Have you thought about your liver lately? How about what kinds of raw foods are good for your liver? Are you unsure which raw foods to add to your daily intake to help? Never fear! We're here to help you find the essential raw foods that are good for your liver and to help promote a healthier, more beneficial diet for your mental and physical well-being!
What Does the Liver Do?Our livers are a relatively large, meaty organ that rests on the right side of the belly. Livers weigh around 3lbs, and typically our livers are protected by our rib cages, making it almost impossible to touch or feel. There are two large sections to our livers called the right and left lobes. Our gallbladder sits under our liver along with parts of the pancreas and intestines. The liver works together with these organs to digest, absorb and process food. The liver's most important task is to filter blood coming from the digestive tract before passing it to the rest of our body. The liver also detoxifies chemicals and metabolizes drugs. As it detoxifies, the liver secretes bile that ends up back in the intestines. The liver also creates proteins that are critical for blood clotting and other functions. In short, the liver is one of our powerhouse organs, and we should be eating to help its function just as much as we do for any of our major organs, so let's go over the top raw foods good for this powerhouse!
GrapefruitGrapefruits are packed full of powerful antioxidants that naturally benefit your body and help protect the liver. The two most important antioxidants that may be the most beneficial to your liver found in grapefruit are naringenin and naringin. Naringenin has been revealed to have pharmacological effects in treating obesity and associated metabolic disorders such as NAFLD (Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.) The study indicates that these natural flavanones help modulate several biological processes that correlate with NAFLD, such as energy balance, lipid, and glucose metabolism, inflammation, and oxidative stress by different mechanisms.(1) Further study is needed to cement the effects of grapefruit and its components. Still, today's current evidence points to grapefruit being an excellent raw food to help keep your liver healthy.
Extra Virgin Olive OilPure and genuine olive oil is considered a healthy fat due to its many health benefits. Some of its most common benefits have positive effects on the heart and metabolic health. However, it has been linked to having a positive impact on the liver. A research study conducted in November 2019, analyzing a group of 100 men and women between the ages of 64 and 70 years old that were at higher risk for cardiovascular diseases were placed on a Mediterranean diet. The primary source of fat on a Mediterranean diet is olive oil. It was observed that the diet, heavily supplemented with olive oil, showed a reduced prevalence of hepatic steatosis – a form of fatty liver disease in older individuals at high cardiovascular risk.(2)
Cruciferous VegetablesCruciferous vegetables are a diverse group that includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Bok choy, Brussels sprouts, collards, watercress, radishes, kale, and arugula. These vegetables are an excellent source of natural sulfur compounds, one of the nutrients your liver needs to perform its critical work. They're also bursting with fiber and a wealth of vitamins and minerals. New research findings published in Hepatology on February 2020 from Texas A&M AgriLife Communications show that a natural compound, called indole, found in gut bacteria and cruciferous vegetables, can fight fatty liver disease.(3) Low in calories, cruciferous vegetables, and their high fiber content help gut microbiomes flourish. For those with higher indole found within their gut, scientists believe they may contribute to lowering the risk or preventing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD is linked to obesity and increased potential for several cancers, including liver cancer.
Other Raw Foods that May Help Increase Liver HealthA few other foods that may contribute to liver health to consider adding to your raw food diet are:
- Tea is widely considered beneficial to health, but evidence shows that it may also have particular benefits for the liver. Drinking green tea high in antioxidants could improve liver enzyme levels and may also reduce oxidative stress.
- Coffee is still controversial in healthy diets, but more studies keep revealing liver-protective benefits. A new study published in June 2021 reported a 21% decrease in incidence of chronic liver disease and a 49% reduced risk of dying from chronic liver disease among coffee drinkers during the 10-year study, regardless of whether people drank instant, regular or decaffeinated coffee.(4)
- Blueberries and cranberries both contain anthocyanins, antioxidants that give berries their distinctive colors, which also happen to be connected with many health benefits, including the liver.
- Red and purple grapes contain a wide variety of healthful plant compounds, the most famous of them is resveratrol. Research suggests there's evidence that they can help lower inflammation and possibly improve liver function.