Now is the perfect time to spring clean your liver after winter with a healthy detox! Discover foods to cleanse and repair your liver.
Now that the major holidays have passed for another year, many of us are looking forward and deciding the steps we need to take to get our bodies ready for summer. While this plan likely includes a healthy diet and exercise, starting with an after-winter detox can be a good first move for you and your liver.
Post-Winter Detoxification Benefits
Holiday foods are often high in fat and calories. This makes it easy to pack on a few pounds during the last few months of the year. A small gain might not change your health too much, but if you gained a good deal of weight over the holidays, this not only increases your risk of disease but it can also increase the amount of body pains you have, reduces physical function, and lowers your quality of life. (1)
If your favorite holiday dishes are heavily processed—meaning that the foods are no longer in their natural form as they have been altered or processed in some way, generally to help them last longer or taste more flavorful—this exposes your body to more toxins, which can have negative effects as well. In addition to being lower in nutritional value, highly processed foods can become addicting while increasing your cancer risk. (2)
Research indicates that following a detoxification diet helps not only reduce toxicity levels but also aids in weight loss. (3) It works, in part, by helping the liver and kidneys remove toxins from the body. Liver detox foods are also lower in fat and calories, which helps reverse holiday weight gain.
Foods that Cleanse Your Liver
Foods that cleanse the liver include:
- fatty fish
- and olive oil.
Vegetables good for the liver are those that fall into the cruciferous category (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts), along with leafy greens.
Foods that cleanse the liver and kidneys are:
- cruciferous vegetables
- and coffee.
Several fruits aid in this process too, with:
- and cranberries being a few of the most notable.
What Foods Are Good for Liver Repair?
If you really enjoyed your food and drink over the holidays, you may be wondering, “How can I improve my liver health fast?” The answer to this question may depend on your current health status.
According to one piece of research, vitamin C is helpful for people with viral hepatitis and cirrhosis while vitamin E may be more beneficial for people with hepatitis B and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). (4)
- Foods high in vitamin C include bell peppers, strawberries, oranges, broccoli, kale, and tomatoes.
- Foods with a good amount of vitamin E are sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, pumpkin, and wheat germ oil.
Safe Liver Detox
When your goal is fast results, it can be easy to get carried away with a detox, potentially doing more harm than good.
Detoxifying the body involves giving the body foods that promote liver and kidney function while also cutting down on items that may contribute to higher levels of toxins. In other words, choose foods in their most natural form. The more processed a food is, the more preservatives, additives, and unnatural substances it likely contains.
At the same time, be sure to give your body the nutrition it needs to function effectively. If you follow a full detox diet for too long, you may not get all of the many vitamins and minerals that support healthy bodily function.
How to Improve Liver Function Naturally
There are a few additional things you can do to naturally improve liver function beyond eating detoxifying foods. Reducing or eliminating alcohol is one option. Getting regular exercise is another, with research finding that both cardio and strength training exercise helps improve liver function. (5)
Taking a liver supplement may also help. Take a look at some of the top liver detox supplements aimed at protecting and supporting liver health. This enables you to choose the one that best aligns with your health and goals.
(1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, September 17). The Health Effects of Overweight & Obesity. Retrieved February 14, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/effects/index.html
(2) Laborers’ Health & Safety Fund of North America. (2019, April). The Many Health Risks of Processed Foods. Retrieved February 14, 2022, from https://www.lhsfna.org/the-many-health-risks-of-processed-foods/
(3) Morrison, J., Iannucci, A. (2012, April/May). Symptom Relief and Weight Loss from Adherence to a Meal Replacement-Enhanced, Low-Calorie Detoxification Diet. Integrative Medicine. Retrieved February 14, 2022, from http://todayspractitioner.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/weight-loss-meal-replace-IMCJ_11-2_Morrison.pdf
(4) Guan, Y., He, Q. (2015). Plants Consumption and Liver Health. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. doi:10.1155/2015/824185
(5) Skrypnik, D., Ratajczak, M., Karolkiewicz, J., et al. (2016, May). Effects of Endurance and Endurance-Strength Exercise on Biochemical Parameters of Liver Function in Women with Abdominal Obesity. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy. doi:10.1016/j.biopha.2016.02.017