Give your liver a high five: Garlic to green tea, check out this list of 15 foods to boost liver health | Health

The liver, the largest organ in the human body (after skin), plays a crucial role in our overall wellbeing as it performs over 500 functions including digestion of proteins, storage of minerals, production of bile and filtration of blood. Unfortunately, despite its importance, the function of this critical organ often goes unnoticed.

Give your liver a high five: Garlic to green tea, check out this list of 15 foods to boost liver health (Photo by Happy Hormones)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Swati Shukla, Nutritionist at Amway, informed, “The foods we eat play a significant role in supporting liver health. By incorporating nutrient-rich foods, lean proteins, healthy fats, and mindful choices into our diet, we can empower our liver to continue its crucial functions effectively. This dietary harmony fosters optimal liver function, safeguarding overall health and vitality.” She elaborated upon how the right food nutrition can help lead towards a life of holistic wellbeing –

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  1. Nutrient-Rich Foods: To nurture our liver, we must prioritise foods abundant in nutrients like leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, berries, and citrus fruits. These nourishing choices provide antioxidants, vitamins and minerals crucial for liver health, aiding in detoxification and shielding against oxidative stress.
  2. Lean Proteins: Choosing lean protein sources such as fish and poultry, or plant-based options like soy, legumes, kidney beans, and chickpeas supply the liver with essential amino acids necessary for its function and repair.
  3. Healthy Fats: Include sources of healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil in your diet. These fats support cell membranes and aid in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, promoting liver health without overloading it.
  4. Whole Grains: Choose whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, oats, and whole wheat bread over refined grains. These fiber-rich foods help regulate blood sugar levels and support digestive health, indirectly benefiting liver function.
  5. Meal Planning and Balance: Create balanced meals that include a variety of nutrient-rich foods to support overall health, including liver function. Meal planning can help ensure you’re consistently nourishing your body with foods that promote optimal liver health.

Dr Swati Shukla advised, “Furthermore, integrating need-based supplements having nutrients such as high-quality plant protein or actives like milk thistle, which have demonstrated effectiveness in promoting liver health, supplementing our dietary regimen can support comprehensive wellbeing. This ensures the provision of targeted nutrients and substances that help support normal liver function and overall vitality. Remember, a well-nourished liver is the unsung hero of our overall well-being, and giving it the support it needs can lead to a better, healthier life.”

Gushing that the liver is the only organ in the body capable of self-rejuvenating, Aman Puri, Founder of Steadfast Nutrition, asserted that it is crucial to ensure that this vital organ functions at its optimal capacity and recommended some of the foods that can boost its functioning –

  1. Garlic: Garlic contains a wide spectrum of bioactive compounds such as alliin, allicin, and vinyl dithiins which have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Hence, it’s a potent herb that can reduce inflammation in the liver and maintain liver health. Including raw garlic in your diet also helps in fat metabolism and maintains intestinal gut flora.
  2. Ash Gourd: Ash gourd is a low-calorie vegetable and contains many powerful compounds such as antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals. It contains the phytochemical cucurbitacin which has been shown to improve liver functioning and help boost immunity. An ideal way to consume ash gourd is on an empty stomach in the form of juice.
  3. Fatty fish: Fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA, EPA, and ALA, known for their anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce free radicals, increase HDL levels, lower LDL levels, and improve fat metabolism. We often end up eating processed and packaged foods that can cause inflammation in the gut and liver. Fatty fish helps reduce this inflammation, keeping the liver healthy. Vegetarians can opt for flax seeds, also a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.
  4. Grapes: Grapes contain an array of polyphenolic compounds such as anthocyanin, flavanols, phenolic acids, and resveratrol. Studies suggest these compounds help manage liver enzymes, secreted more in case of liver inflammation. Regular consumption of grapes helps balance liver enzymes, restoring liver health.
  5. Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a rich source of fiber and bioactive compounds such as beta-glucans. Fiber helps reduce cholesterol, flushes out toxins from the body and helps in boosting immunity. Incorporating oatmeal in daily diet reduces cholesterol level, preventing its overload on the liver.

According to Ajeet Godara, Co-Founder of Natureland Organics, a healthy liver is important for overall well-being as the liver, our unsung hero, filters toxins, regulates blood sugar, and produces essential proteins. He said, “It is a resilient and hardworking organ and deserves applause for its continuous efforts to keep your body healthy. In recognition of its tireless work, providing it with the right nutrients ensures it keeps working well. The right kind of food fuels the growth of the body. However, in the present time, when our bodies are exposed to chemicals and packaged foods are making their way to the kitchen shelf, we need to revisit our habits and make an organic switch.”

He suggested that some of the key additions that one can make that direct towards a healthier life include –

  1. Organic Turmeric: Packed with curcumin, turmeric is renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties, aiding liver detoxification and promoting digestive health.
  2. Nuts: Another addition that you can make to your list is nuts. Walnuts and almonds are considered to be the best for livers. They are rich in antioxidants and storehouse of healthy fats, making them the best choice for the liver.
  3. Quinoa: Want to get over fatty liver? Well, a simple dietary addition can improve the liver health. Quinoa offers several health benefits, including preventing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Making it a part of your daily diet can help you overcome NAFLD.
  4. Leafy Greens: These are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and collard greens help support liver function and aid in detoxification. Also, you must add vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower for liver detoxification.
  5. Green Tea: We have heard a lot about the positive effects of green tea on skin and weight control. But it also benefits the liver. Loaded with antioxidants called catechins, green tea helps protect liver cells from damage.

Now that you know even if you’re having kheer on Eid or on a diet, make sure you do it right by incorporating these delicious options regularly to show your liver some love and keep it functioning optimally.

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