Your spleen is located above your stomach and under your ribs on the left side. It contains white blood cells and is approximately the size of a fist. According to Medline Plus, your spleen is an important part of your lymphatic system, a group of organs that protect you against infections, control the amount of fluids in your body and destroy damaged cells. In some cases, an injured, ruptured or diseased spleen may become inflamed and have to be surgically removed. A healthy diet consisting of a variety of nutrients can keep your spleen healthy and functioning efficiently.
Drinking approximately eight to 10 glasses of water daily can support spleen health. Your spleen needs fluids to function effectively. Judith E. Brown, author of the book “Everywoman's Guide to Nutrition,” states that when you do not drink an adequate amount of water, your body becomes dehydrated, digestion slows and your spleen is unable to cleanse itself and expel accumulated toxins from your body. Foods and drinks that contain healthy amounts of water include herbal teas, milk, peaches, plums, oranges, tomatoes, watermelon, celery, cucumber and lettuce.
Raw Fruits and Vegetables
Consuming raw fruits and vegetables can keep your spleen functioning at an optimal level. According to Lavon J. Dunne, author of the book “Nutrition Almanac,” raw fruits and vegetables such as apples, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, oranges, carrots, celery, bell pepper, cucumbers, leaf lettuce and broccoli are rich in vitamins, minerals and enzymes that can detoxify your body, improve spleen function, support digestion and strengthen your immune system. It is important to consume these foods in their natural state because cooking them can destroy these natural nutrients.
Adding ginger to your meals can help you achieve or maintain a healthy spleen. According to Jorg Kastner, author of the book “Chinese Nutrition Therapy: Dietetics in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM),” ginger is rich in zingibain, an enzyme that helps your body digest protein, decreases inflammation, strengthens your immune system and aids in the detoxification process.
Eating 7 oz. of fatty fish approximately three times a week can keep your spleen healthy. Brown says fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, halibut and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, healthy unsaturated fats that can decrease inflammation in your body and help your spleen cleanse itself of toxins like alcohol and tobacco. Other foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, canola oil, soybeans, soybean oil, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed oil, walnuts and walnut oil.
Adding maitake mushrooms to your meals can improve the health of your spleen. According to Peter C. Cheung, author of the book “Mushrooms as Functional Foods,” maitake mushrooms are rich in beta-glucan, which may increase the amount of immune cells in your spleen, reverse or slow tumor growth and lower your risk of developing some cancers. Cheung says that as of 2010, there is no conclusive scientific evidence supporting the use of maitake mushrooms as an effective way to treat or prevent cancer in humans.
- Medline Plus: Spleen Diseases
- Medline Plus: Lymphatic Diseases
- “Chinese Nutrition Therapy: Dietetics in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)”; Jorg Kastner; 2007
- “Everywoman's Guide to Nutrition”; Judith E. Brown; 2007
- “Mushrooms as Functional Foods”; Peter C. Cheung; 2010
- “Nutrition Almanac”; Lavon J. Dunne; 2008