Importance of Liver Detoxification
The liver is the vital organ that performs a lot of functions. It plays a key role in the absorption of nutrients, maintaining the body's metabolic balance and in the removal of toxins.
Liver detoxification is important to eliminate the harmful substances from the body. When the liver is subjected to an array of toxins on a regular basis, it can take a toll on the overall health. It is important to detoxify the liver to improve liver health and function.
A healthy diet comprising of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices can help cleanse and repair the damaged liver. Here are top ten foods that assist the liver with detoxification.
Ginger is a culinary spice that offers an array of therapeutic benefits. Studies have shown that essential compounds in ginger such as gingerols and shogaols can reverse the damage caused by the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Long-term exposure to drugs such as paracetamol and tetracycline can lead to toxic accumulation in the liver. Studies have shown that ginger is a hepatoprotective agent that helps eliminate the toxins accumulated in the liver.
Ginger also protects against diverse xenobiotic compounds like alcohol, fungicides, heavy metals and organophosphorus compounds. Anti-dyslipidemic properties of ginger help prevent fat accumulation in the liver.
Garlic contains a sulfur compound called allicin, which acts as a powerful antioxidant and also has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Garlic is also rich in selenium, which is a detoxifying mineral that activates the enzymes in the liver to flush out toxins.
Thus, consumption of fresh garlic may help protect the liver from natural and environmental toxins. Garlic can also help reverse the oxidative stress that causes liver toxicity.
Garlic may reduce fat deposits in the liver and prevent or delay the progression of non-alcohol fatty liver disease.
Beets help improve liver function by flushing out the toxic substances. Beets are high in antioxidants and nutrients such as vitamin C, iron, folate, manganese and fiber (pectin).
Betaine, betalains, betacyanin, and betanin are the phytochemical compounds present in beets that help reduce liver inflammation.
Active compounds in beets improve enzymatic activity and stimulate bile flow to break down toxic wastes to help excrete them from the body.
Antioxidants in beets help reverse liver damage and purify the blood. Beets can be consumed in the form of juice or added to salads.
Citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, and grapefruits are natural cleansing food. They are a good source of vitamin C, which is not only important for boosting the immune system, but also for cleansing the liver.
Vitamin C helps the liver to make glutathione, an antioxidant that helps flush out the toxins.
Citrus fruits stimulate the production of enzymes that help convert toxins into a water-soluble form that can be easily excreted from the body.
The liver needs fat for proper function. However, high consumption of fat can cause problems with the bile production and affect digestion.
Walnuts are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids that produce the antioxidant glutathione, which helps the liver filter out the toxic substances.
Walnuts are also a good source of arginine, an amino acid that enhances the liver's detoxification process. Arginine helps detoxify the liver by neutralizing harmful substances such as ammonia.
Avocado, olives, flax and chia seeds also offer the same effect like walnuts in detoxifying the liver.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, chard, kale, arugula, lettuce, and collards are liver-friendly foods.
Green leafy vegetables are packed with nutrients that purify the blood and improve liver function. They can also help neutralize metals, chemicals, and pesticides that enter the body.
Chlorophyll is the green pigment found in green leafy vegetables that offer a powerful protective mechanism for the liver. It also strengthens the liver cells and neutralizes the chemicals that enter the body.
Greens also help increase bile flow, which is important for fat metabolism and detoxification.
Green tea is a good source of an antioxidant known as catechins, which helps improve liver function.
Green tea supports the liver function by increasing the enzyme activity in the detoxification process. Drug-induced liver damage can be reversed by the antioxidants in green tea.
A study found that epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in green tea reduced the impact of acetaminophen's toxic impact on the liver.
Catechins in green tea help scavenge the free radicals that are produced during detoxification and also reduces inflammation of the liver.
Broccoli contains high levels of sulforaphane, a potent antioxidant that supports liver detoxification. This cruciferous vegetable is high in fiber that cleanses the body from carcinogens.
Sulforaphane is a natural inducer of phase two enzymatic activity in the liver that helps reduce the toxic impact of phase one metabolites.
Glucosinolate, a sulfur compound in cruciferous vegetables help in the production of detox enzymes in the liver that aid in the removal of toxins and lowering the risk of liver cancer.
Turmeric, also known as the golden spice helps boost liver detoxification by assisting the enzymes that remove the toxins.
Turmeric is known for its antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Curcumin, an antioxidant in turmeric acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.
In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric has been used to treat liver disorders. The active compound curcumin increases bile production and induce liver enzymes in the phase two detoxification process that break down the toxins and flush out from the body.
Turmeric can be easily incorporated into food while cooking. It can also be added to smoothies and milk to improve liver health.
Artichoke acts as a cholagogue, which promotes the discharge of bile in the intestine. It also acts as a choleretic, which increases bile production. Thus, artichoke helps eliminate the toxins accumulated in the liver via the intestinal tract.
Artichoke also contains silymarin, an active ingredient which is known to have liver cleansing properties. Silymarin inhibits lipid peroxidation in the liver cell, thus preventing the deposition of fat.
Some of the phytochemical compounds found in artichokes such as cynarine, luteolin, and epigenin possess anti-inflammatory property. These compounds reduce liver damage and help with the regeneration of liver cells.
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