Kristen Kuchar's picture

Best Foods to Promote Liver Health

15 Foods That Keep Your Liver Healthy

best foods liver health

There are many reasons to love beer. From the delicious taste and alluring aroma to the way it brings people together to have a good time, beer is the best beverage in the world. But beer has some surprising health benefits, too, including strengthening bone health, reducing stress and helping to prevent kidney stones.

However, beer, as any other alcoholic beverage, can also have negative implications on our health if not imbibed in moderation. In particular, our livers take a beating with consistent beer (and alcohol in general) intake. The liver is roughly the size of a football (weighing about three pounds) and does 500 roles in our bodies. It produces bile, which breaks down fat, metabolizes carbohydrates and filters blood. Alcohol is broken down in the liver. And unfortunately, excessive alcohol intake can lead to liver damage, including cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), alcohol hepatitis and even liver cancer.

Never fear, though. There are many steps you can take to keep your liver healthy and in tip-top shape. Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, drinking plenty of water and drinking alcohol in moderation all play a key role in keeping your liver running smoothly. It’s also important to follow directions on medications, practicing safe sex and consider getting vaccinated for hepatitis if you’re traveling to a region where it’s an issue.

Diet also plays an important part of liver health. For optimal liver health, avoid fatty foods, excessive salt, added sugar (soft drinks, cookies, etc.), red meat and fried foods. It’s best to stick to a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains to keep your liver happy and healthy. Here are 15 foods that are especially good for liver health.

pile of various beans
Beans are a great source of protein and fiber. Some studies suggest that beans preserve liver health by preventing fat from accumulating in the liver, reducing the risk of a fatty liver. Kidney beans and navy beans help the body get rid of waste quickly. Ditch baked beans that are loaded with extra salt and go for something sodium-free. Best of all, beans are not only cheap, but easy to add to many meals, including soups, tacos, wraps, and chili.

plate of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries
Berries, such as raspberries and blueberries, are rich in antioxidants, which can prevent against heart disease, cancer and protect the liver from damage. Berries are also thought to prevent excess fibrous connective tissue in the liver as well as abnormal cells in the liver known as liver lesions. Throw berries in your morning smoothie, on your cereal, or in salads for a daily boost.

garlic cloves in a wooden crate
Garlic stimulates the liver and activates liver enzymes, flushing out toxins. A mineral called selenium that’s present in garlic helps detoxify the liver. Garlic may help reduce fat and overall body weight in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. If you’re prepping a garlic-heavy dish, pair it with an American Wheat Ale or Lager for a nice complement.

a halved grapefruit
Beer connoisseurs love the way Citra hops add grapefruit aroma and taste to IPAs, but grapefruits themselves have a slew of health benefits not to miss. Antioxidants found in grapefruit have been shown to protect cells in the liver and reduce inflammation. Studies indicate that antioxidants reduce excessive connective tissue building up in the liver, called hepatic fibrosis.

pile of broccoli and cauliflower
Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables consist of cabbage, radish, arugula, brussels sprouts, turnips and more. These veggies are low in calories and rich in vitamins C and E, as well as folate. Broccoli and cauliflower have glucosinolates, which help the liver produce detoxifying enzymes. Leafy vegetables, such as kale, bok choy and arugula, can get rid of toxins out of the blood stream and neutralize heavy metals – helping to protect the liver.

pile of almonds, cashews, pecans and peanuts
Beer and nuts have long been a pretty solid duo, but now there’s even better reason to snack on them. Research suggests that eating nuts improves levels of liver enzymes in cases of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. A moderate number of nuts daily, such as almonds, walnuts, pecans and brazil nuts, can help improve liver health. Besides just grabbing a handful of nuts, you can add nuts to your morning cereal, to salads, and even to pastas.

wide range of spices in containers
Spices, such as coriander, cumin, fennel and turmeric, have been shown to have a positive impact on the liver. Turmeric helps the liver in detoxifying metals, amplifies bile production and repairs liver cells. Coriander helps promote liver function and contains anti-inflammatory properties. Cumin is thought to increase the release of bile from the liver, too.

cup of coffee atop coffee beans
Coffee has more benefits than just keeping us up and making coffee stouts delicious. The antioxidant-rich beverage is thought to reduce the risk of liver cancer, chronic liver disease and fatty liver disease. A study found that drinking two cups of coffee per day is linked to lowering the risk of liver cirrhosis.

loose leaf green tea in cute panda mug
Green Tea
The list of health benefits of green tea is long – improving brain function, increasing fat burning, increasing metabolism and even reducing your chances of Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers. Fortunately, it also includes positive influences on the liver, too. Drinking green tea (as a beverage, not a supplement) is linked to reducing liver cancer, improving liver enzyme levels, reducing oxidative stress and reducing fat deposits in the liver.

large artichokes in a pot
Artichokes have fiber, protein, folate, magnesium and other vitamins. Research suggests that artichokes could possibly help protect the liver from damage. Artichokes could help remove toxins by increasing the production of bile. This is important because bile is critical for the digestion process, including absorbing fat-soluble vitamins.

bowl of oatmeal with blueberries on top with a spoon within
When opting for your healthy breakfast, stick to whole oatmeal or steel-cut oats that are free of added sugar. Oatmeal is rich in fiber and helps with digestion. Compounds found in oatmeal are thought to reduce the amount of fat in the liver, too. Oatmeal topped with berries and nuts is the ultimate in cultivating liver health to start your morning.

beets on a shelf at a supermarket
Beets/Beet Juice
Beets can possibly protect the liver from inflammation and oxidative damage, which could lead to many liver diseases – cirrhosis, fibrosis, hepatocellular carcinoma and more. Beet juice can activate liver enzymes and increase bile production, which is responsible for the liver being able to detox.

pile of cranberries after harvest
Don’t wait until Thanksgiving for your share of these tart little wonders. Cranberries can act as natural liver cleanse, reducing chemical toxins. It is also loaded with antioxidants and stimulates bile production in the liver. Drinking cranberry juice helps the liver metabolize fats more efficiently. The vitamin C present helps protect the liver from free radicals.

pile of avocados with one halved on top
Chemicals in avocados may possibly be responsible for slowing liver damage. The monounsaturated fat in avocados can lower triglyceride levels in the liver, which can cause fatty liver disease. Avocados are a great source of folate, with one-half of a raw one accounting for more than 20 percent of your daily need. Folate is associated with lowering the risk of liver cancer.

beautiful red grapes
Reports suggest that the antioxidants present in grapes and grape juice can help prevent liver damage. It can also be beneficial to the liver by reducing inflammation. Grapes can help prevent an accumulation of fat within the liver. Ellagic acid is the antioxidant found in grapes that has positive impacts on fat accumulation in the liver.

These foods are great additions to your diet to improve your liver function and keep it healthy. Beyond that, many of these foods provide overall health benefits as well. As always, the best thing to do is enjoy your beer in moderation, eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly.

Table of Contents