The human body is a complex machine made of different organs and organ systems. These organs need to function at their best for you to remain in optimal health. The liver is among the most vital of these organs. But how much do you know about your liver and how the food you eat affects it?
Due to the liver’s central role in detoxification it can be susceptible to several diseases associated with toxins—one of the most common being a toxic liver disease, also known as hepatotoxicity.
This disease usually results from the prolonged overconsumption of harmful substances like over-the-counter medication such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, etc.
To prevent and possibly reverse such liver diseases, lifestyle changes can make a significant difference. In this case, opting for a liver-friendly plant-based diet may produce excellent results, and here are five examples to get you started.
Coffee And Tea
According to Statista, about 27.16 million 60-kilogram bags of coffee were consumed in the US in 2018/2019. Although many people drink their morning coffee to get them ready for the day, few know it’s a highly protective and supportive drink for the liver. It turns out the coffee is more than a morning booster as research shows that it reduces the possibility of cirrhosis, liver cancer and boosts glutathione levels.
Glutathione is an antioxidant known to inhibit cell damage resulting from reactive oxygen species like free radicals and heavy metals. Green tea and Azul tea are incredibly healthy options for those with such beverages, particularly for the liver.
Green tea, being more popular, increases liver enzyme levels and decreases liver fat buildup, among many others.
Among all the plant-based oils you can find, olive oil is perhaps the best for your overall health. As a cooking oil, it’s not only great for the tastebuds but also suitable for several recipes. It’s also one of the best places you to obtain two essential fats, namely:
- Monounsaturated fat
- Polyunsaturated fat
Also, it contains nutrients like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Olive oil has been proven through research to promote liver health through increased protein level that signals positive metabolic effects and enhanced insulin sensitivity.
If you’re interested in giving it a try, olive oil is easy to incorporate into your diet. You can either splash it on your favorite salad or thicken your stew with it.
You might have heard the popular saying, “Eat your vegetables.” It’s not just because they taste great. Vegetables provide healing and preventive benefits, especially the super veggies from the Brassica family.
This group of veggies includes kale, turnip, broccoli, radish, Brussels sprouts, arugula, cabbage, rutabaga, and cauliflower. Aside from the fact that these veggies are packed with essential nutrients like minerals, fatty acids, and vitamins, they also contain sulforaphane. Not many natural and plant-based foods supply sulforaphane, a mineral that’s produced by glucosinolate.
Although research on the benefits of cruciferous vegetables is still ongoing, a recent study indicated that broccoli and Brussels sprouts release elevated levels of detox enzymes and prevent liver damage. Another research concluded that broccoli sprout produced one of the most potent and pure types of sulforaphane, capable of reducing oxidative stress.
Grapefruits aren’t the most delicious fruits you can find. It has a strong bitter taste, despite some hint of sweetness. But don’t let this stop you from enjoying this healthy fruit because they’re a way to pair it with other tastier plant-based foods for maximum enjoyment.
Among its therapeutic benefits, grapefruit improves immunity, regulates appetite, and prevents insulin resistance. Recent studies found that this fruit contains two antioxidants called naringin and naringenin that play protective roles in the liver. These antioxidants also help fight inflammation.
The research showed that these antioxidants might aid the liver in combating the development of hepatic fibrosis. This is a health condition that leads to the buildup of excessive connective tissue on the liver caused by chronic inflammation.
Beetroot juice contains ample amounts of nitrates and antioxidants known as betalains. These could provide anti-inflammatory benefits and decrease oxidative stress. You can assume that consuming the actual beetroot will also give the same results.
Nevertheless, the research on the topic only used beetroot juice. Preparing beetroot juices isn’t difficult, and you can also buy them online or in the store. Studies involving rats have shown that the juice helps minimize the damage from oxidative stress and liver inflammation.
Apart from this, it also promotes the secretion of detoxification enzymes. Despite the promising results observed in animal studies, human studies are yet to be conducted. If anything, you can use beetroot juice to supplement your plant-based diet for maximum benefits.
The journey to a healthier liver is a long one. There are days you’ll feel like going back to your old ways of excessive sugar and alcohol. Instead of relying on pharmaceutical drugs to address liver diseases caused by lifestyle choices, you’re better off building habits that promote the healthy function of your entire body.
Eat healthily, exercise more, drink a lot of water, and use the plant-based foods listed above to prevent liver complications. Simple drinks like Azul tea and coffee can help when you’re battling with any liver conditions and quicken your recovery process.