There are many nutrients that aid the liver and help it function at it's best and in this day and age the liver needs all the help it can get. Toxins and impurities surround us and are found in a lot of the foods we eat unfortunately. Unless organic, produce is covered with pesticides. Heavy metals can be found in the water we drink. The air contains pollutants from oil refineries, coal plants and other industries; gas emissions from cars are also a major contributor. In addition to this, food can be highly processed and striped of much of it's original nutrition. The outcome of all this means we need to be smart and conscientious about our lifestyles, what we eat and what foods and supplements support the liver.
Antioxidants include certain minerals, vitamins and other phyto-nutrients that protect the cells in our bodies from the harmful effects of free radicals. Check out this link for more detailed info about free radicals and how antioxidants relate to them. In short free radical activity is a normal process in the body and is fundamentally why we age. They are unstable molecules that damage our cells and are the by-products of metabolic and chemical processes in the body. Toxins and pollutants greatly enhance the amount of free radical activity within us. Such activity can attack our DNA, aid heart disease by attacking artery wall cells, and potential effect most cells in the body. This is were antioxidants can come to the rescue, their job is to bind to free radicals and flush them from the body before they do harm. They can greatly unburden the liver by aiding detoxification since detoxification is one of the liver's primary functions.
The most famous of vitamins, vitamin C is very beneficial for optimal liver health. It protects the liver cells from free radical damage incited by toxic chemicals.
Excellent sources of vitamin C include:
A fat soluble vitamin, vitamin E helps protect fats from turning rancid as a result of free radical damage. Here it is important to note that the cell membranes that protect and surround the liver (and most organs for that matter) are fat based. Thus, vitamin E protects the liver directly. Interestingly, one study reveals that vitamin E can reduce liver scar tissue. Such scar tissue can develop into cirrhosis.
Excellent sources of vitamin E include:
Beta Carotene and other types of carotenoids are a specific brand of antioxidants essential to health and a powerful immune system. While vitamin A is only found in animal products (notably dairy), the liver converts some of the beta-carotene we consume into vitamin A. Vitamin A can soften abused and tough liver fibers and in some cases restore them to full health.
Excellent sources of Beta Carotene include:
One of the true power-houses to boost liver function, liver health and detoxification is glutathione - one of the most powerful of antioxidants. It is the king of antioxidants for combating free radicals and a potent detoxifier. Low blood levels of glutathione have a direct link to liver problems, disease, toxicity and bad health. Upping our glutathione levels is one of the single most important things we can for for liver health and overall well being.
Glutathione is actually made by the body but usually driven to minute levels by toxic overload. There are foods however that help increase glutathione levels in the body:
Glutathione-boosting juice[/caption]1 cup of Broccoli
2 cups of Kale
10 asparagus heads
Broccoli, kale and asparagus don't produce the most pleasant juice, thus the apple helps to sweeten this juice for liver health.
3 cups of blackberries
Peel the kiwis and wash the blackberries before juicing them. Both kiwis and blackberries are excellent sources of vitamin C and vitamin E and fair sources of beta carotene. Awesome!
5-6 Large carrots
Yep this is just straight up carrot juice! If the carrots are not organic, peel them first to remove a lot of the pesticides.
1 cup of cabbage
1 cup of cauliflower
2 cups of broccoli
4 large carrots
This potent juicing for the liver recipe is a massive aid to the liver and detoxification. If you need to sweeten it a little more to offset the cruciferous medley then add more carrots or half an apple.
Check out this video for some more great advise for cleansing the liver.