Diet for a Healthy Liver: Do's and Don'ts (2023)

The liver is one of the largest and most important organs in the body. It is the primary organ of detoxification and performs many other functions including, metabolizing fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, balancing hormones, blood sugar stability, the formation of ketones, and aiding digestion.

Liver detoxification

Liver does filtering and detoxification of natural and environmental toxins and pathogenic organisms in the body. It also recognizes toxic substances and converts the toxic substances into benign substances that can be released and removed by the kidneys or the gallbladder.

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Digestion and nutrient regulation

Liver acts as a digestive organ and plays a central role in all metabolic processes in the body, helping metabolize fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. It stores the vitamins and minerals and releases into the blood when needed and converts nutrients in our food into essential blood components. It also produces bile which is essential for absorbing fats in our diet. Bile is secreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. Bile aids in the elimination of fat-soluble toxins and excess substances such as hormones from our bodies.

Blood sugar balance and liver health

Liver metabolizes carbohydrates and ensures blood sugar levels to remain constant. If the blood sugar level increases, it removes the sugar from the blood and stores it as glycogen. When blood sugars are low, it breaks down glycogen and releases blood sugar into the blood.

Liver helps metabolize proteins by converting amino acids in the foods which can be used to produce energy. During this process, ammonia is produced which is very toxic. Liver rapidly removes ammonia by converting it into a less toxic substance called urea.

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Liver regulates hormones and directs them to perform their proper function in the body. It also aids the immune system in fighting infections and removing microorganisms from the body

Healthy foods for your liver

Eating a high-quality diet is essential for a healthy liver. Foods rich in vitamin B, vitamin C, minerals, and glutathione boosting foods are extremely important. The following foods are rich in these liver supporting vitamins and minerals

  1. Cruciferous vegetables – cruciferous vegetables include Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and mustard greens. They contain phytonutrients, carotenoids, and flavonoids that help neutralize toxins. They also contain glucosinolates which are sulfur-containing compounds that are broken down to metabolites that trigger specific enzymatic reactions that help detoxify carcinogens and heavy metals from the blood. They also aid in digestion. Broccoli contains vitamin E which is an important antioxidant for the liver. It is important to combine cruciferous vegetables with healthy fats for better absorption of fat-soluble vitamins
  2. Beets – These are root vegetables that are high in antioxidants and nutrients such as folate, pectin, betalains, and betaine. They contain significant amounts of fiber, manganese, potassium, vitamins A and vitamin C. They improve enzymatic activity and stimulate bile flow which breaks down toxic wastes to help excrete them from the body faster.
  3. EGGS – Eggs contain sulfur compounds, methylation elements, and glutathione precursors. They have the full array of amino acids and are considered perfect proteins. They also contain carotenoid antioxidants such as vitamins A and E. They are also a rich source of vitamin D, omega 3 fatty acids and healthy saturated fat that makes for strong and vibrant cell membranes
  4. CITRUS FRUITS – Lemons and limes contain citric acid, potassium, vitamin C, and bioflavonoids. These nutrients help improve energy levels, enhance liver detoxification, and reduce inflammation. Grapefruit has high levels of vitamin C, folic acid, phenolic acid, potassium, calcium, iron, and antioxidants. The flavonoid with the greatest concentration in grapefruit is naringin which is metabolized into naringenin. Studies have found that these antioxidants help protect the liver from injury.
  5. LEAFY GREEN VEGETABLES – The most nutrient-dense leafy greens are spinach, kale, chard, arugula, swiss chard, collards, and book Choy. These are excellent sources of potassium, manganese, and magnesium. They also contain chlorophyll which assists the liver by neutralizing heavy metals and toxic chemicals
  6. GARLIC Garlic is rich in allicin, vitamin c, vitamin B6, and selenium which all play a role in detoxification. Allicin is a sulfur compound that has antioxidant, antibiotic, and antifungal properties. Selenium is a naturally detoxifying mineral which helps alleviate the burden on the liver by increasing the action of antioxidants
  7. BERRIES – Blueberries and cranberries contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant phytonutrients called anthocyanins which give berries their distinctive colors. anthocyanins have demonstrated antioxidant, anticarcinogenic and anti-inflammatory biological activity. Berries can increase immune cell response and lower inflammation
  8. HERBS – Herbs such as milk thistle, ginger, dandelion root, cilantro, garlic, and turmeric are powerful for detoxification
  9. Coffee – it contains caffeine, organic acids, and polysaccharides. They also contain polyphenols which have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. studies have found that coffee has a protective effect against the development of cirrhosis
  10. Fatty fish – it contains omega 3 fatty acids which reduce lipid accumulation, improve insulin sensitivity and have anti-inflammatory properties
  11. NUTS – they are an excellent source of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that protect against fat accumulation. Walnuts contain the amino acid arginine which is necessary to remove ammonia from the body. They also contain glutathione and omega 3 fatty acids. hence they can improve lipid profile, hepatic steatosis, and inflammation.

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Cirrhosis occurs when excess fat accumulation causes the liver to become inflamed and develop scars . The first stage of liver cirrhosis is fatty liver disease. fatty liver disease can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is associated with poor nutrition and excess weight.

The main foods to avoid are refined sugars, alcohol, processed foods, trans fat, and red meats. Sugars can contribute to fatty deposits and inflammation by causing a surge of blood glucose and a large release of insulin. Alcohol can damage the liver by increasing the accumulation of fatty acids and depletes the liver of glutathione, sulfur compounds, vitamins, and minerals.

Dr. Nandish H K, Consultant Gastroenterology – Medical, Mazumdar Shaw Medical Center, Bommasandra, Bangalore

(Video) 13 Foods To Avoid At All Costs If You Want A Healthy Liver


What are the do's and don'ts of the liver? ›

Avoid high calorie-meals, saturated fat, refined carbohydrates (such as white bread, white rice and regular pasta) and sugars. Don't eat raw or undercooked shellfish. For a well-adjusted diet, eat fiber, which you can obtain from fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads, rice and cereals.

What is the best diet to heal the liver? ›

There's no single food that supports liver health, but a balanced diet can help keep your liver in top shape. That means filling your plate with vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, and fatty fish. Foods that contain fiber — such as vegetables, beans, and nuts — may help with optimal liver function.

What foods are hard on liver? ›

French fries, wafers, burgers, and pizzas do no good to your liver. These food items are high in saturated fat or trans-fat content and are difficult to digest. In other words, your liver needs to work hard to process these food items.

What should I eat for breakfast to help my liver? ›

Foods high in fiber, like this breakfast favorite, can help protect your liver from inflammation. They also may help keep your blood sugar and electrolytes in line.
  • Brown rice.
  • Unbuttered popcorn.
  • 100% whole wheat bread.
Oct 26, 2022

What can I drink to repair my liver? ›

Here Are 5 Healthy Drink Options To Promote Healthy Liver:
  • Coffee: One of the most popular beverages across the globe, coffee helps us kick-start the day and provide us the much needed energy to keep going. ...
  • Green Tea: ...
  • Turmeric Tea: ...
  • Amla Juice: ...
  • Beetroot Juice:
Apr 19, 2022

What can destroy your liver? ›

Factors that may increase your risk of liver disease include:
  • Heavy alcohol use.
  • Obesity.
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Tattoos or body piercings.
  • Injecting drugs using shared needles.
  • Blood transfusion before 1992.
  • Exposure to other people's blood and body fluids.
  • Unprotected sex.
Apr 8, 2022

Are eggs good for your liver? ›

Eggs are rich in all the eight essential amino acids and choline, which is also a vital nutrient. The amino acids and choline help the liver in the detoxification process and improve the metabolism rate.

Which fruit is best for liver? ›

Fill your fruit basket with apples, grapes and citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, which are proven to be liver-friendly fruits. Consume grapes as it is, in the form of a grape juice or supplement your diet with grape seed extracts to increase antioxidant levels in your body and protect your liver from toxins.

Is spaghetti good for fatty liver? ›

Pastas, white bread, burger buns etc are all made with processed grains and must be avoided if you have fatty liver.

What meat is good for liver? ›

One important job your liver does is processing different proteins, fats and carbohydrates for your body to use. This is why you'll want to include plenty of healthy proteins like fish and chicken into your diet.

Are potatoes good for your liver? ›

Potatoes: Often shunned for being a nightshade potato are packed with a lot of great things for liver health. Potatoes keep the liver grounded and stable.

Is banana good for liver? ›

A. Yes, bananas are rich in vitamin B6, C and A. It is also high in resistant starch, which is highly beneficial for liver health. These nutrients make sure that the liver functions correctly.

What is a good lunch for a fatty liver? ›

What does a diet plan for fatty liver disease look like?
lunch• spinach salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing • 3 oz. grilled chicken • 1 small baked potato • 1 cup cooked broccoli, carrots, or other vegetable
snack• 1 tbsp. peanut butter on sliced apples or 2 tbsp. hummus with raw veggies
2 more rows
Sep 16, 2021

Is oatmeal good for liver? ›

Oats may have protective effects for the liver as they contain a specific type of fibre called beta-glucan. One study showed that beta-glucan reduced liver damage and oxidative stress in individuals with obstructive jaundice.

What are the best nuts for liver? ›

Of all types of nuts, walnuts are amongst the most beneficial for reducing fatty liver disease. This is thanks to their higher antioxidant and fatty acid content. Walnuts have the most omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as polyphenol antioxidants.

What is the fastest way to cleanse your liver? ›

Reducing or eliminating all animal protein, alcohol, sugar, wheat, corn, soy, tobacco, processed foods, caffeine, and nuts will give your liver a much-needed break to do some long-overdue house cleaning.

Can Apple cider vinegar clean out your liver? ›

Apple Cider Vinegar

Incredible detoxification actions of ACV work to flush out the harmful toxins from the liver that hinders its normal functions. Studies discloses that regular intake of ACV promotes weight loss, diminishes cholesterol levels, lessen inflammation, and uplift the overall health of the liver.

What are the 4 warning signs of a damaged liver? ›

yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice) swelling in the legs, ankles and feet caused by a build-up of fluid (oedema) swelling in your abdomen caused by a build-up of fluid known as ascites. a high temperature and shivering attacks.

Does drinking a lot of water help cleanse your liver? ›


Also, water makes up most of your blood. Hydration makes it easier for your blood to pass through the liver and thus, be filtered. Basically, the less hydrated you are, the less efficient your liver is at filtering out toxins like alcohol or chemicals.

How do I know if my liver is OK? ›

Blood tests used to assess the liver are known as liver function tests. But liver function tests can be normal at many stages of liver disease. Blood tests can also detect if you have low levels of certain substances, such as a protein called serum albumin, which is made by the liver.

Is shrimp good for liver? ›

What do sardines, salmon, tuna, cod, scallops and shrimp have to do with your liver? They are all excellent sources of Vitamin B12. About 90% of the B12 found in your body is stored in your liver, and liver damage decreases B12 levels.

Is Chicken good for the liver? ›

A major cause of fat deposition in the liver is a low-protein diet. Therefore, eating enough protein can help manage fatty liver disease. In addition, chicken provides biologically active protein, which gets readily absorbed in the body. Hence, lean cuts of chicken can be an excellent addition to a fatty liver diet.

Is cheese good for fatty liver? ›

Fatty Liver Foods to Avoid

Steer clear of saturated fats, which lead to more fatty deposits in your liver. This includes: Poultry, except for lean white meat. Full-fat cheese.

Is Tomato good for liver? ›

However, dietary whole tomato (tomato powder) would ameliorate the fatty liver disease independent of carotenoid cleavage enzymes. The protective effects of tomato may involve the regulation of sirtuin 1 and adiponectin production in hepatic and adipose tissue.

Are cucumbers good for your liver? ›

Cucumbers have fever reducing qualities as well as cooling and detoxifying effects on the liver. When eaten on a daily basis (at least one whole cucumber) they can actually reverse some liver damage and toxic load.

Are carrots good for liver? ›

Vitamin A-rich vegetable protects your liver against diseases. The beta-carotene and plant-flavonoids present in carrots helps in overall liver function overall.

Is lemon water good for your liver? ›

Lemon water can also benefit your liver health. Studies have observed that the liver produces more enzymes in the presence of lemon when compared to other food items. Enzymes are essential to stimulate, accelerate, and catalyze various chemical reactions in the human body.

Is Cranberry Juice Good For Your liver? ›

In this study on people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, supplementation with cranberry extract led to some beneficial effects, including reductions in liver fat severity. This Study Summary was published on January 4, 2022.

Is Hamburger good for fatty liver? ›

Beef, pork, and deli meats are all high in saturated fats. The AGA suggests that a person with fatty liver disease try to avoid these foods as much as possible. Lean meats, fish, tofu, or tempeh make suitable substitutes.

What is the best salad dressing for fatty liver disease? ›

Extra virgin olive oil is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids and has many protective benefits for the liver. So, next time you make a salad opt for the more natural choices – olive oil, fresh lemon and apple cider vinegar really are quality liver-friendly salad dressings.

Is corn good for fatty liver? ›

Corn peptides improved obesity-induced non-alcoholic fatty liver disease through relieving lipid metabolism, insulin resistance and oxidative stress.

What are the 5 liver super foods? ›

Five superfoods for your liver
  • Cruciferous veges. Veges such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale contain glutathione, which kickstarts the liver's toxin cleansing enzymes of the liver. ...
  • Olive oil. Yes, it's a fat, but it's generally considered a healthy one. ...
  • Green tea. ...
  • Citrus fruit. ...
  • Garlic.

What kind of bread is best for fatty liver? ›

Whole-grain bread, Ezekiel bread, and rye bread are among the most healthful options. Bread made from whole or sprouted grains contains essential nutrients, including protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Are black olives good for your liver? ›

They are rich in antioxidants, and healthy monounsaturated fats and are antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral. They are great for your heart, liver, metabolic health, and so much more.

Is Sweet Potato okay for liver? ›

Limited research suggests that consumption of sweet potatoes may have beneficial effects on some biomarkers of metabolic health. Because nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is considered the hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome, the consumption of sweet potatoes may be associated with a lower risk of NAFLD.

Are beans good for liver? ›

Beans. Beans are loaded with healthy fiber, which is known to support a healthy microbiome (your gut health). A healthy microbiome, in turn, is linked to improved liver health, says Dixon. Use beans as a plant-based source of protein and fiber to stay full longer and to help purify your liver.

Is Sweet Potato good for your liver? ›

Sweet Potatoes May Help with Liver Damage from Excessive Alcohol Consumption. Anthocyanins in purple sweet potatoes are also associated with improving liver damage from alcohol abuse, according to a study with mice conducted by the NIH.

What food and drinks affect the liver? ›

Avoid when possible
  • Alcohol. Alcohol can be a major cause of fatty liver disease as well as other liver diseases.
  • Added sugar. Stay away from sugary foods such as candy, cookies, sodas, and fruit juices. ...
  • Fried foods. These are high in fat and calories.
  • Added salt. ...
  • White bread, rice, and pasta. ...
  • Red meat.
Sep 16, 2021

How can I prevent my liver from getting worse? ›

If you have cirrhosis, be careful to limit additional liver damage:
  1. Don't drink alcohol. Whether your cirrhosis was caused by chronic alcohol use or another disease, don't drink alcohol. ...
  2. Eat a low-sodium diet. ...
  3. Eat a healthy diet. ...
  4. Protect yourself from infections. ...
  5. Use over-the-counter medicines carefully.

Does lemon water cleanse the liver? ›

Many citrus fruits, including lemon, can be added to water to help stimulate and flush out the liver. To help improve liver function, enjoy 4-6 tablespoons of lemon juice mixed with water each day.

What natural things cleanse the liver? ›

12 foods support that support liver detox
  • Cruciferous vegetables. —When you were told as a child to "eat your vegetables," chances are at least a few of them were cruciferous vegetables. ...
  • Green tea. ...
  • Leafy greens. ...
  • Nuts. ...
  • Olive oil. ...
  • Salmon. ...
  • Berries. ...
  • Citrus fruits.

How can I detox my liver in 3 days naturally? ›

How is the 3-day liver cleanse juice diet done?
  1. Morning detox tea.
  2. Breakfast drink.
  3. Supplements.
  4. Lunch drink.
  5. Supplements (multivitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and probiotics)
  6. Snack drink.
  7. Dinner drink.
  8. Detox ultra-bath.
Mar 8, 2022

Are eggs good for liver? ›

Eggs are rich in all the eight essential amino acids and choline, which is also a vital nutrient. The amino acids and choline help the liver in the detoxification process and improve the metabolism rate.

Is Cheese good for the liver? ›

In general, cheese isn't the best food choice for your liver, but it's actually ricotta cheese that puts the nail in the coffin. With 10.3 grams of saturated fat per cup, ricotta cheese should really be avoided by anyone with liver issues. If you're craving cheese, nuts are a healthier snack choice.

Can I get my liver back to normal? ›

The liver is very resilient and capable of regenerating itself. Each time your liver filters alcohol, some of the liver cells die. The liver can develop new cells, but prolonged alcohol misuse (drinking too much) over many years can reduce its ability to regenerate.

How do I know that my liver is healing? ›

Increased appetite: Digesting foods and nutrients can become easier as the liver healing continues. Usually, your appetite can improve as well. Improved blood work: Liver healing can lower toxin levels in your blood and improve liver function. You can see evidence of these improvements in your lab work.

How can I check my liver at home? ›

There are at-home liver panel tests that can determine liver function by screening for proteins and enzymes like albumin, globulin, ALP, ALT, and GGT. These tests use a finger-prick sample and include materials to collect and send your specimen to the lab. You can order a liver panel from home and get tested in a lab.


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