In Part 1, I covered what the liver does and how it works, and why you should love your liver; here, in part 2, I cover liver healthy foods; good diet foods are discussed elsewhere.
What can you do to avoid liver disease?
- If your waist is more than half your height (or for men, your waist is more than 40 inches and women 35), get leaner and lose the extra fat, which is increases your risk for liver disease. Men have had success with REFUEL, but use the eating plan that works for you. If you lose just 7 percent of your body weight, your liver will begin to empty itself of fat.
- Consider prebiotics (food for your gut bacteria or microbiome) and synbiotics (see this prebiotic/probiotic combo). Both have already been shown helpful for encephalopathy. They may be able to restore a healthy microbiome–considered an “organ within an organ”, with its own functions which help the liver.
- Know your liver numbers, specifically your enzymes (aspartate-aminotransferase (AST), alanine-aminotransferase (ALT), and Gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT). Enzyme levels rise when the liver is overactive and inflamed. The enzymes are often an early indication of a problem. Ask your doctor for a test and learn what they mean.
- Eat more raw cruciferous vegetables. The liver uses their constituents to help it detoxify poisons. Choose those with high sulphur content (e.g.,: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli raab, cauliflower). Garlic, shallots, leeks and onions are all high in sulfur too.
- Bring a list of your herbal supplements and OTC drugs to your doctor: some of them are metabolized through the liver and make it work harder. Others can injure the liver, like noni berry, kava kava and green tea extract. Don’t take more than 10000 units of vitamin A: it can harm the liver.
- Drink filtered coffee: it’s protective against liver disease, including liver cancer, probably because of its coffee polyphenols. Three or more cups of coffee daily will reduce the risk for and severity of hepatotoxicity: it does not have to be Starbucks’ strength. Coffee improves insulin sensitivity, reduces inflammation and oxidation. Unfiltered coffee: the opposite effect. Drink regular or decaf, but don’t drink coffee if you are addicted, have an arrhythmia, pregnant or have side effects from caffeine.
- Improve your food quality: try hard to choose organic foods when possible, because they have lower pesticide, herbicide and fungicide residues. When not possible, eat the Dirty Dozen (top 12) organic: full list from the EWG is here.
If you already have liver disease and are trying to find specific supplements and foods healthy for the liver and why they work, here are 7 more actions you can take now:This content is for members only.