Liver-Lovin' Foods for Detox

Image: Katie Smith In my last post I got real about the detox fad, and had a look at what you can remove from your diet to give your body's natural detoxing system a little boost.

Today, it's all about the food!

While it's true that cutting out things like alcohol, deep friend foods, and refined sugars will give your liver and kidneys the break they need to do their jobs, it's also a fact that certain foods will boost liver function.

The Huffington Post published a great article back in 2015 about detoxing, and in it they laid it out a pretty comprehensive list of foods that support your liver's natural detoxification stages. Rather than reinventing the wheel, I'm snagging their excellent work!


Liver Detox Phases

Phase One (when the liver breaks down toxins into smaller pieces) is supported by the following nutrients:

  • B-Vitamins (B2, B3, B6, B12, folic acid)
  • Flavonoids, found in fruits and vegetables
  • Foods rich in vitamins A, C and E (eg, carrots, oranges, wheat germ, almonds)
  • Glutathione, found in avocado, watermelon, asparagus, walnuts, fresh fruits and veggies, and the nutrients n-acetylcysteine, cysteine and methionine.
  • Branched chain amino acids, found in animal protein (dairy products - organic and grass fed, of course!, red meat, eggs and whey protein)
  • Phospholipids, found in eggs, lean meats, organ meats, fish and soybeans

Phase Two (when the liver binds these smaller pieces of toxin to other molecules, rendering them harmless and allowing the body to flush them) is supported by THESE nutrients:

  • Indole-3-carbinol, found in cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts
  • Limonene, found in oranges, tangerines, caraway seeds and dill seeds
  • Glutathione, found in avocado, watermelon, asparagus, walnuts, fresh fruits and veggies.
  • Fish oil, found in cold water fish like salmon
  • Amino acids from protein


Foods for a Healthy Liver

Okay, so if you look through the list at the actual foods that contain those nutrients, you'll find:

  • fruits and vegetables
  • avocado, carrots, apples, watermelon, asparagus, walnuts, and almonds
  • garlic, onions, scallions, ginger, turmeric, and rosemary
  • dairy products (organic/grass-fed), lean meats, and eggs
  • cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, beets, swiss chard and collard green
  • cold water fish like salmon

Noticing any patterns? Supporting a healthy liver is exactly the same as supporting your overall health and wellness: it requires a balanced diet with a focus on fruits and vegetables.


The Ultimate Detox System

My suggestion for a liver-supporting detox system? Cut out alcohol, deep fried foods and refined sugar for 2 weeks. During those two weeks, eat lean protein, omega-three rich fish, nuts and seeds, and TONS of veggies, with fresh fruit for dessert.

Want to really up the ante?

Eat like that all year round! Your liver (not to mention your immune system, digestion, energy levels, metabolism, etc.) will love you for it.