health

8 Foods To Eat And 4 To Avoid In Order To Detox Your Liver In A Safe And Healthy Way

Christin Perry LitteThings writer by Christin Perry
Christin is a mom and editor specializing in lifestyle content. She also hides cookies like a boss.

Did you know that over time, your body can get totally overwhelmed by the toxins and stresses of daily life? And as the body’s internal filter, your liver can get overwhelmed, too.

So from time to time, it’s not a bad idea to give your liver its very own personal health day. Like the rest of your organs, it’s important to give your liver time to rest and recover, especially if you haven’t been treating it properly. How can you do that? A detox.

There are several ways to rid your body of toxins. You can eat certain healthy foods, cut back on junk food and fast food, do a juice cleanse, or even try intermittent fasting. No matter which option you decide to go with, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before making any major health or lifestyle changes.

Here, we’ll take a look at some of the most liver-friendly foods you can eat to give your liver the break it deserves.  

What Does the Liver Do?

liver
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Your liver is a pretty large organ that rests above your stomach. It’s tucked neatly under your ribs and rarely causes any trouble. But that doesn’t mean it’s not important. Your liver is basically the central processing unit for all of your body’s metabolic processes.

Signs Your Liver Needs a Detox

Signs Your Liver Needs a Detox
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Since just about everything in your body is affected by the metabolic process in one way or another, things can get a bit haywire when your liver gets overwhelmed. You might feel fatigued and sluggish, and you might have more breakouts than usual. You might feel depressed or irritable and even get more headaches than usual. Most of the signs can be pretty subtle and start slowly, making them difficult to recognize. So it’s important to pay close attention to your body and banish those toxins when they start to get out of hand.

Best Foods for Liver Detox
1. Leafy Greens

leafy greens
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While leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, and arugula provide a host of benefits to your body, they’re also a great choice when it comes to removing toxins. The chlorophyll in these greens strips toxins and heavy metals from your bloodstream, which allows your liver to play catch-up.

2. Cruciferous Veggies

cruciferous veggies
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Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower are critically important to the health of your liver because they contain glucosinolates, which support liver function and remove toxins from your body. To get a daily serving of cruciferous veggies, try going beyond broccoli and cauliflower and adding some kohlrabi, bok choy, or wasabi to your dinner menu — all are lesser-known vegetables that are considered part of the cruciferous family.

3. Garlic

3. Garlic
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Garlic lovers, rejoice! Garlic is great for the liver. According to HuffPost, garlic can activate liver enzymes that help flush toxins out of your body. Two of the natural compounds in garlic, selenium and allicin, can also help the liver cleanse itself.

4. Turmeric

turmeric
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Turmeric, which looks like orange ginger root, is basically a wonder food when it comes to detoxifying your liver. In fact, it’s hard to find a recipe for a detox juice that doesn’t include turmeric. And for good reason — it’s packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that cleanse your body and reduce cancer-causing free radicals.

5. Green Tea

green tea
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Looking for a tasty beverage that boosts your liver, too? Turn to green tea, and especially matcha tea. Both have been shown to improve liver function in lab studies, likely due to their high antioxidant levels. Just be sure to steer clear of green or black tea extracts, which have been shown to have the opposite effect, since both are capable of damaging your liver at high doses.

6. Green Juice

green juice
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Green juice has pretty much become the staple of most detox programs, since you can pack just about anything into a juice recipe and enjoy a multitude of health benefits in one glass of juice. And whether you’re looking to lower blood pressure or cholesterol, shed some tummy fat, or detoxify your bloodstream, there’s a green juice for that. Here’s a simple but tasty detoxifying recipe to try if you’re looking to get started.

7. Vitamin C

vitamin c
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Fruits like strawberries and oranges are very high in vitamin C. This vitamin can help protect the liver from cirrhosis and fatty buildup. Vitamin C is also known to help eliminate jaundice.

8. Vitamin B

vitamin b
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Vitamin B, specifically B-12, is known to be beneficial to the liver. This vitamin can help reduce the effects of cirrhosis. Additionally, for those who have liver disease, taking vitamin B supplements can actually improve nutritional deficiencies.

Worst Foods for Your Liver
1. Processed Foods With High-Fructose Corn Syrup

processed foods
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Virtually unknown prior to the early 1980s, high-fructose corn syrup is an ingredient found in just about every packaged food in the grocery store today. And it just so happens that it’s terrible for your liver. Consuming too much high-fructose corn syrup can cause fat deposits to build up in your liver, since the liver uses fructose to create fat. This process, called lipogenesis, can lead to the development of a disease called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. It’s similar to cirrhosis, just without the alcohol.

2. Foods With Lots of Added Saturated Fat

saturated fat
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Fried food, pastries, baked goods, and fast food are the biggest culprits when it comes to saturated fat. And not surprisingly, your liver isn’t much of a fan of saturated fat. In fact, recent studies have shown that consuming even one high-fat meal can have a slight impact on liver function. So if you know you’re going to overindulge for several days, consider planning a detoxifying cleanse afterward to balance things out.

3. Foods With Natural Saturated Fat

saturated fats cheese
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Although foods with added saturated fat may be worse for you, foods with natural saturated fat can also impact your liver. High-fat cheeses and butter are some of the foods to look out for.

4. Too Much Salt

too much salt
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Need another reason to lay off the fries? It turns out that diets high in sodium can lead to liver damage over time. Of course, some salt is OK; just be careful not to overdo it. And remember, foods that are super high in sodium — like lunch meats, bacon, and pizza — are bad for your body for lots of other reasons, too.

If you have questions about liver health, make sure to talk to your doctor!