Try These 8 Foods To Support Your Liver Health

Whether you are partaking in Dry January or not, supporting the health of your liver should be top of mind. For decades, optimizing heart health has been the frontrunner, and increasing gut health has been a hot topic in the health world of late. But many people underestimate (or fail to think about) the health of their liver.

The liver is one of the most important organs in our body. “The liver filters and detoxifies blood coming from the small intestine that contains nutrients, it makes protein for blood clotting and it secretes bile,” says Kari Pitts, a registered dietician at Preg Appetit. “Everything we eat or drink passes through the liver and can harm or nourish it.” Therefore, it is crucial to be aware of what we eat and what is good and bad for this vital organ. 

“Eating a healthy well-balanced diet and exercising regularly can support optimal liver health. Unhealthy eating habits and excess alcohol consumption can lead to liver disease. Added sugar, fried foods, salt, highly processed white carbohydrates, and red meat are all foods that can raise risk for liver disease,” says Amanda Nicole, a registered dietitian based in Los Angeles. While most whole foods are good for the liver, there are specific foods that can naturally enhance liver function. Here are 6 liver-friendly foods to incorporate in your diet, according to registered dietitians. 

1. Coffee

Believe it or not, your morning wake-me-up is power-packed with beneficial nutrients from your liver. “Epidemiological and experimental studies show some positive correlation between coffee consumption and chronic liver disease. Coffee consumption may help to prevent the gradual accumulation of excess fat in the liver lowering the risk of developing liver disease. Coffee also provides protective antioxidants,” says Pitts. 

2. Green and Black Tea

“Green and black tea is high in antioxidants and can aid in protecting the liver from oxidative stress,” says Nicole. “Many studies have found that tea has improved blood biomarkers for liver health.” Pour yourself a glass of hot green or black tea not only to combat that afternoon slump but also to give your liver an antioxidant boost!

3. Grapes

There are tons of flavorful grape varieties you can eat as a liver-friendly snack. “Resveratrol, a component of red and purple grapes, aids in preventing liver disease by lowering inflammation,” says Nicole.

4. Berries

“Berries contain a rich source of antioxidants which may inhibit inflammation and prevent liver cell damage,” adds Pitts. Berries like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are the perfect addition to any meal and will protect your liver while elevating your tastebuds. 

5. Cruciferous Vegetables

“Examples of cruciferous vegetables include high fiber vegetables such as cauliflower,  broccoli, and Brussel sprouts,” says Nicole. “A study found brussel sprouts and broccoli increasing detoxification enzymes and protecting the liver from damage.”

6. Fish 

Fish, such as salmon, sardine, and cod, is a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. “Omega-3 fatty acids from fish prevents fat from accumulating, stabilizes enzyme levels, and combats inflammation,” adds Nicole. 

7. Beets

“Beets may help to reduce the accumulation of fat in the liver which helps to protect against non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Some studies completed on rodents show a correlation on reduction in oxidative stress and inflammation in the liver with red beetroot juice consumption,” says Pitts. Beets are so versatile that they can be eaten as a snack or added to your favorite pizza –– plus you won’t notice the taste!

8. Nuts 

Whether you enjoy walnuts, almonds, or pecans, this protein-packed snack can do wonders to your liver. “Nuts are an excellent source of fat, nutrients like antioxidant vitamin E, and beneficial compounds,” says Nicole. “Studies have found in individuals with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, consuming nuts increases the amount of liver enzymes.”