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Top 7 Springtime Veggies & Their Liver Health Benefits
Do you like to eat any of these 7 springtime veggies that have been found to promote good liver health?
When you eat springtime veggies this season, their taste is often much more flavorful. They also typically have a higher nutrient content because they haven’t been processed or otherwise manipulated in an attempt to increase their shelf-life.
The question is: are you getting your recommended 2.5 cups of vegetables per day as suggested by the USDA’s 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans? (1)
Whether you are looking to increase your veggie intake or you simply want the tastiest and most nutrient-rich vegetables possible, here are a few of the options that, in addition to being the freshest during the spring, have also been found to promote good liver health.
1. Artichoke – A Great Springtime Veggie for Liver Health!
A 2018 study noted that, while artichoke leaf extract is known to help protect the liver, it was somewhat unclear as to whether this vegetable could be beneficial for those already diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease—the leading cause of chronic liver disease. After studying 90 patients, researchers concluded that it did offer therapeutic effects. Specifically, they found that those who received artichoke leaf extract had better blood flow through their hepatic vein and reduced liver size. Their cholesterol and triglyceride levels were lower as well. (2)
If you like asparagus, adding this springtime veggie can be just as good for your liver as it is for your taste buds. How? The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reports that asparagus has four different compounds that may help to reduce the activation of cells known to play a role in the development of excessive amounts of scar tissue in the liver (called fibrosis), which ultimately damages this organ. (3)
3. Baby Carrots
Baby carrots are essentially carrots that have been harvested before being able to grow to their full, more mature length. This vegetable has traditionally been connected with better eyesight thanks to its high beta carotene content, which the body converts to vitamin A. Researchers add that beta carotene might also reduce the inflammation and stress on the liver that occurs with alcoholic liver disease and, potentially, even other non-alcoholic liver conditions. (4)
Springtime Veggie #4: Dandelion Greens
Dandelions are often a sign that spring has arrived. While many people consider them a problem, working feverishly to eliminate them so their yards aren’t full of yellow “weeds,” research shares that dandelion greens are one of the vegetables that work to stimulate the liver’s natural ability to rid the body of toxins. (5) So, if you want to rid your yard of them, instead of throwing them out with the other grass clippings, you may want to bring them into your kitchen. And if it is detoxification that you’re after, Natural Wellness’s Liver Support & Detox can assist with the toxin removal process.
5. Morel Mushrooms
Searching for morels is a springtime custom in many eastern states, both in the south and the north. You can eat them fresh, fry them up, or add a few to your favorite sauces and stews. No matter which option you prefer, this vegetable promotes better liver health by helping to protect this vital organ. One study explains that it does this by decreasing certain enzymes and also by restoring depleted levels of liver antioxidants. (6)
Fennel tastes a bit like licorice but looks like a cross between celery (due to its stalks) and an onion (because it has a bulb). Incorporating this springtime vegetable into your diet can help protect the liver while also acting as an antiviral, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory agent. (7) That makes it beneficial for your entire body, from your head to your toes. And if your goal is to better protect your liver, Natural Wellness’s UltraThistle is another option to consider.
7. Rhubarb – Our 7th Top Springtime Veggie for Liver Health
Oftentimes, rhubarb is put in sweet dishes to provide a hint of tartness. Pies, jams, and rhubarb seltzers all make their appearance in the months leading up to summer. Studies have found that, in addition to giving the taste buds a bit of a flavor punch, rhubarb extract helps to reduce inflammation and stress on the liver, in part by improving the gut biome. (8)
How to Incorporate More Springtime Veggies into Your Diet
Many of these springtime veggies can be eaten raw (carrots, dandelion greens, and morels, for instance) whereas others are best when added to meal and dessert recipes (fennel and rhubarb, being two).
You may even want to try a fun variation of asparagus, with a Springtime Asparagus Soup!
A quick online search for each one can supply unlimited ways to add it to your diet.
Try a few of these spring vegetable options to see which ones you like most. Play around with a few different recipes as well since each preparation method can alter the taste or texture of the veggie, providing a whole new eating experience.
Aiming to meet the USDA’s 2.5 cups of vegetables daily can help your health and wellness overall. Adding veggies such as these may help improve the health of your liver, specifically. That makes them great additions to your meals and snacks.
(1) USDA. (2020, December). Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025. Retrieved May 03, 2020, from https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans_2020-2025.pdf
(2) Panahi, Y., Kianpour, P., Mohtashami, R., Atkin, S., Butler, A., Jafari, R.,…Sahebkar, A. (2018, March 09). Efficacy of artichoke leaf extract in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a pilot double-blind randomized controlled trial. Phytotherapy Research. doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.6073
(3) Zhong, C., Jiang, C., Xia, X., Mu, T., Wei, L., Lou, Y.,…Bi, X. (2015, June 19). Antihepatic Fibrosis Effect of Active Components Isolated from Green Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis L.) Involves the Inactivation of Hepatic Stellate Cells. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. doi:https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jafc.5b01490
(4) Hammerich, L., Tacke, F. (2013, October). Eat more carrots? Dampening cell death in ethanol-induced liver fibrosis by B-carotene. Hepatobiliary Surgery and Nutrition. doi:10.3978/j.issn.2304-3881.2013.10.03
(5) Thilagavathi, T., Pandiyan, M., Sasmitha, R., Yuvaraj, M., Suganyadevi, M., Sivaji, M. (2020, May). Foods That Cleanses The Liver. Biotica Research Today. https://www.bioticainternational.com/ojs/index.php/biorestoday/article/view/168
(6) Nitha, B., Fijesh, P.V., Janardhanan, K.K. (2013, January). Hepatoprotective activity of cultured mycelium of Morel mushroom, Morchella esculenta. Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.etp.2011.06.007
(7) Syed, F., Mirza, M., Elkady, A., Hakeem, K., Alkarim, S. (2019, February 12). An Insight of Multitudinous and Inveterate Pharmacological Applications of Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel). Plant and Human Health. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-04408-4_11
(8) Neyrinck, A., Etxeberria, U., Taminiau, B., Daube, G., Van Hul, M., Everard, A.,…Delzenne, N. (2016, March 18). Rhubarb extract prevents hepatic inflammation induced by acute alcohol intake, an effect related to the modulation of the gut microbiota. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/mnfr.201500899