Liver Function: 5 foods that boost and balance your health

If your liver had a personality, it would be the classic type-A, hardworking overachiever. It’s one of the most complex organs in the body, responsible for filtering about 1.5L of blood every minute and helping to process and detoxify toxins (such as hormones, alcohol and medications), and assist with metabolism and energy production.

Our liver can also be a bit stubborn. It will continue to function (albeit, not very well) even if 75 per cent of it is diseased. It’s this stubbornness that sees many people walking around with less-than-optimal liver function, often without even realising.

Here are my top five foods to show your liver some love and help keep it working effectively.


  1. Brassica Vegetables

Think broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, watercress and bok choy. Brassicas contain a combination of unique plant chemicals called glucosinolates that support liver processes.


  1. Garlic and Onions

These little guys contain sulphur compounds that help the enzyme systems in our liver do their job properly. Enzymes play a supportive role and help our liver work at a speed that’s best for our body.


  1. Turmeric

This spice has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and liver-protective properties. In regards to our liver function, turmeric increases bile production, which is made in our liver and stored in our gall bladder. Bile helps us metabolise fats, detoxify properly and have healthy bowel movements.


  1. Grapefruit

Constituents in grapefruit stimulate enzymes in the liver. These enzymes are also the target for some
prescription drugs. So if you take medication, speak to your doctor before increasing grapefruit in your diet. Otherwise, this fruit is a gentle and supportive liver food.


  1. Beetroot

A rich source of antioxidants, beetroot has traditionally been used to protect and nourish liver cells. Naturopathic tip: Use beetroot leav
es as salad greens.


Signs Your Liver Maybe Overworked

Is your liver feeling the pressure? Look out for these symptoms:

  • Lack of appetite on waking
  • Frequent headaches or migraines
  • Yucky taste in mouth
  • Constipation or not feeling empty when you clear your bowels
  • Dark circles around your eyes
  • Waking up between 2-4am and not sleepy
  • Nausea or a general sick feeling
  • Sensitivity to alcohol (i.e. you get intoxicated easily)
  • Persistent skin issues such as dermatitis, acne or dry/flaky skin
  • Fluid retention, especially around your belly


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