Are you always feeling tired, irritated and bloated? Are you having breakouts of acne or itchy skin with dark spots? Are you perspiring constantly or feeling hot all the time? You may need some liver-healthy foods in your life.
These and other symptoms—such as having trouble losing weight—are indicators that you may have a toxic or overburdened liver.
The liver is the second largest organ in your body and perhaps your hardest-working one. It’s essentially the watchman of our body who inspects, scrutinizes and filters everything that makes its way inside.
Our modern lifestyles have certainly been keeping it busy.
Many of us live a toxic and stressed-out lifestyle, and our livers just can’t bear it. It’s easy for the liver to become overburdened, and once that happens, you become susceptible to disease and internal disfunction.
You could take a gamble on your liver health, hoping that it doesn’t become over-taxed, or you could take care of it through the use of natural remedies and a liver-healthy diet.
Liver detox foods are natural, wholesome, and packed with nutrients and fiber. They are rich in nutrients like sulfur, zinc, indoles and antioxidant vitamins that rejuvenate the liver by scavenging free radicals and other toxins.
Let’s delve into the top 7 liver-healthy foods to include in your diet. They’ll clean you up from the inside out.
My Favorite Liver-Healthy Foods
1. Jerusalem Artichoke
Jerusalem artichoke is the root of a sunflower variety and is also known as sunchoke or sun root.
Native to North America. this liver-healthy food is high in antioxidant action due to the presence of Vitamin C and phytonutrients like silymarin and cynarin.
It is also abundant in Vitamin B-complex and minerals like calcium, zinc, phosphorus, iron, and potassium.
Jerusalem artichoke is a natural prebiotic that enhances the immune system. It contains fructo-oligosaccharides, which are unique types of carbs made up of natural sugars. This is absorbed by the beneficial bacteria in the gut, allowing it to flourish.
This is a big plus as healthy gut flora is synonymous with a healthy liver.
[Related Article: How to Improve Your Digestion Power (8 Essential Steps)
This tasty tuber is also rich in inulin which is a natural and complex starch that is also considered a natural prebiotic. It promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria like faecium, bifidus, and acidophilus.
The phytonutrients in the tuber stimulate bile production, thereby spurring on fat digestion, gall bladder stone clearance and good digestion.
[Try This Recipe: Easy Roasted Sunchokes (Paleo “Fries”) via Olive and Herb]
2. Green Leafy Vegetables
I’m sure you know that green leafy vegetables are incredibly healthy, but did you know they are excellent liver-healthy foods as well?
Green leafy vegetables are also a rich source of chlorophyll, which detoxifies, heals and purifies the blood and the blood-producing organs like the liver. It is capable of expelling toxins from the body.
Chlorophyll possesses strong anti-carcinogenic abilities, and is effective in maintaining and balancing the immune system in the body. It boosts up the bone marrow function and increases the blood count of RBCs, WBS, and platelets. The WBCs are our primary immunity cells.
This amazing green substance is also capable of keeping your blood sugar in check. It protects the internal organs from deteriorating effects of diabetes.
Finally, it also cleanses the intestines and reduces your fecal odour, thus acting as a natural deodorant. It can also be used as a remedy for ‘halitosis’ or ‘bad breath’. (4)
Incorporate greens like kale, chicory, mustard greens, spinach, Swiss chard, dandelion greens, and our Energy Greens in your daily diet.
[Try This Recipe: Apple Cider Vinegar & Greens Detox Salad]
If you’re trying to lose weight, you certainly don’t want to eat too many fruits, as a lot of them are loaded with fructose which can slow your weight loss. That said, many of them can be a great help if your immediate mission is improving liver health through diet.
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemon, lime, tangerines and grapefruits, as well as berries like blueberry, blackberry and strawberry— not to mention pomegranates—are all rich in the antioxidant vitamin C and flavonoids. They are also high in folic acid and vitamin B-complex.
Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant that protects the internal organs from reactive oxidative stress and scavenges free radicals in the body, especially in your liver.
This vitamin is a blessing for the liver as it is required for the synthesis of glutathione, which is the liver’s principal antioxidant. Without it, your liver simply won’t function correctly.
Vitamin C is also required for the acetylation reaction in the liver. Vitamin B1 is also required for supporting this important process, in which your liver neutralizes toxins by creating an acetyl bond with the toxins so they can be ferreted out of your body.
These particular fruits are also rich in limonene, which supports the formation of a glycosidic bond in the glucuronidation reaction in the liver. This reaction is essential for metabolizing drugs, fatty acid derivatives, pollutants, retinoid metabolite, bile acids and estrogen metabolites. (5)
Simply put, these delicious fruits help your liver detox you thoroughly.
[Try This Recipe: Avocado and Grapefruit Salad via Food Network]
4. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables are some of the most popular—and healthiest—vegetables. The list includes cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, bok choy, watercress, garden cress, mustard greens, and turnips.
These liver-healthy foods are high in vitamin C, dietary fiber, and glucosinolates.
Glucosinolates are sulfur-containing compounds that are protective in nature. These compounds have shown powerful anti-carcinogenic abilities in various studies.
The hydrolysis products of glucosinolates are indoles and isothiocyanates, which support many reactions in phase I & II detoxification processes of the liver. (6)
[Try This Recipe: Cauliflower Pizza Crust via Nutrition Stripped]
5. Apples and Pears
These tasty liver-healthy foods are good for you just like the other fruits I listed, but for entirely different reasons.
They’re extremely rich in fiber, vitamin C and K, copper, and phytonutrients like pectin, anthocyanins, flavonols, and flavonoids.
A study has shown that a combination of apple and pear has a remarkably high flavonoid content and is quite potent in reducing the risk of diabetes. (7)
The dietary fiber keeps the bowels healthy and the flora balanced. Thanks to their anticarcinogenic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and hypoallergic qualities, they heal and purify the body and aid the liver in its detoxification functions.
Pectin is a complex starch and is digestible in the gut. It draws water and increases the bulk in the intestine, promoting colon health and helping you with your bowel movements.
I’m fond of pectin because it’s also helpful in weight management as the starch provides satiety with very low calories. It stimulates satiety providing hormones and thus, helps you keep your weight down!
[Try This Recipe: Apple Pecan Arugula Salad via Minimalist Baker]
6. Dandelion Root
The wisps of dandelion plant have long been symbolic for vibrancy, survival, healing and purity. However, its medicinal faculty lies in its roots.
These roots provide a bitter extract that can stimulate digestive enzymes in the liver. This bitter extract has been used for ages in detoxifying and purifying the internal systems.
The medicinal extract of the dandelion root can greatly improve the hepatic functions. It is given in cases of liver damage, fatty liver, and jaundice to repair and heal the liver. It’s simply one of the most liver-healthy foods there is. (8)
Dandelion tea or decoction can be taken 4-5 times in a day for maximum benefits.
[Try This Recipe: Iced Lime Dandelion Tea via Wellness Mama]
7. Milk Thistle
Scientifically known as silybum marianum, milk thistle has been used for centuries as an herb that can improve the liver function.
The potent bioflavonoid silymarin is the most important and active ingredient in milk thistle and is responsible for its effect. It is an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant.
Some studies have shown that the milk thistle extract can benefit people suffering from alcohol-induced liver cirrhosis. It is also beneficial in fatty liver, jaundice and gall bladder issues.
Some studies have demonstrated its effect in healing liver damage caused by industrial toxins like xylene. 
[Try This Recipe: Milk Thistle Tea via Natural Healing Guide]
I hope you choose to stock your kitchen with these liver detox foods, as they are all very simple ways to keep your liver in tip-top shape. I can bet you want to be clean from the inside out; this is exactly how you can pull that off.
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(9) Ajit Kiran Kaur et al. (April 2011). MILK THISTLE (SILYBUM MARIANUM): A REVIEW. International Journal of Pharma Research and Development; 3 (2)
Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s most trusted health and fitness experts. A former pro soccer player turned NYT bestselling author of The All-Day Energy Diet and The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, his clear, science-backed advice has transformed the lives of more than 500,000 men and women and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people by 2040. Read his inspiring story, “From Soccer to Bed to No Hair on My Head” that started it all.