The liver has two large sections, called the right and the left lobes. The gallbladder sits under the liver, along with parts of the pancreas and intestines. The liver and these organs work together to digest, absorb, and process food.
The liver’s main job is to filter the blood coming from the digestive tract, before passing it to the rest of the body. The liver also detoxifies chemicals and metabolizes drugs. As it does so, the liver secretes bile that ends up back in the intestines. The liver also makes proteins important for blood clotting and other functions.
Hepatitis: Inflammation of the liver, usually caused by viruses like hepatitis A, B, and C. Hepatitis can have non-infectious causes too, including heavy drinking, drugs, allergic reactions, or obesity.
Cirrhosis: Long-term damage to the liver from any cause can lead to permanent scarring, called cirrhosis. The liver then becomes unable to function well.
Liver Cancer: The most common type of liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, almost always occurs after cirrhosis is present.
Liver failure: Liver failure has many causes including infection, genetic diseases, and excessive alcohol.
Ascites: As cirrhosis results, the liver leaks fluid (ascites) into the belly, which becomes distended and heavy.
Gallstones: If a gallstone becomes stuck in the bile duct draining the liver, hepatitis and bile duct infection (cholangitis) can result.
Hemochromatosis: Hemochromatosis allows iron to deposit in the liver, damaging it. The iron also deposits throughout the body, causing multiple other health problems.
Primary sclerosing cholangitis: A rare disease with unknown causes, primary sclerosing cholangitis causes inflammation and scarring in the bile ducts in the liver.
Primary biliary cirrhosis: In this rare disorder, an unclear process slowly destroys the bile ducts in the liver. Permanent liver scarring (cirrhosis) eventually develops.
Many foods can help cleanse, rejuvenate and detoxify your liver. This will help keep your liver healthy and functioning the way you need it to.
Here are the top 10 liver-cleansing remarkable foods.
Garlic is great for cleansing your liver. It helps activate enzymes in the liver that help clear out toxins. It also contains two natural compounds called allicin and selenium, which aid in the liver-cleansing process and protect the liver from toxic damage.
Moreover, garlic reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which can overload the liver and hamper its functioning.
To promote liver health, use fresh raw garlic instead of processed, minced garlic or powder.
Eat 2 to 3 raw garlic cloves daily and include garlic in your cooking whenever possible.
You can also take garlic supplements, but only after consulting your doctor.
Being a good source of vitamin C, pectin and antioxidants, grapefruit also aids the natural cleansing process of the liver.
It also contains glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and detoxifies the liver. Glutathione also helps in the detoxification of heavy metals. Moreover, the flavonoid naringenin in grapefruit helps break down fat.
Drink a small glass of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice or enjoy the whole fruit with your breakfast daily.
Note: If you are on medications, consult your doctor before taking this fruit as it may interact with certain drugs.
Beetroots are another powerful food for cleansing and supporting liver function. High in plant flavonoids and beta-carotene, they help stimulate and improve overall liver function. Moreover, beetroots are natural blood purifiers.
Simply add fresh beetroots or juice to your daily diet.
Make a powerful liver-cleansing salad with 1 cup of chopped or grated beetroots, 2 tablespoons of cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil and the juice of ½ lemon. Mix all the ingredients together and eat 2 teaspoons of it every 2 hours during the day for a week.
Lemons help detoxify the liver mainly due to the antioxidant D-Limonene present in it, which helps activate enzymes in the liver that aid detoxification.
Moreover, the high amount of vitamin C in lemons helps your liver produce more enzymes to aid digestion. Lemons also boost mineral absorption by the liver.
Make lemon water at home by adding the juice of 1 lemon to a jar of water. You can even add chopped lemons to it. Drink this water at regular intervals. If desired, add a little honey.
By drinking green tea daily, you can help your body flush out toxins and fat deposits, while increasing hydration levels.
A 2002 study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that the catechins in tea help stimulate lipid catabolism in the liver. This in turn prevents fat accumulation in the liver. This healthy beverage also protects the liver from the damaging effects of toxic substances like alcohol.
Green tea is also beneficial in treating or preventing liver disease. According to a 2009 study published in Cancer Causes and Control, people who drink green tea have a lower risk of developing liver cancer.
Drink 2 to 3 cups of green tea daily. If desired, sweeten your tea with honey.
Note: Avoid drinking green tea in excess as it can have an adverse impact on your liver and other body parts.
Avocados contain potent chemicals that may reduce liver damage, according to a 2000 study by the American Chemical Society. This fruit is rich in glutathione, a compound required by the liver to cleanse harmful toxins and to function properly.
The high amount of monounsaturated fat in avocados helps reduce low-density lipoproteins or “bad” cholesterol and increase high-density lipoproteins or “good” cholesterol. The liver easily processes good cholesterol.
Moreover, avocados contain many minerals, vitamins and plant nutrients that support overall liver health and help break down fats.
Eat 1 to 2 avocados per week for a couple of months to help reverse liver damage.
Turmeric is another popular and effective liver-cleansing food. It also improves the body’s ability to digest fats.
The compound curcumin in turmeric induces the formation of a primary liver detoxification enzyme called glutathione S-transferase. It also helps regenerate damaged liver cells.
Mix ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of water and boil it. Drink it twice daily for a couple of weeks.
Also, include this spice in your daily cooking.
An apple a day is the secret behind a healthy liver. Apples are a good source of pectin, a soluble fiber that helps remove toxins from the digestive tract and cholesterol from the blood, in turn preventing the liver from being overworked.
Moreover, apples contain malic acid, a naturally cleansing nutrient that removes carcinogens and other toxins from the blood.
All types of apples are good for your liver, however, for fast liver cleansing choose organic apples. Eat one organic apple or drink a glass of fresh apple juice daily.
The high amount of the amino acid l-arginine in walnuts aids the liver in detoxifying ammonia. Moreover, walnuts contain glutathione and omega-3 fatty acids, which aid the natural liver-cleansing process.
According to a 2008 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, walnut polyphenols prevent liver damage induced by carbon tetrachloride and d-galactosamine.
Munch on a handful of walnuts as a snack daily.
You can also sprinkle them over a salad, side dish, soup or baked goods.
Support the natural liver-cleansing process by including broccoli in your diet. Being rich in glucosinolates, it helps flush carcinogens and other harmful toxins out of the body.
The high fiber content in broccoli also improves the digestion process. Moreover, it contains fat-soluble vitamin E, an important antioxidant for the liver to carry out its functions.
Eat 1 cup of broccoli 3 times a week to keep your liver healthy.
Also, to keep your liver healthy, health experts recommend eliminating or reducing animal foods as well as alcohol, refined sugar, excess caffeine and processed foods from your diet. In addition, stop smoking as it causes significant damage to different organs of the body, including the liver.