6 foods to eat for liver health

The liver is an incredible multitasker. You can think of this vital organ as a filtering system. It helps your body get rid of toxins while harvesting nutrients from the foods you eat.

When it comes to liver health, not all foods are created equal. This is especially true if you have a condition like cirrhosis or hepatitis C, which can prevent your liver from filtering nutrients and waste products as it should.

Eating liver-friendly foods like the ones below can help reduce the damage caused by liver disease. Remember that before making any major changes to your diet, consult your doctor or a dietitian.

Avocados are staples in many cuisines. They are technically part of the berry family and offer many health benefits, including better liver health.

2015 research examined the role of certain foods in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Researchers report that avocado may help lower blood lipids or fats and help prevent liver damage.

More research is needed to know for sure if people with NAFLD can benefit from consuming avocado.

What is known is that people who eat avocados are more likely to have lower body mass index (BMI) and lower waist circumference. According to a 2013 studythey may also have higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.

Some of these effects are thought to be related to the high fiber, healthy fat, and water content of avocados. A 2014 study in rats suggests that avocado oil may help the liver heal from damage. And eating fiber-rich foods is a good way to support liver health.

Your daily cup of coffee may play an even more critical role in your health than you might realize.

When it comes to the health of your liver, some studies suggest that coffee reduces the risk of cirrhosis, cancer, and fibrosis in the liver. Regular, moderate amounts can even help slow the progression of current liver disease.

Research from 2021 indicates that drinking coffee could reduce your risk of developing liver disease or fatty liver disease by about 20%.

In the same study, coffee consumption reduced the risk of death from liver disease by 49%. All types of coffee – decaffeinated, instant and ground – had similar effects.

The key to these benefits is drinking coffee every day. For your overall health, it’s best to avoid adding artificial sugars and creams. Instead, try swapping dairy milk, unsweetened soy milk, almond milk, cinnamon, or cocoa powder.

Because coffee generally contains caffeine, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends a maximum of four to five 8-ounce (237 ml) cups per day, although the safe amount may vary from person to person.

In the 2021 study above, drinking more than 3 or 4 cups of coffee per day seemed to offer slightly less protection to the liver.

Fish may also provide underlying health benefits to your liver, especially fatty types of fish.

Fatty fish like salmon may help reduce inflammation and fat buildup in the liver while promoting a lower overall BMI, according to 2015 research. Fatty fish are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for heart and brain health.

The authors of this review found that fatty fish were beneficial for lowering blood lipids when eaten two or more times per week. If you can’t eat fish, fish oil supplements may be an option to discuss with your doctor or dietitian.

A study 2021 found that a diet high in fatty fish can reduce the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer. People who ate oily fish at least twice a week had a 54% lower risk of liver cancer.

People who used fish oil supplements also seemed to reduce their risk of liver cancer by 40 to 52 percent, depending on the type of cancer.

When consumed over a long period of time, olive oil has been found to improve heart health. A large 2020 study suggests that eating more than half a tablespoon of olive oil each day could reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by 14%.

A number of small studies suggest that olive oil may help reduce liver enzymes and liver fat that contribute to disease. Olive oil can also increase the amount of HDL (good) cholesterol in the blood, which could have beneficial effects on your liver.

Olive oil is high in calories, so you can use it in moderation. You can sprinkle olive oil on salads instead of oily dressings, sauté vegetables in them, or roast root vegetables in the oven with a drizzle of oil. If you’re trying to reduce your calorie intake, olive oil can also make your meals larger so you eat fewer calories.

Nuts, when eaten in small amounts, are nutrient-dense snacks that are also high in healthy fats. In addition to boosting cardiovascular health, walnuts may also help reduce the incidence of liver disease.

Of all the types of nuts, walnuts are among the the most advantageous to reduce hepatic steatosis. This is due to their higher content of antioxidants and fatty acids. Walnuts contain the most omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as antioxidant polyphenols.

In a study 2021, participants received 28 grams (1 ounce) of nuts each day as part of a Mediterranean diet. People who ate nuts at least 5 or 6 times a week had significantly more hepatic (intrahepatic) fat loss than those who ate nuts less often. This fat loss was associated with overall anti-inflammatory and metabolic health benefits.

To get these potential benefits, try sprinkling nuts on salads, oatmeal, or yogurt.

Although your entire diet shouldn’t consist of carbs, you should eat a balance of carbs, protein, and healthy fats.

Complex carbohydrates are better than simple carbohydrates because they are metabolized more slowly and prevent large fluctuations in blood sugar. This is why it is better for people with NAFLD to choose complex carbohydrates rather than simple carbohydrates, because the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) advise.

Unrefined carbs also contain essential nutrients like zinc, B vitamins and higher fiber levels, all of which are important for a healthy liver and metabolism. The key is to select whole-grain carbs, such as:

  • wild rice
  • whole wheat bread and pasta
  • Brown rice
  • whole oats
  • rye
  • but
  • bulgur

As a general rule, whole foods are best for your liver and the rest of your body. When it comes to adding foods to your diet, your doctor or a registered dietitian is your best resource for knowing the best foods for you.

Some 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 need to limit oils and fatty fish.

Generally, people with hemochromatosis are recommended to avoid consuming iron, while those with hepatitis C may need to limit their iron and salt intake. Your doctor or dietitian can tell you more about which foods to eat and which to avoid.

Contact your doctor if you lose a lot of weight in a short time despite eating liver-friendly foods. It could mean that your liver is not processing nutrients efficiently. You may be referred to a dietician who will advise you on any changes you may need to make to your diet.

In addition to consuming liver-friendly foods, your doctor may recommend that you lose weight if you have fatty liver disease or abstain from drinking alcohol if you have alcohol-related liver damage. .

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