The liver helps process digested food in the intestine. It breaks down food into glucose which is stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles. When energy is needed, the liver converts glycogen to glucose and provides a quick source of energy. The liver also helps control fatty acid, amino acids, and glucose levels in the blood. Liver damage can make people lose the ability to control blood glucose.
The liver is also dedicated to cleaning the blood of waste products that are not excreted by the kidneys. Helps detoxify the body of toxins. The liver also has the important role of mobilizing macrophages in the system, which is the body’s defense mechanism and helps to destroy bacteria and other infections, especially those that occur in the intestine.
It produces bile enzymes and various proteins, including those that help in blood clotting, damages tissues and repairs.
The liver is vital for the normal functioning of the body. Liver function can lead to exhaustion, mental problems, depression, lack of sexual desire, jaundice, and infections. Severe damage can lead to liver failure and death.
There are several natural foods and herbs that can help maintain liver health. However, there are certain dietary precautions that must be taken to prevent or avoid liver damage.
What to avoid for liver health
- Avoid alcohol. The link between alcohol and liver cirrhosis has been well documented. The more alcohol you drink and the more frequent you drink, the more likely you are to develop cirrhosis. Cirrhosis refers to damage to cells in the liver. Apart from cirrhosis, people who drink excessively can develop alcoholic hepatitis, which is an inflammation of the liver.
- Take medications with care. Certain over-the-counter medications used for common cold and aches and pains, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and antibiotics and birth control pills can also cause liver damage.
- Avoid exposure to household and industrial chemicals and toxins.
- Avoid excess salt and sugar
What to Eat for Optimal Liver Health
- Your diet should include plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, milk, and protein. Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli contain chemicals that help neutralize some toxins and help the liver to produce enzymes necessary for detoxification. Artichokes are also excellent, as they contain caffeoylquinic acids, which aid in the regeneration of liver cells.
- Bitter, green roots and greens like dandelion, bitter melon, neem, chicory, and endive promote bile flow and detoxification.
- Garlic , onions, and egg yolk contain sulfur that help the liver neutralize various toxins.
- Spirulina, chlorella, wheat grass and barley grass are high in chlorophyll which helps purify the liver
- Herbs like turmeric, neem, punarnava, bitter melon , thistle explodes, licorice (high amounts can cause problems) help in liver purification.
- Organically grown foods are better as they largely cut off pesticides and other toxins that tax the liver.
- Beans, chickpea beans, peas and soybeans contain arginine which helps detoxify ammonia that is produced during protein digestion
- Liv.52 are mixtures of herbs and minerals that are considered the best natural support for the liver. Liv. 52 help to regenerate liver cells and help heal and protect the liver.
Milk Thistle Supports Liver Health
One of the most common uses of milk thistle is to treat liver problems. A 2016 study found that milk thistle improved diet-induced liver damage in mice. More evidence is needed to prove that milk thistle benefits human livers in the same way.
Traditionally milk thistle herbal supplements have been used for liver support, easing digestion and over indulging in alcohol. Silymarin is the main beneficial active compound in milk thistle tablets – it is known to have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties