Skip the liver detox.
Add these foods to support your liver.
by Ashleigh Feltham
Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist
You have probably heard of at least one version of a liver detox. Your liver is an amazing organ which removes toxins and neutralises potentially harmful substances in your body. You would be forgiven to want to help your liver to do its job but before you waste your money, skip the fad detox or liver cleansing diets out there.
For your liver to detox there is a two-step process which happens. In these two steps, specific nutrients are needed for the liver to do its job properly and is why food is the best support for your liver. Not having enough of these nutrients makes you more susceptible to oxidative stress caused by free radical which can cause damage and disease to the cells of your body. It can also make you feel more sensitive to chemicals like alcohol as your liver is slower at working. It can also lead to additional symptoms and signs like unhealthy skin, gut sensitivity, bloating and lack of energy.
The two steps to liver detoxification are:
To remove all the boring science. This step involves taking the toxins and making them ready or package them into ‘bags’ ready for the garbage man or step 2.
The toxins are neutralised and are then ready to be excreted from your body. If step 2 does not happen then the toxins are left in your body and can act as free radicals causing damage to the cells of your body.
To look after the function of step 1 it is best to moderate the toxins coming in which include alcohol. Phase 2 needs an array of nutrients to function and is why a well-balanced diet is essential for a healthy body. Below are some key foods to include for a healthy liver:
Seafood contains 3 specific amino acids your liver needs Cysteine, Glycine and Glutamine. Cysteine, Glycine and Glutamine are needed to make Glutathione which is an antioxidant and helps remove free radicals. Seafood is also a source of selenium, B12 and choline which are three additional nutrients important for proper functioning of the step 2 process in liver detoxification.
This includes bok choy, broccoli, spinach, kale, turnips, sprouts, and radish. This group is a great source of Taurine, Glutathione, Cysteine. These are three sulphur containing amino acids essential to assist the liver in step 2 of the detoxification process.
Whole grains, nuts, and seeds
This group gives a big dose of B vitamins as well as magnesium needed to support your liver.
Specifically, fruit containing vitamin C like strawberries, orange, banana, avocado and kiwi fruit.
Take home message
Outsmart the detox diet and stick to real food to support the health of your liver. If you need recipe ideas on ways to include these foods in a meal or snack head to the recipe pages on the Seafood website