5 Detox Foods for Liver Health
Cleanse the Liver for Greater Energy
By Madalina Hubert
The liver is one of the five vital organs of the body, responsible for regulating chemical levels in the blood and detoxifying the body.
Choosing foods for liver health is important year-round, but it’s especially important in spring when the need for detoxification is greater.
Why Care About Liver Health?
Like spring cleaning your home, it’s important to rid your body of harmful toxins that may be draining your energy.
The organ that relates to spring is the liver according to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It acts as a filter for everything we put into our bodies. This includes food, beverages, alcohol and medications.
The liver is also responsible for the smooth movement of qi energy throughout the body. When the liver functions smoothly, physical and emotional activity throughout the body also runs smoothly. Poor liver health can disrupt this flow which then shows up in a variety of ailments.
When the liver is healthy, it can help you properly manage your weight, hormone levels and cholesterol. The easiest way to detox and keep the liver healthy is through the foods you eat.
5 Detox Foods for Liver Health
You can start taking care of your liver by choosing the right foods to cleanse it. Here are 5 foods for liver health.
1. Leafy Greens
Green is the colour of spring, and leafy greens are important foods that detoxify our bodies. Examples include asparagus, collard greens, kale, and spinach. These vegetables help cleanse the liver and lower cholesterol levels because of their antioxidant properties. At the same time, leafy greens contain vitamins, fibre, and minerals that strengthen the body.
How to enjoy leafy greens: Lightly steam your greens to provide warmth and energy to the body.
They are great for liver health, especially because they contain betalains, nutrients that work to repair and regenerate liver cells. Beets are both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. They work with the body’s digestive process to neutralize toxins and expel them through urination. They also help regulate blood pressure.
How to enjoy beets: Enjoy raw grated beets in salads, or cooked as a side dish. It’s a good idea to cook beets minimally (under 15 minutes), so they keep their key nutrients.
3. Pungent Foods
Pungent vegetables, such as garlic, onions, and ginger, have many properties that detoxify the body of harmful bacteria. They also stimulate digestion, increase blood circulation, and add warmth to the body. The anti-inflammatory qualities of these foods also support a healthy body.
How to enjoy pungent foods: Garlic and onions are a tasty addition to dishes, while ginger is particularly tasty in tea, porridges, and soups.
These plants are abundant in spring, and while many people see them as weeds, they are surprisingly good foods for detoxifying the body and liver. One of their properties is to increase the production of bile in the liver, which supports the cleansing process. They also help regulate bowel movements through their diuretic qualities.
How to enjoy dandelions: There are many ways to enjoy dandelions, including in teas, salads, and sandwiches.
Here are some dandelion recipe ideas.
The root of this plant has anti-inflammatory properties, and it works especially well to cleanse the liver, thanks to the compound curcumin. Turmeric also improves blood flow, supports the heart, and boosts brainpower.
How to enjoy turmeric: Turmeric is used in many Indian and Middle Eastern dishes to colour and flavour the food. You can add a pinch to soups, meat or vegetarian dishes, or brew it as a tea (or as part of a drink). Turmeric latte is a popular drink featuring turmeric. Combine milk, turmeric, black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and honey for an energizing tonic that cleanses the liver.
Here is a recipe for a turmeric latte.
More Foods for Liver Health
Other foods that are beneficial for liver health include:
- Nuts (including almonds, walnuts)
- Whole grains
- Lean proteins
- Citrus fruits (oranges, lemon, kiwi, grapefruit)
- Herbs (cilantro, mint)
These all have a positive effect on maintaining a healthy liver and digestive system.
In addition to foods, drinks also play an important role in cleansing the liver.
Drink water regularly to keep the body hydrated and eliminate toxins. Green tea and matcha tea also have helpful antioxidant properties. It is also a good idea to limit the intake of alcohol to avoid placing a burden on the liver.
For more tips on increasing spring energy (including insights from traditional Chinese medicine), see “5 Tips to Choose Healthy Energy Foods for Spring“.
Madalina Hubert is a Toronto-based writer specializing in art, culture, travel, and culinary explorations.