The liver is also responsible for:
- conjugating and eliminating hormones
- eliminating metabolic waste and toxins
For the liver to function optimally and perform its 1500 functions, it needs nutrients.
The best foods to cleanse your liver are antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables that are brimming with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Symptoms of a congested liver
So many signs and symptoms can be related to the liver struggling, such as:
- abdominal bloating
- abdominal fat
- weight gain
- intolerance to fatty foods
- reflux and heartburn
- body odor
- bad breath
- coated tongue
- gallbladder problems
- constipation or sluggish bowel movements
If you have symptoms of a congested liver, you will want to eat foods that help to cleanse the liver.
The liver is a precious organ that needs some serious nutritional support! The liver is so often overwhelmed with too many jobs to do and not enough nutrients and energy to do so. The first step is to stop eating foods that further burden the liver.
The worst foods for the liver are:
- refined carbohydrates and sugar
- highly processed fats such as refined vegetable oils and hydrogenated fats
- processed foods
- food preservatives and chemicals found in processed foods
By ditching these foods, your liver will be thanking you! Eating junk food and alcohol will burden the liver and inhibit its ability to keep you healthy.
A healthy liver is crucial for a healthy body, optimal digestion, optimal weight, and energy levels.
Thankfully the liver has amazing regenerative properties, the ability to multitask, and six elimination pathways in the phase 2 detox. But the liver needs nutrients for these detoxification pathways to function optimally.
Foods to cleanse the liver
The livers detoxification pathways need nutrients. The best foods to cleanse the liver are in real whole foods. Pigmented fruits and vegetables are some of the best foods to eat to cleanse the liver.
These lighter, hydrating foods are brimming with nutrients and antioxidants to help the liver detoxify. Think of eating the rainbow to get a diverse variety of liver cleansing phytonutrients.
Anthocyanins are a potent antioxidant that gives fruits and vegetables their purple hue. Blueberries and blackberries are extremely high antioxidant-rich fruits to reduce inflammation, prevent fatty liver, and promote weight loss.
Sulfur-containing foods help to cleanse the liver by supporting the sulfation detox pathway in the liver. The sulfation detox pathway is for the elimination of:
- food additives
- toxins from intestinal and the environment
- elimination of steroid and thyroid hormones
- elimination of neurotransmitters
The sulfation detox pathway can detox a wide variety of substances, but it can only handle so much at a time. This pathway is responsible for eliminating the sulfite food additive.
If you struggle with sulfite sensitivity, the sulfation pathway could use some extra support by eating foods to help cleanse the liver. Molybdenum is the co-factor for the sulfite oxidase enzyme needed to break down sulfites. If you are sensitive to sulfites in wine, molybdenum can help.
Vegetables high in sulfur to cleanse the liver include:
- Brussel sprouts
- bok choy
Greens are phenomenal foods to cleanse the liver, such as:
- barley leaf
- dark leafy greens of all variety
These liver cleansing greens are rich in chlorophyll, which is a potent antioxidant to reduce inflammation and support detoxification. Leafy greens are also an excellent source of magnesium and folate. These nutrients support the methylation detox pathway.
Drinking a greens drink is one of the best ways to ensure your intake of liver cleansing greens. Mix a scoop of greens powder into a morning smoothie or glass of water with a squeeze of lemon. Your liver will be loving you if you start your morning this way.
Eating pigmented fruits such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, kiwis, strawberries, and cherries are excellent fruits for cleansing the liver. All fruits and vegetables with deep and bright pigments are fantastic foods that cleanse the liver naturally.
Aim to include all colors of the rainbow in your diet from orange, yellow, red, purple, and green. A diverse anti-inflammatory plant-based diet will give the liver a variety of powerful healing antioxidants to help cleanse the liver.
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While fruits and vegetables are very cleansing for the liver, it is also crucial to eat more nourishing and sustaining foods. Healthy fats, especially the omega-three fats, eggs, legumes, free-range chicken, wild-caught fish, nuts, and seeds, will also provide nutrients needed by the liver.
Eggs are a surprising food to help cleanse the liver, as they are high in sulfur and are an excellent source of choline. Choline is a nutrient in eggs that is critical for the production of phosphatidylcholine (via the PEMT gene). Choline is crucial for healthy bile flow and the prevention of fatty liver
The key to supporting your liver is to remove all the processed foods from the diet and only eat nutrient-dense whole foods that provide the nutrients and nourishment that the liver needs to function optimally.
One of the primary jobs of the liver is to produce bile to breakdown fats. Avoiding fats in the morning will provide the liver with time to focus on detoxification.
Drinking a greens drink or fresh vegetable juice in the morning will provide the liver with nutrients to focus on detoxification. Save the healthy fats and quality protein to have with the lunch and dinner meals.
Beets, artichoke, dandelion greens, and bitter greens are some of the best foods that cleanse the liver and gallbladder. These foods are fantastic for promoting bile flow from the gallbladder. Bile flow is crucial for helping to cleanse the liver of toxins by opening up phase three detox.
Gallbladder nutrients is a supplement to help the liver with the production of bile and bile flow support for fat digestion. Optimal bile flow is also crucial for the elimination of toxins via the bile and bowels.
Fresh juices that cleanse the liver
These fresh juicing recipes to cleanse the liver are full of live enzymes, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant pigments. There are likely many additional liver cleansing nutritional compounds in fruits and vegetables that are unknown.
The antioxidants in these vegetable juices help to prevent, repair, and reverse liver damage. Antioxidants also help to scavenge free radicals that can cause tissue damage.
The best juicing recipes to cleanse the liver include juicing greens of all variety. Parsley, cilantro, celery, and kale are phenomenal liver cleansing greens to juice.
Beets, carrot, cabbage, turmeric, green apple, citrus, ginger, lemon, and radish are all great for using in juices that cleanse the liver.
To save time, I like to make several juices at one time, then pour the fresh vegetable juice into 300 ml jars. I only drink one vegetable juice per day in the morning.
I place enough juice in the fridge for up to 2 days then freeze the rest of the fresh vegetable juices. Freezing the liver cleansing juices will preserve the nutrients and live enzymes. Pull a frozen vegetable juice out of the freezer a day in advance before consuming to allow the frozen juice to thaw.
Juicing vegetables and fruits will concentrate the nutrients along with the sugar content. I only like to consume 300 mls of vegetable juice in the morning to avoid excess sugar intake.
Drinking an excessive amount of fresh vegetable juices can concentrate too much sugar and easy to consume calories. As with anything, it is all about finding the perfect balance and what feels right for you. We want the nutrients but not too much sugar.
Consuming fruit juice high in sugar can contribute to insulin resistance, weight gain, and fatty liver. When making fresh juices to cleanse the liver, aim to juice 80% vegetable and 20% fruit juice.
For additional liver support, you can supplement with a detox shake. Optimal detox is a delicious detox powder that can be added to smoothies or mixed with nut milk and ice cubes.
I love to make this chocolate banana smoothie with the optimal detox powder. Optimal detox supports the livers detoxification pathways with the nutrients needed by the liver.
Gallbladder Nutrients help stimulate both bile production and flow from the gallbladder for the elimination of the toxins out of the liver.
A greens drink can easily by made every morning by mixing the greens powder into a glass with water an
d a fresh squeeze of lemon. The phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in a greens powder will provide the liver with the extra boost of nutrients to cleanse the liver.