With all of the processed foods, additives and preservatives and environmental pollution we face each day, your body might appreciate a boost every once in a while to keep things running smoothly.
One of the main ways that the body rids itself of toxins is through the liver. The liver regulates most of the chemical levels in the blood, and excretes a product called bile to help break down fats, preparing them for digestion and absorption. All of the blood that leaves the stomach and the intestines passes through the liver, where the blood is processed, broken down, balanced and made into nutrients for the body to use. The liver is constantly working to detoxify blood and produce bile to store essential vitamins, minerals and iron. When the liver isn’t functioning properly, the digestion process — especially the digestion of fats —is greatly affected.
Whether you love it or hate it, garlic is filled with a variety of powerful benefits for the liver. Selenium is a mineral in garlic that increases the action of antioxidants to assist the liver in the detoxification process. Arginine is an amino acid in garlic that plays an important role in relaxing the blood vessels, which helps to ease the blood pressure in the liver. Garlic also contains Vitamin B6, which acts as an anti-inflammatory in the liver, and Vitamin C, which is the body’s primary antioxidant defender against cellular oxidation that leads to cell damage.
Grapefruit is high in Vitamin C as well as glutathione, which is produced naturally by the liver. Glutathione is involved in several processes in the body, including tissue building and repair, production of chemicals and proteins that are needed in the body, and strengthening of the immune system. Grapefruit contains over 70mg of glutathione, which assists the liver in the production of detox enzymes.
Leafy green vegetables have been shown to protect the liver by neutralizing metals, chemicals and pesticides from both foods and the environment. Arugula, spinach and chicory are believed to increase bile flow to help rid the body of waste products. Beets naturally cleanse and purify the blood to boost liver function and the production of nutrients in the body. Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous veggies help the liver produce enzymes to aid in the removal of toxins.
As if you needed another reason to eat avocados, they’re a superfood for the liver. They contain glutathione as well as Vitamin C and E which act as antioxidants to neutralize free radicals and protect liver cells from damage. The Vitamin E and Vitamin K in avocados act as an anti-inflammatory to protect the liver from harmful inflammation. The healthy fats in avocados can also improve cholesterol levels.
Walnuts contain the amino acid arginine, which is imperative in helping the liver detoxify ammonia. They’re also high in glutathione and Omega-3 fatty acids, which help support liver detoxification. Walnuts are full of antioxidants that help to neutralize free radicals, and healthy, unsaturated fats that protect against fat accumulation in the liver. These healthy fats are also essential to building strong cell membranes around liver cells.
The main active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Curcumin is believed to help protect the bile duct to improve the flow of bile, acting as a liver cleanser. It rejuvenates liver cells by preventing toxins and alcohol from being converted into harmful compounds that can damage the liver. Sprinkling some turmeric on your food is a great way to add a little flavor and reap the health benefits.
Master Herbalist, Ron Teeguarden, talks about how to have a strong liver in this short video!