The Best Scientifically Proven Foods to Cleanse Your Liver

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The Best Foods to Cleanse Your Liver (Research Based)

Foods that are good for your liver help to naturally increase detoxification enzymes that help to cleanse the liver. Liver healthy foods that have a cleansing effect include green tea, citrus fruits, garlic, green leafy vegetables, and nuts. To help improve your liver function, it is also important to consume healthy oils like extra virgin olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids.


Consuming foods that have particular benefits for the liver can help to repair liver damage. These liver-friendly foods help to increase antioxidants in the liver which promote good liver health.

As well as incorporating liver cleansing foods in your diet, you should also avoid certain foods that affect liver function. Some foods that are bad for your liver include alcohol, salt, too much processed sugar, and fatty foods.

In this article, you will learn what scientific research says as to the best foods that are good for your liver. You will also find out how to improve liver function with a liver cleanse.

What Your Liver Does

Your liver is one of the largest organs in your body and is located under in your upper right abdomen. Researchers say that your liver plays an important role in flushing toxic substances from your body. The liver also helps to extract nutrients from food and drinks that we consume. (1)

According to doctors, your liver helps to detoxify any toxins that are in your blood. However, your liver does more. Liver function also includes breaking down fats and metabolizing carbohydrates and proteins. (1)

Ammonia is a toxic substance that is a natural process of metabolic processes. Your liver converts this toxin into a substance called urea that is eventually flushed from your system through your urine. (2)

What is a Liver Cleanse?

There are many foods that help promote good liver health and assist in cleansing toxins from your system.

A liver cleanse is another way of talking about liver-benefiting foods and drinks that help your liver to function properly. Foods that are included in a liver cleanse assist in boosting the number of detoxification enzymes in the liver. These compounds have a hepatoprotective effect; in other words, they promote good liver health, reduce inflammation in the liver, and help keep you healthy.

For a natural liver cleanse to promote good liver health, you should incorporate foods that are good for your liver.

Foods That Are Good for Your Liver

All the foods that we eat affect our liver function in a positive or negative way.

The World Journal of Gastroenterology reports that certain foods and dietary components can help improve liver function. Scientists have found that liver-healthy foods include oily fish, nuts, avocado, and olive oil. (3)

Let’s look in more detail at some of the best foods that help your liver and can increase levels of detoxification enzymes.

Garlic Is a Liver Healthy Food

Garlic is a natural liver detox food because it contains powerful antioxidants that protect the liver from oxidative stress.

Research into the detoxifying properties of garlic has shown that compounds such as allicin, alliin, and allyl cysteine protect against free radical damage. (4)

Other studies have shown that garlic liver-friendly compounds can protect the liver from toxic damage. In lab trials, compounds from garlic have been shown to protect against liver damage from medication use. Garlic can also lower the oxidation of fats in the liver and boost the liver’s defenses. (5)

There are many other ways that garlic can improve your health in general due to its antibacterial and antifungal compounds.

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If you are using garlic for its health benefits, you should always crush garlic and leave it for 10 minutes to allow the powerful detoxifying agents to form.

Broccoli and Other Vegetables Help Boost Liver Health

Broccoli can help improve liver function and is one of the many vegetables that are classed as a liver healthy food.

Research has found that extracts of broccoli sprouts help to reduce the effect of liver injury. Consuming broccoli sprout extract helped to raise detoxification liver enzymes and help protect liver function. (6)

One of the reasons why broccoli can help keep your liver healthy is that broccoli sprouts contain sulfur compounds. Some research suggests that sulfur compounds are important for liver detoxification. (38)

In one randomized controlled trial, broccoli sprout extracts increased antioxidants that helped to improve symptoms of liver damage. (7)

One trial found that the long-term consumption of broccoli helped to lower instances of fatty liver disease in mice. Scientists suggested that broccoli could help improve the liver’s metabolic function. (8)

Learn more about the many health benefits of broccoli and why you should eat more of this green vegetable.

Other vegetables that may improve liver function

Beets. Red beetroot is another food that is good for a healthy liver. Scientific studies have shown that beetroot juice can raise antioxidant and detoxifying enzymes in your liver. Scientists reported that consuming beetroot juice can help protect the liver from damage. (9) Read more about beetroot health benefits in this article.

Asparagus. Researchers have found that extracts from the asparagus plant can help protect the liver from toxic damage. Asparagus leaf and shoot extracts were found to help the liver metabolize toxins such as alcohol. (10)

Carrots. Carrot juice can be used as a liver cleanse drink because it helps to improve the liver’s ability to metabolize fat. One study showed that carrot juice also increases levels of healthy fatty acids in the liver that help to reduce inflammation. (11)

Leafy Greens Are Good for Your Liver

Cruciferous vegetables can also help improve blood markers of liver health and increase antioxidant levels.

Researchers in 2015 reported that green leafy vegetables have great potential in improving liver detoxifying enzyme levels. Vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and cress contain antioxidants that have a protective effect on the liver. (12)

We have already examined the liver-cleansing effect that broccoli has. What other leafy green vegetables help to increase levels of detoxification enzymes in the liver?

Brussels sprouts. Scientists have found that the detoxification enzymes contained in Brussels sprouts are retained even while cooking. (13) Another study found that consuming unblanched Brussels sprouts increase detoxification enzymes to cleanse the liver. (14)

Raw cabbage or sauerkraut. Compounds in raw cabbage have a positive effect on liver function because they increase liver detox enzymes. Scientists found that sauerkraut juice was especially effective in improving liver function. (15) Find out more about the amazing benefits of drinking cabbage juice.

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Kale. Scientists have found that the cruciferous vegetable kale contains liver-enhancing compounds. Trials involving rats showed that ingestion of kale boosted liver metabolism. However, researchers say that the amounts used were more than humans typically consume. (16) Learn about more reasons to include kale in your healthy diet.

Tomatoes Contain Antioxidants that Help Your Liver

Consuming more tomatoes in your diet is a good way to increase antioxidant levels in the liver.

The journal Hepatobiliary Surgery and Nutrition reported that tomatoes contain a powerful antioxidant called lycopene. In some trials, supplementing the diet with tomato extracts reduced liver inflammation and improved liver function. (17)

Various clinical trials have found that tomato-related products such as ketchup, tomato juice, and pizza sauce may contain more lycopene than fresh tomatoes. Although more research needs to be done, scientists have found that lycopene in humans can also have a powerful antioxidant effect and protect against various chronic diseases. (18, 19)

Learn about more potent antioxidants that can boost your health and protect against disease.

Coffee Helps Protect the Health of Your Liver

Coffee has surprising positive effects on preventing liver disease and in helping to increase detoxifying enzymes in the liver.

Many clinical trials involving humans have shown that coffee is a food that is good for the liver. For example, a study from 2017 involving over 1,300 men found that coffee intake decreased levels of toxic liver enzymes. (20)

Other studies have shown that drinking coffee can help protect against effects of various liver diseases. Among the liver-protective effects of coffee are liver tissue scarring, viral hepatitis, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and liver cancer. (20)

Research from 2016 found that coffee consumption can help to boost liver’s health. Coffee has a protective effect on your liver because it increases liver enzymes that kill off toxins. Consuming 2 or more cups of coffee a day can help to reduce the effects of liver disease such as fibrosis and cirrhosis. (21)

If you are interested in learning more about the health benefits of coffee, please read this article.

Green Tea Promotes Healthy Liver Function

Another natural liver cleanse drink is green tea because it contains liver-protecting antioxidants.

A meta-analysis on the result of 15 studies into the protective effect of green tea found promising results. Green tea contains catechins, especially epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). This has antioxidant, anti-inflammation, and blood fat-reducing effects. Humans’ studies have shown that green tea consumption decreases the risk of various chronic liver diseases. (22)

A review of studies showed that green tea increases antioxidant levels in the liver. Green tea protects your liver from injury because it increases liver detoxification enzymes that can protect against liver tissue scarring. Green tea also helps offset the effects of oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. (23)

Find out more about the amazing benefits of drinking green tea every day and why Matcha green tea is even better for your health.

Blueberries and Cranberries are Liver-Friendly Foods

Part of a liver healthy diet to cleanse your liver should include berries such as cranberries and blueberries.

One study involving rats found that blueberries have liver-friendly compounds that can help prevent liver tissue damage due to toxins. (24)

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Another review of foods that have liver-protective effects found that cranberries help protect from liver damage caused by toxins. Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins that have a hepatoprotective effect. Cranberries helped to detoxify the liver and help normalize liver function. (25)

Grapes are another of the liver healthy foods that help improve liver function. Extracts from grapes, their seed, and skin have a protective effect on liver function. Also, in some studies, consuming grape juice, especially black grape juice, increased detoxification enzyme levels in the liver. (25)

You can find more useful information about berries and how they can improve your health in my e-book The Healing Berry Guide which will teach you how to transform your health with berries.

Turmeric Promotes Good Liver Heath

The antioxidant compound curcumin that is found in turmeric also acts as a natural liver detoxifying herb.

The journal Liver International reported that curcumin helps to stop the damage caused by toxins in the liver. The antioxidant properties of curcumin help to reduce inflammation and help to treat or manage many various liver diseases. (26)

Another study found that curcumin limits the effect of inflammatory enzymes in the liver and reduce the effects of liver inflammation. (27)

Find out why turmeric is good, not just for your liver, but also for your general health, including helping to reduce pain. You can also find in my previous article how to increase turmeric absorption in the body to increase even more its health benefits.

Ginseng is an Herb that is Good for Your Liver

Another food that is good for liver repair and can be part of your healthy liver diet is ginseng.

The reasons why ginseng benefits your liver is that it is a powerful natural antioxidant that reduces inflammation. Ginseng promotes liver health due to compounds called ginsenosides. These increase antioxidant and detoxifying enzymes in the liver that help remove liver toxins. (28)

Other herbs that are particularly good for liver cleansing:

Burdock – This root has antioxidant activity (39) and helps the liver heal from alcohol damage and protect it from further damage. (40) Burdock can also can prevent most of the liver tissue damage caused by acetaminophen (paracetamol) overdose in rats. (41)

Dandelion – A study has shown that dandelion leaf extract may represent a promising approach for preventing and treating obesity-related nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. (42) The root itself also has a protective action against alcohol-induced toxicity in the liver. (43)

Wild yam – Wild yam root has been known to be very effective for liver health. A study from 2o15 mentions that wild yam inhibits abnormal enlargement of the liver. (44)

Yellow dock – Traditionally, yellow dock root has been used as a remedy for chronic skin conditions, psoriasis, constipation, anemia, jaundice and to improve the general health and function of the liver and lymph. (45)

Milk thistle seeds – The seeds are used by people who suffer from liver damage due to conditions chronic liver diseases, cirrhosis, hepatitis and toxin-induced liver diseases. (46, 47)

Citrus Fruits Like Lemons Help Cleanse the Liver

Other foods that also help your liver include vitamin C-rich fruits like lemons, limes, and grapefruits.

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Research published in 2017 found that lemon juice can help to prevent the toxic effect of too much alcohol in your system. Consuming lemon juice helped to reduce the accumulation of liver toxins and boost liver metabolism. Lemons are also rich sources of vitamin C and other antioxidants. (29)

Some studies suggest that vitamin C itself could also have a protective effect on liver health. (30)

Research into the particular benefits of lemon juice on the liver suggests that lemon juice could prevent and treat alcohol-related liver injury. (29)

Learn more about the many health benefits of consuming lemons every day.

Nuts are Good for Your Liver

Increasing your consumption of nuts can have benefits to your liver health and improve liver function.

The World Journal of Gastroenterology reports that one of the best nuts for liver repair are walnuts. A 6-month study involving over 100 patients found that increasing walnut consumption resulted in better blood markers of liver health. Walnuts are also good sources of omega-3 and omega-6, both of which are also natural antioxidants. (30)

One study from Korea listed nuts and seeds among the foods that are good for the liver. Increasing the intake of vitamin C, vitamin K, omega-3, and nuts could help prevent nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. (31)

Find out how many walnuts you need to eat daily to get the health benefits from them.

Omega-3 Helps Boost Liver Health

Oily fish and omega-3 fatty acids are foods that can help cleanse the liver from a buildup of toxins.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna. Taking omega-3 could have a positive impact on your liver health.

Some studies have shown that omega-3 supplements can help regulate liver metabolism and reduce inflammation. Research has shown that omega-3 fats may help in treating nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. (32)

Other studies point to the fact that oily fish should be included on the list of foods that are good for liver repair. (30)

Learn about the many more benefits of taking omega-3 supplements you can get for your health.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil is Good for a Healthy Liver

Another liver healthy food that may help protect your liver by reducing inflammation is extra virgin olive oil.

Research published in 2018 found that virgin olive oil reduces inflammatory responses in the liver. Olive oil also helps kill off free radicals in the liver that can result in oxidative stress injury. (31)

One study involving 93 men found that consuming up to 20 grams of olive oil daily helped improve blood markers of liver health in a 6-month period. (32)

Another study found that combining omega-3 with olive oil helped the liver break down fats easier and reduce the number of inflammatory enzymes in the liver. (33)

If you want to learn more about why you should use olive oil in your diet, please see my article on extra virgin olive oil benefits. Olive oil is also one of the ingredients in this 2 ingredient liver detox drink.

Water Helps Flush Toxins from Your Liver

It is important not to forget the importance of drinking enough fluids to help flush toxins from your liver.

Water promotes liver health because water helps the liver to remove toxins. You can also create a liver detox juice by adding some lemon juice to water to help water detoxify the liver more efficiently.

Get some delicious recipes to make your own healthy flavored water drinks to keep yourself healthy.

Foods That are Bad for the Liver

To help cleanse your liver, it is important to include plenty of foods that are good for your liver. This helps to stimulate the liver to produce detoxification enzymes that help keep your liver healthy.

Of course, it is also important not to overload your liver with toxins that can lead to fat accumulation in the liver and impair liver health.

What are some of the worst foods for your liver?

Alcohol is bad for your liver

Drinking too many alcoholic drinks puts a lot of stress on your liver that can result in liver damage.

Researchers say that the over-consumption of alcohol can lead to fatty liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis, and cirrhosis. Alcohol contains toxins that can damage liver cells and increase the negative effects of reactive oxygen species. (34)

Learn how too much alcohol can also damage your kidneys.

Fatty foods can damage your liver health

If you want to keep your liver healthy and help prevent the effects of poor liver health, it’s important to stay away from fatty foods.

A review of many studies on the effects of a fatty diet on health found that increased consumption of red meat and fats can be a root cause of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. (35)

Sugar negatively impacts on your liver

If you want to increase the effectiveness of liver cleansing foods in your diet, you should cut back on sugar intake.

Research published in 2018 found that a diet high in fructose and sugar can lead to chronic liver diseases. The over-consumption of sugar can lead to obesity and an increased risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. (36)

Find out about the 10 signs that you are eating too much sugar.

Salt impairs liver health

Having too much salt in your diet can undo the good effects of consuming liver-healthy foods.

Researchers have found that a high salt intake doesn’t just result in high blood pressure, but can increase a person’s risk of liver damage. The damage to liver health is due to an imbalance in antioxidants in the system that can result in liver tissue cell death. (37)

Further reading: If you are interested in detoxifying your body, you can find more useful information in my e-book The Detox Guide. This guide will teach you how to use detox to cleanse and energize your body naturally and safely.

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