By Sneha Sadhwani,
In human body, liver performs a variety of essential tasks. This organ filters, processes and breaks down everything that passes through your body. The liver stores vitamins and minerals, breaks down toxins like drugs and alcohol and produces bile and cholesterol.
Because this single organ performs so many vital functions, it is a frequent target of a number of toxicants. Hence, it is important to eat foods that cleanse the liver and stimulate its ability to flush out toxins and unwanted chemicals from the body naturally.
Let’s have a look at the foods that enhance the health of your liver:
White radish is beneficial for the overall liver health, says research. The pungent active compound present in radish enhances liver detoxification. This compound strengthens the natural antioxidant system of the body, restores the antioxidants in the liver cells and prevents death of liver cells caused by free radicals.
Flavonoids and other health-benefiting compounds prevent structural changes of the liver like hardening of the liver and reduce accumulation of inflammatory compounds around veins surrounding the liver.
Tip: Add radish to your daily diet in the form of salad.
Beet is an exceptionally rich source of antioxidant compounds called betalains. Betalains protect the liver cells against oxidative injury. Beets also contain nitrates, that allow oxygen-rich blood to flow smoothly all throughout the body. This assists with cleansing and break down of toxic waste products. Hence, consumption of beets help excrete the toxins from the body faster.
Tip: You can add boiled or roasted beets to your salad. Clubbing them with other veggies to prepare a soup is a great idea too. If you do enjoy juicing, make sure you consume fresh and unstrained beet juice every time.
3. Milk Thistle
Milk thistle is a plant, which protects the liver against diseases and damage. Silymarin, an active compound present in this plant is responsible for reversing the damage caused to the liver. Silymarin boosts the liver health in the following ways:
- It controls the production of free radicals in the liver, which is caused due to break down of alcohol and drugs.
- It increases the protein synthesis in the liver cells, suppresses the production of inflammatory compounds and reduces overall inflammation.
- It maintains the integrity of the liver cells and impedes the entrance of toxic substances in the liver.
Hence, milk thistle is safe and effective in the treatment of liver diseases.
Tip: Milk thistle is available in the market in the form of pills, capsules and powder. Many companies also make milk thistle tea, where you just need to steep the leaves.
Eating broccoli regularly may help protect against liver diseases and liver cancer. Broccoli impedes the development of fatty liver disease by decreasing the accumulation of triglycerides in the liver.
Studies have indicated that long-term consumption of broccoli decreases the amount of fat accumulation in the liver, enhances toxin removal, hinders the initiation of tumor formation in the liver and suppresses oxidative stress. Plant compounds present in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables increase the levels and activity of detoxification enzymes, which protect the liver against damage.
Tip: Consume broccoli or any other vegetable from the cruciferous family on a daily basis. Eat them in the form of steamed salad, soup or any other vegetable preparation.
Citrus fruits like grapefruit have the ability to enhance the activity of liver detoxification enzymes. Drinking grapefruit juice on a regular basis may reduce the toxin load and improve the overall functioning of the liver. Grapefruit also boosts the activity of antioxidants in the body, which protect the liver against oxidative damage.
Tip: Always eat a grapefruit before your meals. In case of grapefruit juice, make sure it is fresh and unstrained. If you are on any medications, ask your doctor before eating grapefruit, as it may interact with your drugs.
Fibrosis or hardening of the liver is a common result of chronic injury to the liver. Oxidative stress is responsible for negative structural and functional changes in the liver. Studies have found that blueberries possess therapeutic effect and eating them on a regular basis may curb oxidative stress.
Blueberries are a rich source of antioxidants that protect the liver against damage free radical attack and prevent liver fibrosis.
Besides this, proanthocyanidin, a plant compound in blueberry improves the activity of enzymes that are involved in liver cleansing and removal of toxins and chemicals.
Tip: Blueberries can be consumed in fresh or frozen form. You can even add it to yogurt or make blueberry juice. Do not opt for blueberries, which contain added sugars.