Frequently I find myself wondering what specific benefits each of those beautiful fruits veggies have for my internal and external body. I love finding articles like this that target a specific organ or region and give the breakdown of what you can consume to really give that organ an extra boost. Frankly, any organ named LIVEr probably needs to be in the best shape possible. Try stocking your kitchen with some of these goodies and love your liver purely this next week!
Article sourced from: skinnylimits.com
Raw Foods that Improve Liver Function
The liver’s most important functions are cleansing toxins from the body and manufacturing chemical compounds that the body needs to function. Some of the following foods assist the liver in doing both of these important jobs:
Artichokes contain the potent antioxidant caffeoylquinic acid, which has been used to treat dyspeptic and hepatic liver disorders because it stimulates bile flow.
Beets contain plant pigments called betalains. Not only do betalains possess anti-inflammatory and fungicidal attributes, they also support, repair and regenerate tissues, especially in the liver.
Avocados contain “good fat”, in the form of monounsaturated fatty acids, as well as glutathione, which has been called “the mother of all antioxidants, the master detoxifier and maestro of the immune system,” by Dr. Mark Hyman. Glutathione, which is a a compound that contains three amino acids – glutamate, cysteine and glycine, has the ability to prevent the intestines from absorbing fats that cause oxidative damage and it’s also essential for liver pathway cleansing. Other excellent sources of glutathione include broccoli, asparagus, potatoes, peppers, carrots, onion, squash, spinach, garlic, tomatoes, grapefruit, apples, oranges, peaches bananas and melon.
Collard Greens are known to improve bile acid binding, which makes it easier for bile to bind to large lipid molecules and pull them apart. Remaining bile acids are then expelled from the gastrointestinal tract normally, taking the remaining lipids with them. In this way, bile acid binding helps keep “bad” cholesterol under control. This is one way in which the liver helps to keep LDL cholesterol and triglycerides at healthy levels.
Lemons or, more specifically, lemon juice has long been hailed as a great cleansing agent for the liver. And it’s partially true, but not necessarily for the reasons some have claimed. Lemon juice contains high amounts of citric acid, which stimulates the production of digestive juices (saliva, gastric juice, pancreatic juice, intestinal juice and bile) to assist the break down of food as it makes its way through the digestive system. And when your digestive system is able to break down food more efficiently your liver’s workload is decreased. Also, since lemon is a natural antiseptic, it helps to control harmful organisms such as bacteria, in the body.
Fiber-rich foods like apples, pears and even leafy green like collards and kale also benefit liver health. The liver is responsible for clearing all fat-soluble waste from the bloodstream as well as moving bile from the liver, through the intestines and back again, clearing all other wastes from the body and promoting internal cleansing. But if one does not consume sufficient amounts of soluble fiber this cannot happen, because instead of the used bile being excreted from the body and then replaced with fresh bile (produced by the liver), it will be repeatedly recirculated throughout the system. In the process, it becomes more and more concentrated with toxins and waste, which can lead to all sorts of inflammatory diseases and even skin conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis.
Also, according to a study conducted by the Department of Surgery, National Taiwan University Hospital and National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, “A high-fiber diet can reverse the negative effects of fatty liver on apoptosis and regenerative capacity after [a partial surgical resection of the liver].” Apoptosis occurs when a cell becoming compromised/hazardous to an organism’s survival and the cell’s suicide mechanism kicks in to protect the organism. The discovery that a high-fiber diet can benefit the liver in this way is truly remarkable, and an even better reason to eat a raw whole food diet, which, overall, is naturally high in fiber.
Protein-rich foods like leafy greens, nuts and seeds, peas, broccoli, chickpea sprouts, artichokes and potatoes are needed by the liver for the production of albumin. You will find a more complete list of protein-rich raw whole foods here [link to “Building and Maintaining Muscle On a Raw Food Diet”]. Albumin is a compound that is needed to help prevent blood clots and it is vital to immunity as well. According to Dr. Kenneth Seaton, “Medical doctors know about albumin, and often measure the amounts found in the blood with a simple blood test. Standard blood work-ups include albumin, depicting anything between 3.0 and 5.2 as ‘normal.’ Albumin has not been a focus of traditional medicine despite the fact that albumin levels are the single most important indicator of health status. If the level of albumin in your blood drops, your risk of contracting a serious possibly deadly-disease shoots way up.” In humans, albumin makes up 55-60% of the measured serum protein in blood, but without proper diet the liver cannot produce albumin in quantities necessary for maintaining good health. So, it’s very important to eat plenty of protein-rich whole foods to help insure that your liver is able to produce adequate amounts of albumin.
The liver is responsible for manufacturing hundreds of important compounds that the body needs, not just bile and albumin; but those two have an immediate importance to one’s health and survival. By eating a high nutrient diet, we can insure that the liver functions at optimal levels and that the most important compounds it produces are produced in sufficient quantities. The liver’s other important functions include cleansing the body of toxins – like alcohol and bacteria, as well as storing important substances for your body to use later, like sugar and vitamins. The liver has many more functions, but these are the most significant, so you can see why protecting the health of this organ is so very important to one’s survival.
One of the great advantages of a raw whole food diet, provided you eat a wide range of foods throughout the year, from season to season, is that you will always get what the body needs to function at its best. If you are not already eating the foods that help the liver function at optimal levels, particularly artichokes and beets, you should definitely add them to your shopping list. We only get one liver and we should do whatever is necessary to protect its health.