After a long holiday season with too much sugar, fat, and heavy drinking, your liver may need a little care. Try these seven foods, shown to help strengthen the liver, improve its cleansing processes, and protect it from damage.
Are rich in cyanarin, chlorogenic acid, and other compounds that boost the liver's detox pathways, protect against oxidative stress, and reduce the risk of liver damage. It's also high in inulin, which helps stimulate components of the immune system.
Try this: Steam whole artichokes and serve them with warm olive oil infused with rosemary and garlic; toss chopped artichoke hearts with cannellini beans, black olives, roasted red peppers, and baby arugula; quarter baby artichokes, grill until tender, and toss with a dressing of minced shallots, grapefruit juice, and olive oil.
Reduces inflammation and protects against fatty liver disease and inflammation. Studies show that drinking coffee lowers the risk of cirrhosis, a condition marked by scarring of the liver, even in people with chronic liver disease. It may also protect against liver cancer and reduce mortality in people with chronic liver disease.
Try this: Blend cooled espresso with vanilla Greek yogurt, freeze in an ice cream maker, and top with shaved chocolate; simmer coconut milk with ginger, turmeric, and honey, then strain and add to brewed coffee; mix instant espresso powder, brown sugar, chipotle powder, garlic powder, and brown sugar, and use as a rub for grilled salmon.
Recipe: Coconut Oil Coffee
3. Broccoli Sprouts
Like all cruciferous vegetables, are rich in sulforaphane and other compounds that boost detoxification and protect the liver from damage. In one study, men with fatty liver disease who took broccoli sprout extract showed improved liver enzyme levels and decreased oxidative stress.
Try this: Toss broccoli sprouts with sliced red onion, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, feta cheese, and olive oil; roll broccoli sprouts, avocado, carrots, cucumbers, and cooked brown rice into sheets of nori for quick veggie sushi; sauté shallots and wild mushrooms in olive oil and garlic, add broccoli sprouts to warm, and toss with pasta.
4. Beet Juice
Has traditionally been used as a remedy to activate liver enzymes and increase bile, which helps the liver's detox function. It's high in betalains and other compounds that have been shown to reduce inflammation, protect against oxidative stress, and reduce the risk of liver damage.
Try this: Juice whole beets, ginger, carrots, and green apples for an uplifting morning beverage; combine beet juice, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and sparkling water, and garnish with lime wedges; simmer beet juice with honey, rosemary sprigs and balsamic vinegar, and use as a glaze or dressing.
Recipe: Beet Juice
Is packed with naringenin and naringin, antioxidants that protect the liver by reducing inflammation and preventing oxidative damage. Some studies have shown that naringenin and naringin may help reduce the risk of cirrhosis and hepatic fibrosis, the development of excessive connective tissue in the liver. Naringin also helps the liver's ability to metabolize alcohol and protects against some of its damaging effects.
Try this: Toss grapefruit sections with cubed avocado, frisse, pomegranate seeds, and pistachios; combine chopped grapefruit sections with minced red pepper, red onions, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, and lime juice for a zesty salsa; cut grapefruits into wedges, including skin, toss with sliced fennel and olive oil, and roast until tender.
6. Green Tea
Is high in catechins, antioxidants that improve blood markers of liver health, boost liver enzyme levels, and protect against oxidative stress and fat deposits in the liver. Some studies suggest that green tea also reduces the risk of liver cancer. Because some studies suggest that concentrated green tea supplements can increase the risk of liver damage,
it's best to drink it in its natural form.
Try this: Cook brown rice and dried mushrooms in a broth of strong brewed green tea, tamari, and ginger; combine matcha green tea powder with minced garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and rice vinegar for a robust Asian dressing; purée cooled green tea with cucumbers, baby spinach, and honey for a refreshing beverage.
Are rich in anthocyanins, antioxidants that reduce inflammation and protect the liver from oxidative stress. Some studies suggest that blueberries, as well as cranberries, protect against liver damage and reduce the risk of fibrosis.
Try this: Simmer mashed blueberries with minced onion and sprigs of fresh thyme, then purée for a savory jam; toss blueberries with chopped kale, dried cranberries, edamame, red onion, cashews, and quinoa, and drizzle with olive oil; combine blueberries, Greek yogurt, and chia seeds, then refrigerate overnight and top with chopped pecans for a fast breakfast bowl.
Recipe: Blueberry Polenta Cobbler