Your liver is one of the main powerhouse organs in your body. Not only does it help purify your blood and flush out the toxins that get into your body, but it also plays a vital role in over 500 other bodily functions, from hormone balancing to your ability to fight off bacterial infections.
When most people think about their liver, the only thing they really know for certain is that alcohol can be really, really bad for it. But, did you know, when it comes to keeping your liver healthy and not overworked, there are actually a bunch of other foods you should try to stay away from?
A healthy diet is an important part of a healthy life, and that includes keeping your liver fit and ready to go. Here’s a quick rundown on the worst foods you can eat that can cause liver damage.
7 Worst Things You Can Eat That Damage Your Liver
Alright, so we all know that alcohol is bad for our liver, but do we know why? It comes down to the fact that your liver can’t keep up with large amounts of alcohol at a time. If you drink too much or too frequently, your liver struggles to process it. The toxic enzymes alcohol creates in the liver can cause permanent scarring and lead to cirrhosis.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
One of the big reasons high fructose corn syrup is so damaging on the liver is because it causes people to gain weight rapidly. The weight gain from high fructose corn syrup is usually dangerous abdominal belly fat, which can also lead to fatty liver disease. It’s worse than that, though. New research has shown that excessive high fructose corn syrup ingestion, even without weight gain, can cause serious liver damage.
The majority of fried foods you get at restaurants or fast food chains has been fried in low quality oils, which are typically rancid and introduce a lot of toxins into your body. On top of that, they elevate bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol, which puts stress on your liver. And, again, a diet high in fried foods usually brings on obesity and diabetes, which can both be a precursor to liver disease.
Pretty much anything that comes in an easy, microwave packaging is going to be bad for you. The majority of processed foods contain a lot of preservatives and fillers and not a whole lot of the original nutrients. Preservatives are another toxin your liver has to process, which means it’s working that much harder for less nutritious food.
It’s universal knowledge by now that trans fats are extremely damaging. Even in really small amounts, trans fats can cause a dramatic and quick increase of bad cholesterol, which is dumped into the liver and increases your risk for liver disease.
Non Organic Foods
The real issue with non organic fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy products is the chemicals put into them. From pesticides and herbicides to antibiotics and hormones, non organic food can fill your body with a bunch of chemicals that are hard for your liver to break down, especially after years and years of exposure.
Sodium is another issue with many processed foods, which usually have extremely high levels of sodium in order to preserve them and make them shelf stable. Over exposure to sodium can cause fluid retention around your liver, which can cause a lot of damage.
But it’s not all bad. While there are foods you should stay away from, there are also a bunch of amazing, healthy foods that are really good for your liver:
7 Foods that are Surprisingly Good For Your Liver
Pumpkin is rich in the antioxidant carotene, which is converted into vitamin A inside your body. While too much vitamin A can be toxic to the liver, the vitamin A derived from beta-carotene is not toxic if consumed in large amounts. Pumpkin is also fat-free and low-calorie, as well as a great source of fiber, vitamins, folate, and potassium.
One of the things that makes kidney beans so great for liver function is that it provides the liver with arginine, which can help detoxify ammonia. Ammonia is a byproduct of your liver metabolizing mean protein.
Not only are beats a delicious, sweet vegetable, but they’re also high in plant-flavonoids. Plant flavonoids can improve the overall functions of your liver.
Greens like spinach and kale can provide you with plant compounds that are great for boosting your immune system and contain nutrients that are critical for liver health, like vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, riboflavin, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, and magnesium.
Avocados are rich in healthy fats, which are great for your body all around, but they also help you produce an antioxidant called glutathione. Glutathione helps your liver filter out and process harmful substances.
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are just a few examples of the cruciferous vegetables that help with liver health. Cruciferous vegetables create glucosinolate, which is an organic compound that helps create enzymes for digestion.
Turmeric is important for liver function because it helps digest fats and aids in the production of bile, which is an important part of our overall health.
What you put into your body matters.
Your entire body is made up of the foods you eat, and when you’re eating foods that are damaging on your liver, you’re going to risk long term damage. Luckily, there are steps you can take to make sure your liver is getting all the support it needs.
First, you can cut down on the foods above that are damaging, and bump up the ones that are good for you.
Second, manage your weight to take care of the other risk factors for fatty liver disease.
Finally, you can take a liver support supplement.
Liver support supplements provide your liver with healthy vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to help it repair more quickly and keep it on top of all the toxins and substances it has to deal with on a daily basis.
The best liver support supplements will help your liver and immune system function, as well as provide antioxidants to boost your liver function even further. Look for supplements with the following potent ingredients:
- Milk Thistle Seed Extract
- Artichoke Leaf Extract
- Dandelion Leaf Extract
- Turmeric Root Extract
- Vitamin B12
FlexNaturals’ Liver Support Supplement is one of the best on the market, using only all-natural ingredients. You can find FlexNaturals Liver Support on Amazon.
You’re in Charge of your Health.
Preventing liver damage, or even reversing the beginning stages of liver damage, is something you can do by changing your lifestyle and taking steps to boost your liver function.