Some foods may help improve your liver function and reduce damage caused by liver disease. These foods may include avocados, fish, and olive oil, among others.
The liver is your body’s largest solid organ. It functions like a filter system, helping your body get rid of toxins while also harvesting nutrients from the foods you eat.
However, if you have a condition such as cirrhosis or hepatitis C, your liver may not be able to properly filter nutrients and waste as it should.
Fortunately, some foods may help boost your liver function.
Avocados are staples in many cuisines and may help improve liver health.
Similarly, the authors of a
That said, more research is needed to support the benefits of eating avocados for people with NAFLD.
Coffee is sometimes considered the magic bean for liver disease.
Drinking coffee may also
The key to such benefits is to drink coffee daily with no added sugar, sweeteners, or artificial creamers. Some alternatives may include dairy milk, almond milk, or cocoa powder.
In the 2021 study above, drinking more than 3 or 4 cups of coffee daily seemed to provide slightly less liver protection.
Oily types of fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel may provide underlying benefits to your liver health.
- 44% lower risk of all liver cancers
- 52% lower risk of hepatocellular carcinoma
- 40% lower risk of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma
Oily fish are also high in omega-3 fatty acids.
According to a
- reducing inflammation
- enhancing insulin sensitivity
- lowering levels of triglycerides
- lowering liver fat
- optimizing HDL (good) cholesterol and liver enzymes
Omega-3 fatty acids are also good for heart and brain health.
Olive oil has been found to improve heart health when consumed over a long period of time.
Due to the monounsaturated fatty acids in EVOO, it may also help protect your liver from damage by decreasing:
- oxidative stress
- endoplasmic reticulum stress
- mitochondrial dysfunction
- insulin resistance
Olive oil is high in calories, so you may want to use it in moderation. You can try:
- sprinkling olive oil on salads instead of fatty dressings
- sautéing vegetables with it
- roasting root vegetables in the oven with a drizzle of the oil
Nuts are nutrient-dense snacks that are also high in healthy fats.
The authors note that nuts may also help reduce inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance, which can be beneficial for the liver.
- a higher antioxidant and fatty acid content
- the most omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids
- the most polyphenol antioxidants
To get these potential benefits, try sprinkling walnuts on top of salads, oatmeal, or plain yogurt.
Complex carbohydrates are metabolized slower than refined carbs and typically prevent wide fluctuations in blood sugar.
Complex or unrefined carbs have essential nutrients, such as zinc, B vitamins, and higher fiber levels, which are all important for a healthy liver and metabolism.
A whole food diet high in protein, fiber, and unsaturated fats may be beneficial for people with NALFD. Some whole-grain carbs include:
- wild rice
- whole wheat bread and pasta
- brown rice
- whole oats
Certain liver conditions may require a more specialized diet. In some cases, people with advanced liver disease may not be able to absorb the fats they eat and may have to limit oils and fatty fish.
Typically, healthcare professionals recommend that people with hemochromatosis, a condition in which there is too much iron in the body, avoid consuming iron. Those with hepatitis C may also need to limit their intake of iron and salt.
Speak with a healthcare professional if you lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time despite eating liver-friendly foods. This could mean that your liver isn’t processing nutrients effectively.
A healthcare professional may also help you develop a diet plan that’s right for you. If you have fatty liver disease, they may recommend losing weight or avoiding alcohol if you have liver damage related to alcohol use.