April 19 is designated as World Liver Day and every year this day is observed to raise awareness regarding liver-related diseases and to promote the health of the body’s second-largest organ (after the skin). Junet Sussan Moncy, Dietician, Department of Clinical Nutrition, Amrita Hospital, says that the liver is the largest digestive gland in the body, playing a major role in the metabolism of various substances. “Selecting the appropriate food is crucial for maintaining good health, particularly for the well-being of the liver,” shares Junet.
The liver performs various functions such as detoxification, breakdown of red blood cells and substances, synthesis of protein and hormones, and storing glycogen. “A healthy diet and regular physical activity can help control the progression of liver disease. Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), and omega-3 fatty acids are considered beneficial for the liver, while saturated fatty acids, trans fats, simple sugars, and animal proteins can have a harmful effect on the liver. The diet for liver disease patients should be simple and balanced. A well-balanced diet can improve liver health and help manage symptoms,” says Junet.
10 Best Food For Liver Health
Junet Sussan Moncy suggests the following 10 foods and beverages to maintain liver health:
A daily cup of coffee may help prevent liver disease. When your body digests caffeine, it produces a chemical called paraxanthine that can prevent the liver from developing fibrosis. This may help fight liver cancer, alcohol-related cirrhosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and hepatitis C. Coffee also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. However, it’s important to avoid adding excess sugar to your coffee, as this can be harmful to your liver.
Oats are high in fiber, including a type of fiber called beta-glucan which can benefit liver function. Consuming oatmeal can help with weight loss, particularly in the abdominal area, which can decrease your chances of developing liver disease.
3. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good fats that can help reduce inflammation. These fats appear to prevent excess fat accumulation and maintain normal levels of liver enzymes, leading to reduced inflammation in the liver.
Nuts contain healthy unsaturated fats, and including varieties like walnuts and almonds in your diet can help reduce the risk of liver disease. These nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and antioxidants. Eating nuts can improve feelings of fullness and reduce appetite.
Yogurt is a great source of probiotics. Patients with a chronic liver disease generally have an imbalance in their intestinal flora, and a daily intake of yogurt can help protect against injury to the fatty liver.
6. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage are high in fiber and contain certain compounds that aid in the detoxification process. They also protect against harmful components and can prevent the development of fatty liver.
7. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits like lemons and oranges contain vitamin C, potassium, and bioflavonoids, which can enhance the detoxification process of the liver. These nutrients can also improve energy levels and reduce inflammation.
Avocados are packed with healthy fats and glutathione, which can help reduce and slow down liver damage. The glutathione present in avocados helps to eliminate harmful toxins from the body. Additionally, avocados are rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients and soluble fibers.
9. Olive Oil
Olive oil is considered a healthy fat and can reduce the risk of fatty liver. Regular intake of olive oil has been linked to less fat accumulation in the liver and improved blood levels of liver enzymes in humans.
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, which can help slow down fibrosis and improve hepatic steatosis or fatty liver. Regular consumption of these berries in your diet is a good way to ensure your liver is supplied with the antioxidants it needs to stay healthy.