Short of joking about the occasional weekend damage, many of us never really give much thought to one of the largest and most important organs in our body. Our liver has numerous functions including, but not limited to, break down and build up of essential nutrients such as proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Our liver helps produce digestive enzymes, sex, steroid and stress hormones, is integral in maintenance of our blood sugar, and has at least 300 other essential functions.
In terms of long-term health, the wellness of our liver cells in many ways equals the expression of our overall health. The toxins and chemicals we are exposed to day to day, intentionally or not, can tax our detoxification organs, including our liver. It is worth taking the time to provide our system with nutrients that help enhance the well functioning of our liver.
Wherever possible it makes sense to both reduce our toxic load by minimizing or limiting our exposure to harmful toxins and chemicals, and to provide our system with an abundance of nutrients that help our liver perform its job. Not surprisingly, it is nearly impossible to find a vegetable or fruit that does not asist the function and maintenance of a healthy liver. Eat your favorite local fruits and vegetables and consider incorporating the following seven powerhouse foods into your eating for healthy liver function.
Garlic: Garlic contains numerous sulfur-containing compounds that activate our liver enzymes, which are responsible for flushing out toxins from the bod. This bulbous relative of the onion also contains allicin and selenium, two powerful nutrients proven to help protect the liver from toxic damage and aid it in the detoxification process.
Grapefruit: Grapefruit is rich in natural vitamin C and antioxidants, two powerful liver cleansers. Like garlic, grapefruit contains compounds that boost our production of liver detoxification enzymes. It also contains a flavonoid compound known as naringenin that causes the liver to burn fat rather than store it.
Green Tea: Green tea is loaded with catechins, a type of plant antioxidant that has been shown in studies to eliminate liver fat accumulation and promote proper liver function. This powerful herbal beverage also protects the liver against toxins that would otherwise accumulate and cause serious damage.
Green Vegetables: Leafy green vegetables such as bitter gourd, arugula, dandelion greens,spinach, mustard greens, and chicory also contain numerous cleansing compounds that neutralize heavy metals, which can bear heavily on the liver. Leafy greens also eliminate pesticides and herbicides from the body and spur the creation and flow of cleansing bile.
Avocado: Avocados are valuable in helping our liver burn fat rather than store it, and helping to reduce LDL and raise HDL levels in the blood. Moreover, avocado contains nutrients that make up the precursor for one of the most potent antioxidants in our body, glutathione.
Glutathione is needed by the liver to repair cells and clear toxins from our body. People with chronic liver disease are found to be low in glutathione levels.
Walnuts: Walnuts, which contain high levels of l-arginine, an amino acid, glutathione, and omega-3 fatty acids, also help detoxify the liver of disease-causing ammonia. Walnuts also help oxygenate the blood, and extracts from their hulls are often used in liver-cleansing formulas.
Turmeric: Turmeric, one of the most powerful foods for maintaining a healthy liver, has been shown to actively protect the liver against toxic damage and even regenerate damaged liver cells. Turmeric also boosts the natural production of bile, shrinks engorged hepatic ducts, and improves overall function of the gallbladder, another body-purifying organ.
Wherever possible choose local and/or organic versions of the above. This can make a big difference as spray-free fruits and vegetables are up to 70 percent higher in the beneficial antioxidants.The longer fruits and vegetables travel, and the more heavily they are sprayed, has a direct effect on the content of beneficial nutrients. Interesting, research shows, the harder our plants are challenged to fight for their own survival, the greater the level ofantioxidants present in the plant. The more they are sprayed, the more they can depend on the spray for their protection and slack off on the production of antioxidants. Like the plants, when we slack off on the production of whole fresh foods, and choose to depend on a primarily refined and processed diet base, it has a negative effect on our own survival. Small changes to diet can translate to a much greater ability for our body to thrive and adapt to our environment. Start with the liver-friendly seven and begin to enjoy how your system thanks you.