The best and worst foods for liver health
Think avoiding alcohol is the only way to keep your liver healthy? If you did, it wouldn’t be held against you. Alcohol has long been associated with liver disease.
But there are a lot of other things you can do to keep your liver healthy. And there are just as many to take it the other way around.
For example, diet is closely linked to the health of the liver. A diet high in fiber and plant-based foods, for example, is associated with a lower risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). There is even some evidence to suggest that it may protect against alcohol-related liver damage.
But what you eat can also increase the risk of liver damage. Foods high in sugar, saturated and trans fats, and potentially even salt, can lead to liver fat build-up, scarring, and disease.
What you consume each day can have a profound effect on liver function and overall health. Here are some of the best and worst foods for your liver.
Groats: Fiber can help your liver function better, and oatmeal is a great source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Some research suggests that people on a diet high in fiber (especially insoluble) have less fat in their liver, which means a lower risk of liver disease.
Broccoli: While virtually any vegetable promotes better liver function, broccoli could be the best. Some research shows that it may protect against NAFLD, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli may increase the liver’s natural detox enzymes.
Coffee: Studies suggest that consuming two to three coffees per day can protect the liver from excessive alcohol or unhealthy eating. Just make sure you don’t add a lot of sugar, syrups, or other additives to it.
Fried food: Fried foods are not suitable for your liver. A burger and fries are high in saturated (and potentially trans) fats which prevent the liver from functioning effectively. Over time, these elements can lead to inflammation and increase the risk of liver disease.
Sugar: Sugar could be one of the worst foods for your liver. It taxes the organ by forcing it to create excess sugar in fat, which not only means that the liver is working less efficiently, but the risk of fat accumulation in the area increases. Over time, this can lead to NAFLD.
Salt: There is some evidence to suggest that a diet high in salt can adversely affect the liver by contributing to fibrosis. Fibrosis is the first step in healing the liver and can inhibit function. Limit the consumption of processed foods.
Liver health goes far beyond alcohol. Try to eat more plant-based and fresh foods, while limiting the consumption of processed options.