15 Best Foods to Cleanse Your Liver

You know you need to protect your heart and brain with the foods you eat, but you can’t forget about your liver. Healthline reminds us a functional liver is essential to your health, as it’s responsible for producing proteins, creating bile, storing vitamins, and breaking down toxins. Even if you’re not a heavy drinker, you could be hurting your liver by consuming all the wrong foods for your body.

To keep your liver functioning at optimal levels, be sure to add these foods into your diet as much as possible (including No. 9, which is a breakfast staple).

1. Grapefruit

grapefruit cut in half

Grapefruit cut in half | Angelika-Angelika/iStock/Getty Images

This tart fruit is a favorite for many — and if you already eat grapefruit regularly, then you’re on the right track. Healthline explains the antioxidants found in grapefruit may help protect the liver from injury, and they can also help reduce inflammation and save the cells from harm.

Additionally, other studies have shown the antioxidants found in the fruit can help protect against too much connective tissue building in the liver, which can cause permanent damage.

Next: If you love this morning drink, keep sipping away.

2. Coffee

A person pours some coffee.

A person pours some coffee. | Sasha_Suzi/iStock/Getty Images

You’ve probably heard varying facts regarding the health benefits of coffee. But current science concludes that this drink may actually do wonders for your liver. USA Today reports a study from the Netherlands found coffee may protect against the development of liver fibrosis, which affects one out of every 10 Americans.

As for how much you should drink, the study found three cups per day was associated with less liver scarring.

Next: You probably aren’t eating this food as much as you should be. 

3. Cranberries

trail mix consisting of dried cranberries, sliced almonds, raisins and chunks of chocolate

trail mix consisting of dried cranberries, sliced almonds, raisins and chunks of chocolate | iStock.com/BWFolsom

Here’s a berry we could all be eating more of. Healthline explains cranberries contain anthocyanins, which are antioxidants that provide the fruit with its beautiful red hue. Not only that, but anthocyanins are known for helping the body (and that includes the liver). Eating the fruit itself as well as consuming juice can greatly benefit your liver function.

Don’t like cranberries? Blueberries also provide all this goodness, too.

Next: You know you should be eating way more of these.

4. Leafy green vegetables

Variety of leafy green vegetables

Leafy green vegetables | Robynmac/iStock/Getty Images

When it comes to your health, leafy green veggies are king. Global Healing Center notes leafy greens are high chlorophyll, which makes them able to soak up toxins from your bloodstream. They’re also effective at neutralizing heavy metals and help your liver deal with various chemicals found in your food (this is particularly important if you’re not buying organic).

There are many greens to choose from here, but spinach, arugula, and dandelion greens are just a few of the best.

Next: Add this nut into your diet. 

5. Walnuts

Walnuts

Walnuts on a wooden table | iStock.com/seb_ra

You’ve heard of omega-3 fatty acids before — and you also know by now that you should be eating more of them. Walnuts are a rich source of omega-3s, Medical News Today confirms. And while more concrete research is needed, studies suggest foods such as walnuts might help lower fat levels in the liver, which is good news overall for your health.

If you’re not a fan of walnuts, try going for other foods rich in omega-3s, like fatty fish or soybeans.

Next: Most people love to cook with this pantry staple. 

6. Garlic

Garlic cloves and sliced garlic on vintage wooden background.

Garlic cloves and sliced garlic | dulezidar/iStock/Getty Images

As Dr. Charles Passler tells Well + Good, “Eating garlic helps activate the liver detox enzymes.” And these enzymes are responsible for eliminating toxins from your system altogether. We also can’t forget that this root veggie also contains 39 antibacterial agents, which helps keep away illnesses in general.

Eat fresh garlic whenever you can, Dr. Passler suggests. The compounds found in the fresh produce help kill harmful organisms in your intestines.

Next: Roast them or juice them — either way, eat way more of these! 

7. Beets

sliced beetroot

Beets | iStock.com/Dianazh

This root veggie is gaining serious traction in health communities — and for good reason. WebMD notes it’s often suggested to those who have liver disease or fatty liver to add more beets into their diet. This is because some evidence suggests the veggie may be able to fight fat deposits found in the liver.

In general, beets are also great for your blood, too, and they may help athletic performance. All in all, it can’t hurt to give them a try.

Next: It’s crunchy, it’s green, and your parents probably told you to eat more of it as a child.

8. Cabbage

Ripe pumpkins and cabbage at a farmers market

Ripe pumpkins and cabbage at a farmers market | encrier/iStock/Getty Images

This green veggie is another one that you may love or hate. And there’s good news for those who love cabbage, as the Global Healing Center notes it can stimulate the liver. Thanks to its heavy fiber content, it aids your body in detoxing by stimulating enzymes that help with the flushing process.

If you don’t like cabbage on its own, try kimchi. This fermented food comes with loads of health benefits and is universally delicious.

Next: If you love this breakfast food, keep eating it.

9. Oatmeal

Bowl of oatmeal porridge, topped with fresh blueberries and yogurt

Bowl of oatmeal topped with fresh blueberries and yogurt | Robynmac/iStock/Getty Images

Whether you like it plain or care to throw some berries on top, oats have many health benefits. Livestrong.com explains oatmeal is rich in soluble fiber, which helps reduce bad cholesterol levels that can build in the liver and blood vessels. Essentially, the fiber works to reduce how much cholesterol is absorbed into the bloodstream.

Oatmeal is also rich in protein, which can help keep you fuller for longer and promote a healthy weight.

Next: Instead of butter, you should be cooking with this.

10. Olive oil

Infused olive oil

Bottles of infused olive oil | ChamilleWhite/iStock/Getty Images

This food contains the healthy fats you need in your diet. Healthline explains a small study also found that consuming as little as one tablespoon of olive oil improved the function of the liver. This study was too limited to make any concrete conclusions, but still, it’s certainly a step in the right direction. Other studies have also found olive oil helps reduce fat in the liver, which ultimately aids against liver disease.

Next: This crunchy fall fruit is better for you than you think. 

11. Apples

fresh apples in wicker basket on wooden table

Fresh apples | YelenaYemchuk/iStock/Getty Images

You may be quick to forget about this fruit, but don’t leave it behind. Apples contain tons of fiber, which we now know benefits the liver, Well + Good says. And the skin of the apple is where a lot of the fiber is, so make sure you’re leaving that on when you’re snacking.

Here’s another helpful tip: Always go organic. Apples are part of the “dirty dozen,” list, meaning they’re typically riddled with pesticides that can actually hurt your liver.

Next: These go perfectly on top of a salad.  

12. Broccoli sprouts

Shoppers buy broccoli sprouts at a supermarket in Tokyo

Shoppers buy broccoli sprouts at a supermarket in Tokyo. | Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images

They don’t look like much, but Dr. Passler tells Well + Good that broccoli sprouts are way more powerful than you think. He says these sprouts are both rich in antioxidants and they boost glutathione better than regular broccoli does, “which means they support both phases of liver detoxification.” Additionally, this food contains a compound that assists the liver in getting rid of excess hormones.

If you’re tired of broccoli and Brussels sprouts, consider giving these a shot.

Next: It’s creamy, full of healthy fats, and totally delicious.

13. Avocados

Avocado toast

Avocado toast | Arx0nt/iStock/Getty Images

This fruit is full of fat, but don’t worry, as it’s the good kind. Livestrong.com notes avocadoes contain monounsaturated fats and are low on the glycemic index, which is great news for your liver. A 2007 study suggests limiting saturated fats and replacing them with monounsaturated fats can help lower fatty acid levels in the liver. For those with fatty liver disease, this is particularly beneficial.

Avocados also boast over 20 vitamins and minerals, many of which assist in breaking down fats and assisting the liver.

Next: If you’re not a coffee drinker, here’s a great alternative.

14. Green tea

Woman holding a cup of hot matcha green tea in her hands

Woman holding a cup of hot matcha green tea in her hands | Pattanaphong Khuankaew/iStock/Getty Images

It’s not just coffee that’s good for you. The same study that verified the benefits of coffee also found that drinking tea was associated with “lower liver stiffness values.” Higher levels of stiffness are associated with scarring across the liver from inflammation.

Additionally, Healthline notes a large study from Japan found drinking five to 10 cups of green tea per day could improve liver health over time. And another study found green tea drinkers were at less of a risk for developing liver cancer.

Next: Here’s another nut you should have in your diet. 

15. Almonds

Whole almonds in a bowl

Whole almonds in a bowl | YelenaYemchuk/iStock/Getty Images

These nuts make the perfect midday snack to cure hunger and gain some long-lasting energy. Not only that, but WebMD notes almonds are rich in vitamin E, which may help protect against liver disease. Also consider almonds are packed with healthy fats and fiber, which both aid the liver in detoxing the body. There’s also your heart health to consider, and almonds help keep your ticker healthy, too.

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