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Liver Health Eats: The Almighty Avocado

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Find out why the avocado is an ideal component of a liver-friendly diet.

Choosing to eat an avocado is an ideal choice for people with liver health concerns. Although the soft, yellow-green, creamy flesh of an avocado is loaded with different kinds of health benefits, its healthful fats, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties make this fruit a superstar for anyone working towards defending a compromised liver.

Whether contending with fatty liver disease, viral hepatitis or a liver that has persevered after exposure to alcohol, drugs or other toxins, those with liver concerns can improve their health by choosing foods wisely. Foods containing lots of saturated fat, processed sugar or chemicals could lead to or cause harm to liver cells – and thus have the potential to exacerbate the liver’s condition. On the other hand, foods high in fiber, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients can protect liver cells from harm. Densely packed with nutrients that support liver cells, avocados land squarely in the category of “foods favorable to the liver.”

About the Avocado

Because of its prominence in many savory dishes, some people consider avocados to be a vegetable. However, due to its growth on a tree and reproductive components residing in its seed, the avocado is technically a fruit. Avocados provide nearly 20 essential vitamins and minerals and act as a nutrient booster by enabling the body to absorb fat-soluble nutrients. A few of the many body systems that avocado benefits include:

  1. Helps Cardiovascular System – Because avocados are high in monounsaturated fats and potassium, avocados may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
  2. Great for the Eyes – Avocado contains both lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that protect the eyes from age-related problems.
  3. Immune System Support – Since it contains Vitamin B6 (helps the immune system produce antibodies) and Vitamin C (helps the growth and repair of tissues), avocados help keep the immune system in top shape.
  4. Liver Health Maintenance – Due to avocado’s nutrients that assist in detoxification and battle inflammation, this fruit can help ward off liver injury.

More on Avocados Benefit to the Liver

The avocado is a virtual liver super-food for several reasons:

  • Valuable to those with a fatty liver, avocado’s “healthy” fats can improve someone’s cholesterol profile by lowering low-density-lipoproteins (also known as LDLs or bad cholesterol) and raising high-density-lipoproteins (also known as HDLs or good cholesterol).
  • Avocados can help the body produce a type of antioxidant called glutathione. Glutathione is needed by the liver to filter out harmful substances and protect liver cells from damage. Likely due to experiencing repeated injury, those with chronic liver disease are often found to be low in glutathione. Avocados are the leading food source of this master antioxidant.
  • In addition to glutathione, avocados are rich sources of Vitamin C and Vitamin E, antioxidants that neutralize free radicals. Neutralizing or deactivating harmful free radicals in the liver is instrumental in protecting liver cells from damage.
  • Often cited as a staple in an anti-inflammatory diet, avocados contain both Vitamin E and Vitamin K, two nutrients that are known to quell cellular inflammation. Because liver cell inflammation precedes cellular injury, anti-inflammatory intervention is a trusted approach towards liver health support.

People eating a diet that is beneficial for liver health often find their food to be dry, a consequence of cutting out moist and potentially inflammatory fats (like red meat, butter, sour cream and mayonnaise). Whether eaten smashed, cubed, whipped or sliced, the almighty avocado offers a culinary contrast to brittle, crunchy, dry health foods with its creamy texture. For those with liver concerns, avocado’s healthful creaminess is just one small reason to include it in their diet – second to the liver cell benefits gained from this amazing fruit’s favorable fat profile, potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.


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http://blissfulwriter.hubpages.com/hub/Avocados-Health-Benefits, Avocados Health Benefits, Retrieved September 16, 2012, HubPages Inc., 2012.

http://www.avocado.org/nutrition/, California Avocado Nutritional Benefits, Retrieved September 16, 2012, California Avocado Commission, 2012.

http://www.ehow.com/list_6098512_foods-highest-glutathione_.html, What Foods are the Highest in Glutathione?, Marie Modetti, Retrieved September 16, 2012, Demand Media, Inc., 2012.

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/09/13/foods-for-liver_n_1880715.html?ir=Canada+Living#slide=1518570, Foods for Liver: 10 Foods for a Healthy and Clean Liver, Arti Patel, Retrieved September 16, 2012, TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc., 2012.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/553217-avocado-the-liver/, Avocado & The Liver, Suzanne Allen, Retrieved September 16, 2012, Demand Media, Inc., 2012.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11368579, Liver injury suppressing compounds from avocado (Persea americana), Kawagishi H, et al, Retrieved September 16, 2012, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, May 2001.

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About the Author

Nicole Cutler, L.Ac., MTCM, Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)®

Nicole Cutler, L.Ac., MTCM is a long time advocate of integrating perspectives on health. With a Bachelor's degree in Neuroscience from the University of Rochester and a Master's degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Five Branches Institute, Nicole has been a licensed acupuncturist since 2000. She has gathered acupuncture licenses in the states of California and New York, is a certified specialist with the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association, has earned diplomat status with the National Commission of Chinese and Oriental Medicine in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology and is a member of the Society for Integrative Oncology. In addition to her acupuncture practice that focuses on stress and pain relief, digestion, immunity and oncology, Nicole contributes to the integration of healthcare by writing articles for professional massage therapists and people living with liver disease.

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