The liver is a small, three-pound organ that has many functions: Blood leaving the stomach and small intestines passes through it. It regulates most of the chemicals found in blood, and produces bile, which breaks down fat for digestion. The liver helps remove waste products from the body, produces various proteins and cholesterol and converts excess glucose into glycogen for energy. Liver disorders can cause a variety of diseases, ranging from hepatitis to cirrhosis. Products are available that can help to heal and improve liver function.
Fruits and Vegetables
Researchers at the George Mateljan Foundation, a nonprofit site dedicated to healthy eating, report that fruits and vegetables contain most of the nutrients required for optimal liver health. Since the liver also has to extract toxic chemicals from the blood, organically grown fruits and vegetables are better for the liver because they provide fewer agricultural chemicals that the liver must process. Dr. Sandra Cabot, author of "The Liver Cleansing Diet," says that 30 to 40 percent of the daily diet should come from dark green leafy vegetables and raw orange, yellow, red and purple fruits and vegetables for maximum liver efficiency.
While those trying to heal or improve liver function should avoid oil and fatty foods, good fats that can help liver function include avocados, fish, legumes and seeds. Dr. Cabot says that oils made from black current seeds, spirulina or lecithin can help improve liver health. Good fats can help to build cell membranes that protect liver cells.
Foods that contain sulfur can help to support the liver's ability to process toxic chemicals. Sulfur is one of the molecules that help the liver detoxify various prescription medicines, pesticides and environmental contaminants. Egg yolks, garlic and onions are high in sulfur content. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale also are good sources of sulfur.
Various spices can help increase the liver's immune functions, those include turmeric, licorice and cinnamon.
Fluids are vital to allow the liver to flush the chemicals and toxins from the body. Two liters of fluid daily from sources such as water, teas and raw juices can help to maintain and restore proper liver function while assisting the kidneys and skin to eliminate toxins as well. For those with liver damage, a water filter with carbon block fillers can remove harmful parasites and chemicals that often are present in municipal water supplies and bottled water.