee may also reduce the risk of developing a common type of liver cancer, and it has positive effects on liver disease and inflammation (123).

It’s even associated with a lower risk of death in people with chronic liver disease, with the greatest benefits seen in those who drink at least three cups per day (4).

These benefits seem to stem from its ability to prevent the buildup of fat and collagen, two of the main markers of liver disease (2).

Coffee also decreases inflammation and increases levels of the antioxidant glutathione. Antioxidants neutralize harmful free radicals, which are produced naturally in the body and can cause damage to cells (2).

While coffee has many health benefits, your liver, in particular, will thank you for that morning cup of joe (5).

Summary: Coffee increases antioxidant levels in the liver, all while decreasing inflammation. It also lowers the risk of developing liver disease, cancer and fatty liver.

2. Tea

Tea is widely considered to be beneficial for health, but evidence has shown that it may have particular benefits for the liver.

One large Japanese study found that drinking 5–10 cups of green tea per day was associated with improved blood markers of liver health (67).

A smaller study in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) patients found drinking green tea high in antioxidants for 12 weeks improved liver enzyme levels and may also reduce oxidative stress and fat deposits in the liver (8).

Furthermore, another review found that people who drank green tea were less likely to develop liver cancer. The lowest risk was seen in people who drank four or more cups per day (9).

A number of mouse and rat studies have also demonstrated the beneficial effects of black and green tea extracts (61011).

For example, one study in mice found that black tea extract reversed many of the negative effects of a high-fat diet on the liver, as well as improved blood markers of liver health (12).

Nevertheless, some people, especially those who have liver problems, should exercise caution before consuming green tea as a supplement.

That’s because there have been several reports of liver damage resulting from the use of supplements containing green tea extract (13).

Summary: Black and green tea may improve enzyme and fat levels in the liver. However, exercise caution if you’re taking a green tea extract, as it may cause damage.

3. Grapefruit

Grapefruit contains antioxidants that naturally protect the liver. The two main antioxidants found in grapefruit are naringenin and naringin.

Several animal studies have found that both help protect the liver from injury (1415).

The protective effects of grapefruit are known to occur in two ways — by reducing inflammation and protecting cells.

Studies have also shown that these antioxidants can reduce the development of hepatic fibrosis, a harmful condition in which excessive connective tissue builds up in the liver. This typically results from chronic inflammation (1415).

Moreover, in mice that were fed a high-fat diet, naringenin decreased the amount of fat in the liver and increased the number of enzymes necessary for burning fat, which can help prevent excess fat from accumulating (14).

Lastly, in rats, naringin has been shown to improve the ability to metabolize alcohol and counteract some of alcohol’s negative effects (16).

Thus far, the effects of grapefruit or grapefruit juice itself, rather than its components, have not been studied. Additionally, almost all studies looking at the antioxidants in grapefruit have been conducted in animals.

Nevertheless, the current evidence points to grapefruit being a good way to keep your liver healthy by fighting damage and inflammation.

Summary: The antioxidants in grapefruit protect the liver by reducing inflammation and increasing its protective mechanisms. However, human studies, as well as those on grapefruit or grapefruit juice itself, are lacking.

4. Blueberries and Cranberries

Blueberries and cranberries both contain anthocyanins, antioxidants that give berries their distinctive colors. They’ve also been connected to many health benefits.

Several animal studies have demonstrated that whole cranberries and blueberries, as well as their extracts or juices, can help keep the liver healthy (151718).

Consuming these fruits for 3–4 weeks protected the liver from damage. Additionally, blueberries helped increase immune cell response and antioxidant enzymes (15).

Another experiment found that the types of antioxidants found commonly in berries slowed the development of lesions and fibrosis, the development of scar tissue, in the livers of rats (15).

What’s more, blueberry extract has even been shown to inhibit the growth of human liver cancer cells in test-tube studies. However, more studies are needed to determine if this effect can be replicated in the human body (19).

Making these berries a regular part of your diet is a good way to make sure your liver is supplied with the antioxidants it needs to stay healthy.

Summary: Berries are high in antioxidants, which help protect the liver from damage. They may even improve its immune and antioxidant responses. Still, human studies are needed to confirm these results.

5. Grapes

Grapes, especially red and purple grapes, contain a variety of beneficial plant compounds. The most famous one is resveratrol, which has a number of health benefits.

Many animal studies have shown that grapes and grape juice can benefit the liver.

Studies have found that they can have various benefits, including lowering inflammation, preventing damage and increasing antioxidant levels (152021).

A small study in humans with NAFLD showed that supplementing with grape seed extract for three months improved liver function (22).

However, since grape seed extract is a concentrated form of grapes, you might not see the same effects from consuming whole grapes. More studies are needed before taking grape seed extract for the liver can be recommended.

Nonetheless, the wide range of evidence from animal and some human studies suggests that grapes are a very liver-friendly food.

Summary: Animal and some human studies show that grapes, grapefruit juice and grape seed extract protect the liver from damage, increase antioxidant levels and fight inflammation.

 

Read more at: https://authoritynutrition.com/11-foods-for-your-liver/

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