The primary way in which your body expels toxins is via the liver, which detoxifies and cleanses your body by continuously filtering the blood of poisons that enter it through the digestive tract, the skin, and the respiratory system. But when your liver becomes overworked as a result of stress or excessive exposure to toxins, your entire system can be thrown off balance, and your health severely compromised.
Since the liver is also responsible for producing bile, another form of detoxification that is metabolically necessary for the breakdown and assimilation of fats and proteins from your food, it is exceedingly important that your liver be properly maintained. Without a well-functioning liver, your body will be unable to cleanse itself and absorb nutrients, which is a recipe for a health disaster.
"The thousands of enzyme systems that are responsible for virtually every body activity are constructed in the liver," writes Dr. Karl Maret, M.D., about the importance of vibrant liver function. "The proper functioning of the eyes, the heart, the brain, the gonads, the joints, and the kidneys, are all dependent on good liver activity."
"If the liver is impaired from constructing even one of the thousands of enzyme systems the body requires, there is an impairment in overall body function and a resultant greater metabolic stress on the individual."
So here are seven important foods you may want to begin incorporating into your diet in order to maintain a healthy liver.
Garlic contains numerous sulfur-containing compounds that activate the liver enzymes responsible for flushing out toxins from the body. This bulbous relative of the onion also contains allicin and selenium, two powerful nutrients proven to help protect the liver from toxic damage, and aid it in the detoxification process.
Grapefruit is rich in natural vitamin C and antioxidants, two powerful liver cleansers. Like garlic, grapefruit contains compounds that boost the production of liver detoxification enzymes. It also contains a flavonoid compound known as naringenin that causes the liver to burn fat rather than store it.
3. Green Tea
Green tea is loaded with catechins, a type of plant antioxidant that has been shown in studies to eliminate liver fat accumulation and promote proper liver function. This powerful herbal beverage also protects the liver against toxins that would otherwise accumulate and cause serious damage.
4. Green Vegetables
Leafy green vegetables such as bitter gourd, arugula, dandelion greens, spinach, mustard greens, and chicory also contain numerous cleansing compounds that neutralize heavy metals, which can bear heavily on the liver. Leafy greens also eliminate pesticides and herbicides from the body, and spur the creation and flow of cleansing bile.
Rich in glutathione-producing compounds, avocados actively promote liver health by protecting it against toxic overload, and boosting its cleansing power. Some research has shown that eating one or two avocados a week for as little as 30 days can repair a damaged liver.
Walnuts, which contain high levels of l-arginine, an amino acid, glutathione, and omega-3 fatty acids, also help detoxify the liver of disease-causing ammonia. Walnuts also help oxygenate the blood, and extracts from their hulls are often used in liver-cleansing formulas.
Turmeric, one of the most powerful foods for maintaining a healthy liver, has been shown to actively protect the liver against toxic damage, and even regenerate damaged liver cells. Turmeric also boosts the natural production of bile, shrinks engorged hepatic ducts, and improves overall function of the gallbladder, another body-purifying organ.