Diet plays a key role in maintaining liver health. Many foods contain compounds that have been shown to help improve liver enzymes, protect against fat buildup, and decrease inflammation and oxidative stress.
The liver is responsible for body processes from producing proteins, cholesterol, and bile to storing vitamins, minerals, and even carbohydrates.
It also breaks down toxins like alcohol, medications, and natural byproducts of metabolism. Keeping your liver in good shape is important for maintaining health.
This article lists 11 of the best foods to eat to help keep your liver healthy.
Coffee is one of the best beverages you can drink to promote liver health.
Studies have shown that drinking coffee protects the liver from disease, even among those who already have health concerns related to this organ.
Drinking coffee may also help reduce the risk of developing a common type of liver cancer, according to a
The researchers found that it’s even associated with a lower risk of death in people with chronic liver disease. The greatest benefits are seen in people who drink at least 3 cups of coffee daily.
These benefits seem to stem from its ability to prevent the buildup of fat and collagen, the 2016 review suggests. Fat and collagen are two of the main markers of liver disease.
Tea is widely considered to be beneficial for health, but evidence has shown that it may have particular benefits for the liver.
Another study had similar findings, reporting that supplementing with green tea extract for 12 weeks significantly
Nevertheless, some people, especially those with liver problems, should exercise caution and talk with a doctor before consuming green tea as a supplement.
Grapefruit contains antioxidants that naturally protect the liver. The two main antioxidants found in grapefruit are naringenin and naringin.
The protective effects of grapefruit are known to occur in two ways — by reducing inflammation and protecting cells.
According to a
The effects of grapefruit or grapefruit juice itself, rather than its components, have not been studied. Additionally, almost all studies looking at the antioxidants in grapefruit have been conducted in animals, according to the 2023 analysis.
Nevertheless, the current evidence suggests that grapefruit may benefit liver health by helping prevent damage and inflammation.
4. Blueberries and cranberries
What’s more, blueberry extract has been shown to inhibit the growth of human liver cancer cells in test-tube studies. But more studies are needed to determine whether this effect can be replicated in humans.
Making these berries a regular part of your diet is a good way to help make sure your liver is supplied with the antioxidants it needs to stay healthy.
Grapes, especially red and purple grapes, contain various beneficial plant compounds that may benefit liver health.
Benefits may include:
- lowering inflammation
- preventing cell damage
- increasing antioxidant levels
Yet, a 2022 study suggests that eating grape products doesn’t have a significant effect on liver enzymes and may not help improve liver function.
More studies are needed before taking grapeseed extract to promote liver health can be recommended.
6. Prickly pear
Prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) is a popular type of edible cactus. People commonly consume the fruit and its juice.
- digestive issues
- liver disease
A 2016 study found that the extract of this plant might help manage symptoms of a hangover.
Prickly pear might also protect the liver from alcohol toxicity, with its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
More human studies are needed, especially using prickly pear fruit and juice rather than extract. But studies so far have demonstrated that prickly pear positively affects the liver.
7. Beetroot juice
Animal studies have shown that beet juice may help reduce oxidative damage and inflammation of the liver.
However, while animal studies look promising, more studies are needed to confirm the benefits of beetroot juice on human liver health.
8. Cruciferous vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables are known for their high fiber content and distinctive taste. They’re also rich in beneficial plant compounds.
Some examples of cruciferous vegetables include:
Studies suggest that cruciferous vegetables contain certain compounds that alter the detoxification process and protect against harmful compounds.
Though human studies are limited, cruciferous vegetables look promising as a beneficial food for liver health.
These nutrients are responsible for several health benefits.
While more high quality studies are needed, preliminary data points to nuts being an important food group for liver health.
10. Fatty fish
While consuming omega-3-rich fatty fish appears to be beneficial for your liver, adding more omega-3 fats to your diet is not the only thing to consider.
The ratio of omega-3 fats to omega-6 fats is also important.
Most people exceed the intake recommendations for omega-6 fats, which are found in many plant oils and butter.
An omega-6 to omega-3 ratio that’s too high
So, in addition to adding more heart-healthy omega-3 fats to your diet, it may also be a good idea to reduce your intake of omega-6 fats that promote inflammation.
11. Olive oil
According to a
Several other studies have found similar effects of olive oil consumption in humans, including
Fat accumulation in the liver is part of the first stage of liver disease. That’s why olive oil’s positive effects on liver fat, as well as other aspects of health, make it a valuable part of a healthy diet.
Including more nutrient-dense foods in your diet is a simple but effective way to improve the health of your liver.
Additionally, other foods
In addition to making changes to your diet, you can take several other to keep your liver healthy.
A few examples include:
- Reach and maintain a moderate weight: Being overweight or having obesity can increase the risk of NAFLD. Maintaining a moderate weight may help support liver function.
- Stay active: Exercising regularly can help lower triglycerides and reduce liver fat.
- Moderate your alcohol intake: Consuming high amounts of alcohol can negatively affect liver function and cause liver damage. The
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)recommends limiting alcohol intake to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
- Practice good hygiene: Washing your hands after using the bathroom and before eating or preparing food can help prevent certain infections that can damage the liver, including hepatitis.
- Use barrier methods: Having sex without a condom or other barriers can increase the risk of hepatitis B or hepatitis C.
How can I strengthen my liver?
Following a balanced diet, maintaining a moderate weight, and staying active are a few effective ways to help keep your liver healthy. Incorporating nutrient-dense foods into your diet — such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts — may also be beneficial.
What foods are good for liver repair?
Many foods contain specific compounds or antioxidants that have been shown to support liver function. A few examples include grapefruit, blueberries, cranberries, fatty fish, olive oil, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or Brussels sprouts.
What can I drink to flush my liver?
Though it is not possible to “flush” or detoxify the liver, there are many antioxidant-rich beverages that can help support liver health. In particular, some studies in humans and animals suggest that
What foods should I avoid?
Consuming certain foods in excess is
Your liver is an important organ with many essential functions, and it’s recommended that you do what you can to protect it.
The 11 foods listed above have demonstrated beneficial effects on the liver. These benefits include the following:
- a lowered risk of liver disease and cancer
- higher antioxidant and detoxification enzyme levels
- protection against harmful toxins
Incorporating these foods into your diet is a natural and healthy way to help keep your liver functioning at its best.