The Very Best Foods for Your Liver, From Summer Berries to Coffee and Green Tea

filed in:


Read the full article here.

The liver is one of the most important organs in your body. It has many functions, including filtering all of your blood and removing toxins, dangerous bacteria and other harmful substances, monitoring amino acid levels, and storing vitamins.

“The liver has so many important functions, but its main function is bile production,” says Andrea Mathis, MA, RDN, LN, a registered dietitian and owner of the healthy food blog Beautiful Eats & Things. “The production of bile is extremely important because it helps to remove waste and break down fats in the small intestine during the digestion process.”

And if you have hepatitis C, a virus that affects the liver, eating a liver-friendly diet is extremely important to improve liver health and reduce the onset of cirrhosis.

“Diet is an important part of maintaining a healthy liver. The liver also plays a major role in the metabolism of all macronutrients and eating an excess of any can impact its effectiveness and your health,” says Serena Poon, CN, CHC, CHN, holistic nutritionist and owner of wellness blog Serena Loves. “Because of this, a diet that is high in fat, sugar, salt, alcohol and processed foods can have detrimental effects on your liver.”

If you have hepatitis C and continue to eat a diet like this, the harder the liver has to work.

“This overburdening can over time reduce the liver’s effectiveness in detoxifying and cleansing,” says Lauren Minchen, MPH, RDN, CDN, registered dietitian nutritionist and nutrition consultant for Freshbit. “Conversely, when we eat a well-balanced diet with antioxidants, fiber, and protein, the liver is less burdened, and the nutrients from those whole foods support it’s natural functions and health.”

Whether or not you have hepatitis C, if you’re looking to infuse your diet with good-for-your-liver foods, we found 12 great options.

Foods that are good for your liver

1. Dark leafy greens

“Researchers have found promising evidence that the natural nitrates found in leafy green vegetables can support liver health. Foods like spinach, arugula, and kale are a healthy addition to any diet, especially for someone living with hepatitis C,” says Poon. “In addition to their liver supportive qualities, leafy green vegetables are high in antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fiber that support overall health. Leafy green vegetables are also considered to be a top anti-inflammatory food. If you have a hard time convincing yourself to eat leafy greens, consider adding them to a fruit-filled anti-inflammatory smoothie.”

2. Organic green tea

“Green tea contains antioxidants called catechins that boost the natural cleansing functions of the liver and actually may help reduce viral activity in hepatitis C,” says Minchen. “Matcha green tea is a great choice here, too. However, avoid green tea extract, which has shown to not be helpful for boosting liver health.”

3. Grapefruit

“Grapefruit is often associated with weight loss or fat loss, but it actually contributes to liver health,” says Mathis. “It contains antioxidants that naturally protect the liver and can help to reduce inflammation.”

4. Wild Salmon, sardines, and mackerel

“Omega 3 fatty acids, found in these wild fish, are essential fatty acids that also pack a powerful anti-inflammatory punch,” says Minchen. “They reduce triglycerides and help reduce LDL cholesterol, and they also have shown to reduce hepatitis C’s viral activity, while boosting liver function.”


5.  Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)

“Extra-virgin olive oil contains fatty acids and antioxidant-rich phenolic compounds that support a healthy liver. By helping prevent inflammation, oxidative stress and other damage, EVOO has been shown to support the damage or healing of liver damage,” says Poon. “EVOO has also been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease, and some cancers and neurodegenerative diseases. Extra-virgin olive oil is a wonderful addition to any kitchen and can be used in dressings, on bread or as a replacement in recipes. Choose high-quality EVOO with high phenolic content.”

6. Broccoli 

“Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli can help to protect the liver from damage by increasing the liver’s natural detoxification enzymes,” says Mathis. “Those enzymes help to filter the blood to remove toxins, and other unwanted particles.”

7. Coffee 

“You might not think of your daily dose of caffeine as a liver-supporting tonic, but research demonstrates that it is! Coffee consumption has been shown to support liver health in numerous ways, including preventing liver cancer, the advancement of fibrosis, and potentially reducing the ability of hepatitis C to replicate,” says Poon. “Most studies found that between 1-4 cups of coffee a day support liver health. I recommend opting for organic, fair-trade coffee blends for the best overall health (and usually flavor) experience. Keep an eye on the other ways that coffee impacts your health, you will want to balance out its liver healing effects with any stress-inducing effects. If four cups of coffee impact your stress levels and your ability to sleep, it could be too much.”

8. Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries

“Berries are rich in antioxidant vitamin C, B vitamins (including folate), and other antioxidant phytonutrients,” says Minchen. “Vitamin C actively reduces viral load in Hepatitis C cases, while also reducing oxidative stress on the liver. Folate supports the liver’s natural detoxifying process, while the array of phytonutrients in berries decrease inflammation related to liver disease.”

9. Nuts

“Nuts are a great source of healthy fats and other important nutrients, which is usually associated with heart health, but research shows that these components may also contribute to liver health,” says Mathis. “Increased nut intake has been associated with improved liver enzyme levels.”

10. Chia seeds

“Chia seeds are rich in plant Omega 3 fats, called ALA. This particular type of Omega 3 fatty acid, like the DHA and EPA found in fatty fish, exerts liver-protective effects, reducing inflammation and supporting its natural detoxification processes,” says Minchen. “Further, the fiber in chia seeds also helps reduce the burden on the liver and supports healthy digestive function.”

11. Oatmeal

“Oatmeal contains a great source of fiber and beta-glucans, which can be beneficial towards liver health,” says Mathis. “Studies show that beta-glucans can help to reduce the amount of fat stored in the liver, which can provide protection and improve health.”

12.  Zhi Shi (immature bitter orange) 

“Sometimes people look for therapeutic foods outside of their culture. Zhi shi is a dried immature bitter orange used in traditional Chinese medicine. In one study, researchers found that zhi shi could not only help prevent liver damage, but it could also possibly reverse the effects of a liver injury,” says Poon. “Zhi shi is a bit difficult to find in the United States, and it would be recommended to work with a licensed traditional Chinese medicine practitioner to determine the ideal application. Check with your doctor before starting any herbal treatment to make sure that it is not contraindicated with any conditions or current medications.”


Thank you for subscribing!
Sign up for our newsletter and have free, weekly resources to guide your health and wellness journey sent straight to your inbox!
Get more delicious recipes & health tips!

This content is strictly the opinion of Chef Serena Poon and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Serena nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

Medical Disclaimer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shop Now »

See Clear Sage

Shop Now »

Love My Calm Supplements

Shop Now »

Raise Your Vibrations Candle

Shop Now »

Rose Quartz Heart

Shop Now »

Aura Cleansing Mist

Shop Now »

Burning Palo Santo

Shop Now »

Amethyst Cluster

Shop Now »

Rainbow Flourite

Shop Now »

Selenite Tumbled Stone

Shop Now »

Love My Mag Supplements

Balance Your Energy

Serena's favorite products to