[custom_frame_center shadow=”on”]Fruits & Vegetables[/custom_frame_center] Your liver is responsible for an enormous number of metabolic activities. It helps to digest food and remove harmful toxins from the system, including external toxins such as agricultural chemicals. If it is not working properly, neither is the rest of your body.

Weighing some 1.5 kilograms, the liver is also the body’s fat-burning organ. ‘The liver converts nutrients from the food we eat into essential blood components, storing vitamins and minerals and producing proteins and enzymes to maintain hormone balances in our bodies,’ says holistic nutritionist Hermeet Suri from Canada. In an article published in The Huffington Post, Suri states, ‘The liver also helps our immune system fight infections, removes bacteria from the blood and makes bile, which is essential for digesting our meals.’

There’s a price to pay for mistreating your liver, such as an increased chance of obesity, cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue, headaches, digestive problems, allergies and other ailments. According to Suri, ‘The immune system protects our body from many dangers, but it is the liver that protects the immune system from becoming overloaded.’

So, instead of burdening your liver with fatty and refined foods, and excessive coffee and alcohol (the liver delays other important functions when it is trying to metabolize excess alcohol), help it serve your body by exercising regularly, drinking lots of water and feeding it correctly.

What should you eat? We’ve taken the sweat out of the search. Here are 10 great foods to help keep your liver in tip-top condition:

[custom_frame_right shadow=”on”]Avocado[/custom_frame_right]

Avocado

 Good news for avo lovers everywhere! The avocado is a liver superfood as it helps the body produce an antioxidant called glutathione, which is used by the liver to filter out harmful materials. (People with chronic liver disease are often lacking in glutathione.) Avocados are the leading food source of this master antioxidant. They also contain vitamins E and K, which can help treat cell inflammation, including inflammation of the liver cells.

  • Beetroot

     Beetroot is high in antioxidants and nutrients such as magnesium, sodium, potassium, copper and vitamins A, B (including folate) and C, which can improve overall liver function. The iron in beetroot regenerates red blood cells and supplies fresh oxygen to the body.

  • Cruciferous and leafy green vegetables

     Cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts contain glucosinolates – sulphur-containing organic compounds that protect the liver and help it to create the enzymes needed to eliminate toxins and excess hormones. Leafy greens like spinach and lettuce also help the liver to neutralise metals, chemicals and pesticides that may be in our foods.

  • Garlic

     Garlic helps the liver activate enzymes that can flush out toxins. It also has a high amount of allicin and selenium, two natural compounds that aid in liver cleansing.

  • Grapefruit

     Eating or drinking grapefruit juice can help your liver flush out carcinogens and toxins. This fruit is also high in vitamin C and antioxidants, which help clean the liver. (Bear in mind, though, that grapefruit can interact with medications such as statins and certain cancer drugs. Check with your medical practitioner if you are taking prescribed medicines.)

  • Green tea

     Green tea is brimming with plant antioxidants known as catechins, which have been shown to improve liver function.

  • Lemon

     We all know citrus fruits are full of vitamin C, but lemons also help our bodies cleanse out toxic materials and aid the digestion process. Start the day with a detox: drink a glass of hot water into which you have squeezed the juice of half a lemon. It’s especially useful for people who suffer from sluggish bowels.

  • [custom_frame_right shadow=”on”]Turmeric[/custom_frame_right]

    Turmeric

     Turmeric is one of the most powerful spices for maintaining a healthy liver. It helps the body digest fats, stimulates the natural production of bile, shrinks engorged hepatic ducts and acts as a natural form of detox. In fact, turmeric has been shown to actively protect the liver against toxic damage and even regenerate damaged liver cells. Turmeric is also excellent if you have a liver infection or virus. In addition, it improves the overall function of the gall bladder.

  • Walnuts

     Walnuts are also high in the amino acid l-arginine, as well as glutathione and omega-3 fatty acids, which help detoxify the liver of disease-causing ammonia. Extracts from walnut hulls are often used in liver-cleansing formulas.

  • Zinc

     If you drink, you need zinc. This mineral helps the liver to release the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase, which breaks down alcohol into less harmful substances.

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    In addition, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, especially organically grown foods (organic foods are not treated with agricultural chemicals, so they place little burden on the liver). Your liver will thank you for it and you’ll feel revitalised.

    Photo credits

    1. Photo of Fruits & Vegetables in basket courtesy of amenic181 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
    2. See page for author
    [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
  • By Sanjay Acharya (en-wikipedia) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons