Eat Your Way to a Healthier Liver with These Superfoods
The liver and gallbladder work in perfect harmony to support a robust immune system, healthy digestion, and a balanced mood.
The liver is our master detoxifier. It filters and neutralizes harmful substances in your body. It has 500 metabolic jobs, which it cannot perform when overburdened with toxins. Bile is produced in the liver and then stored in the gallbladder. When our liver is overburdened and toxic leads to an impaired release of bile from the gallbladder, which affects the breakdown of fats and overall digestion.
For these reasons, consuming liver-loving foods should be a priority. However, it can be difficult for those with digestive issues to add many liver-loving superfoods containing roughage into their diets. If you find undigested greens in your stools, your body has trouble digesting them. Therefore, if you have digestive issues, you can make it a point to puree or steam the vegetables. I also suggest blending your greens into a smoothie or buying a green powder such as spirulina or wheatgrass and adding it to your favorite smoothie.
The more you love your liver, the faster your digestion will love you back. The liver and the digestive system are directly related.
How the Liver Works
The liver has two phases of the detoxification pathways. They need specific nutrients, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and phytochemicals to work correctly.
Phase I of liver detoxification
– Toxins are released and neutralized into bile or become water-soluble so they can be excreted via urine. When necessary, toxins can sometimes be converted into intermediaries, which are chemically active forms and are more toxic than the original substance. They are very damaging if not correctly metabolized and excreted by the body. Then toxins are converted a second time there, combined with mineral compounds, amino acids, or other water-soluble biochemicals.
Phase II of liver detoxification
– Phase II of liver detoxification involves five different processes. One of them is a process called conjugation. Conjugation means that the toxic substances are bound to other elements and substances to be safely eliminated by the kidney, bladder, and bile. In this phase, we detoxify drugs, toxins from intestinal bacteria, and harmful food additives. This process also metabolizes steroid hormones (estrogen) and thyroid hormones, so they do not overburden the body.
Foods to Help with the Detoxification Phases
One of the most critical things in Phase I liver detoxification is getting rid of or reducing free radicals. We can help the liver do that by providing food rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals like vegetables and fruits. One of the most amazing antioxidants is glutathione, which is made by the body, but it is also found in avocado, watermelon, mushrooms, papaya, onions, and garlic.
One of the parts of Phase II Liver detoxification is called sulfation, where sulfur compounds convert harmful chemicals into water-soluble substances. Those sulfur compounds get into our bodies via food like lentils, eggs, onions, garlic, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, beans, peas, and garlic.
HERE ARE THE TOP SUPERFOODS THAT WILL LOVE YOUR LIVER:
ARTICHOKES: they increase bile flow and are prebiotic, which means that they help digestion.
ASPARAGUS: It helps clean the kidneys and reduce water retention. Asparagus is an excellent source of folate, essential for healthy cells, and is high in glutathione, a vital antioxidant for detox.
CHLORELLA: Great source of chlorophyll, which protects us from carcinogens and detoxifies our liver.
DANDELIONS: It is perfect for stimulating digestive juices and helping digest fats. Dandelion also supports the body’s natural detoxification process. You can add it to salad, smoothies, and juices, make tinctures, cook with them or drink it as tea. Remember, a little goes a long way because they are very bitter; spring is the best time to eat the greens when they are all fresh!
GARLIC: Garlic is antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, and anti-cancerous. It supports detoxification and is one of nature’s best antioxidants.
NETTLE: Rich in minerals (iron, magnesium, and more), vitamins, and antioxidants. Nettle helps strengthen the liver, helps the adrenals recover, and works like a kidneys tonic. You can make a nettle infusion and drink it a couple of times a day to help you detox.
BITTER FOODS: Bitter melon, romaine, and mustard greens help to cleanse the liver.
CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES: Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, kale, mustard, maca, bok choy, radish, mustard greens, turnips, rutabaga, arugula, the spices mustard, Brussels sprouts, horseradish and wasabi, and ornamentals such as candytuft. This family of plants also includes Asian vegetables such as bok choy, daikon, and Chinese (napa) cabbage.
BEETS: Beets contain many antioxidants and other nutrients that have cleansing and detoxifying properties. One of them is betaine. Betaine helps eliminate toxins. Another nutrient is called betalains, a pigment that is anti-inflammatory and, at the same time, encourages detoxification. Beets also contain pectin, which is a fiber. Fiber helps remove toxins that have been cleared from the liver so that toxins won’t reincorporate back into the body. Beets are a fantastic liver cleanser. Make juice, eat beet soup, or add it to your salad.
OTHER LIVER-LOVING FOODS:
LEAFY GREENS: Such as chard, bok choy, kale, spinach, mustard greens, watercress
SEA VEGETABLES: Kelp, dulse, dulse, arame, nori, and kombu.
LEAFY GREENS: Swiss chard, spinach, bok choy, mustard greens, and watercress.
FRESH HERBS: Mint, parsley, cilantro, and basil.
SUPERFOODS: Spirulina, chlorella, chlorophyll, wheatgrass, and wild blue algae.
Try adding one liver-loving food a day to your diet. You can have a cup of nettle tea, add dandelion greens to your smoothie, sauté some asparagus with your meals, or add some kale to your smoothie. Love the liver, and digestion will run smoothly.
- 1 qt water
- 1 oz Dry stinging nettle
- Bring water to a boil in a tea kettle.
- Heat a mason jar by rinsing it with warm water.
- Scoop dried nettle leaf into a mason jar.
- Pour hot water over the nettle leaf and stir.
- Let steep for 5 hours to infuse.
- Strain it.