The liver performs many important functions such as :
- Making certain proteins for blood plasma
- Making bile that help carry away waste and break down the fats in the small intestine while digestion
- Regulating blood clotting
- Converting surplus glucose into glycogen for storage and to balance and make glucose as and when required. Glycogen can be converted back to glucose later for energy)
- Producing special proteins and cholesterol to help carry fats through your body
- Clearing the blood of medications and other poisonous substances
- Converting poisonous ammonia to urea, an end product of protein metabolism, which is excreted in the urine)
- Fighting infections by making immune factors and removing bacteria from bloodstream
Here are the list of the best foods to eat and foods to avoid in order to keep your liver healthy.
Research studies have shown that consumption of coffee in moderation can help protect our liver by preventing the build-up of collagen and fat and also reduce the risk of liver cancer.
- Green Tea
Green Tea is full of catechins, an antioxidant compound, which when taken in moderately, help liver function and protects the liver from the damaging effects of toxins like alcohol. Drinking green tea regularly helps in blocking the amount of fat stored in your liver thus reducing the risk of fatty liver disease.
Cranberries blueberries and raspberries have antioxidants called polyphenols. The polyphenols help protect the liver from getting damaged. Eating berries regularly can also help stimulate your immune system.
Purple and red grapes have many beneficial plant compounds, one notable example being resveratrol that lowers inflammation and boosts the level of antioxidants.
Oatmeal, which makes for one of the healthiest breakfasts, contains lots of fiber which can help liver work at its best. Oatmeal is also high in a compound known as ‘beta-glucans’, which reduces inflammation and help modulate the immune system. They also help in reducing the amount of fat stored in the liver.
Nuts, particularly almonds, are rich in Vitamin E and unsaturated fats, which in turn help the liver in getting rid of bad cholesterol from the body and reducing blood pressure, aside from protecting against fatty liver disease.
Consuming garlic in regular diet can help stimulate the liver. A study published in the journal of Advanced Biomedical Research in 2016 found that having garlic reduces body weight and fat content in those suffering from Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), with no changes whatsoever in the lean body mass. This is good for obese or overweight individuals. Being overweight or obese contributes to NAFLD.
Eggs considered to be the healthiest foods. They are rich in all the eight essential amino acids as well as choline, which is also an essential nutrient. The amino acids and choline help liver improve the metabolism rate and also help in the detoxification process.
The worst foods for the liver include:
Alcohol ranks first in the list of harmful foods for the liver. When our liver breaks down alcohol, the resultant chemical reaction may damage its cells leading to scarring and inflammation. Chronic alcoholism blocks proper nutrients absorption, further straining the liver .
- Sugary foods
Our liver converts sugar into the fat and excessive fat storage in our liver may cause non alcoholic fatty liver disease.
- Fatty Foods
Pizzas, french fries, burgers and deep fried foods , etc. are high in saturated fats that can cause liver inflammation over time, lead to cirrhosis and make it harder for our liver to do its job. Fatty foods also reduce the levels of good cholesterol and elevate bad cholesterol.
- Red Meat
Red meat may be rich in protein, but can also tax the liver as it cannot break down this protein easily.
- Salty items
Packaged foods and canned soups are full of sodium (salt) which leads to retention of excess fluid in our liver and inhibits its functions.
Liver does a lot for us. A healthy liver is essential for overall well-being. By monitoring the diet, we can return the favour and live life with a healthy, properly-functioning liver.