*Researchers identify 12 top foods, drinks that protects organ from damage
*Cirrhosis, liver cancer incidence higher in people with type 2 diabetes
Physical activity, including walking and muscle-strengthening activities, were associated with significantly reduced risk of cirrhosis-related death, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) 2019. Chronic liver disease is increasing, partly due to the obesity epidemic, and currently there are no guidelines for the optimal type of exercise for the prevention of cirrhosis-related mortality. Researchers hope these findings will help provide specific exercise recommendations for patients at risk for cirrhosis and its complications.
What foods protect the liver? The liver is responsible for breaking down carbohydrates, making glucose, and detoxing the body. It also stores nutrients and creates bile, which is necessary to digest and absorb the nutrients in food properly. There are many foods and drinks that a person can consume to help protect the liver.
Liver health is vital for overall health. Liver dysfunction can lead to liver disease, metabolic disorder, and even type 2 diabetes. While it may be impossible to manage all risk factors, consuming certain foods and drinks may help promote liver health.A report published by Medical News Today uncovered the best foods for liver health, their beneficial effects for the organ, and some foods to avoid.
Some of the best foods and drinks that are good for the liver include:
Drinking coffee offers protection against fatty liver disease. A 2013 review that appears in the journal Liver International suggests that over 50 percent of people in the United States consume coffee daily.Coffee appears to be good for the liver, especially because it protects against issues such as fatty liver disease. The review also notes that daily coffee intake may help reduce the risk of chronic liver disease. It may also protect the liver from damaging conditions, such as liver cancer..
Consuming oatmeal is an easy way to add fibre to the diet. Fibre is an important tool for digestion, and the specific fibres in oats may be especially helpful for the liver. Oats and oatmeal are high in compounds called beta-glucans. As a 2017 study in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences reports, beta-glucans are very biologically active in the body. They help modulate the immune system and fight against inflammation, and they may be especially helpful in the fight against diabetes and obesity.
3. Green tea
Consuming green tea may help reduce overall fat content. A 2015 study in the World Journal of Gastroenterology notes that green tea may help reduce overall fat content, fight against oxidative stress, and reduce other signs of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Adding garlic to the diet may also help stimulate the liver. A 2016 study that appears in the journal Advanced Biomedical Research notes that garlic consumption reduces body weight and fat content in people with NAFLD, with no changes to lean body mass. This is beneficial, as being overweight or obese is a contributing factor to NAFLD.
Many dark berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries, contain antioxidants called polyphenols, which may help protect the liver from damage.As a study in the World Journal of Gastroenterology suggests, regularly eating berries may also help stimulate the immune system.
The study that features in the World Journal of Gastroenterology reports that grapes, grape juice, and grape seeds are rich in antioxidants that may help the liver by reducing inflammation and preventing liver damage.Eating whole, seeded grapes is a simple way to add these compounds to the diet. A grape seed extract supplement may also provide antioxidants.
The World Journal of Gastroenterology study also mentions grapefruit as a helpful food. Grapefruit contains two primary antioxidants: naringin and naringenin. These may help protect the liver from injury by reducing inflammation and protecting the liver cells.The compounds may also reduce fat buildup in the liver and increase the enzymes that burn fat. This may make grapefruit a helpful tool in the fight against NAFLD.
8. Prickly pear
The fruit and juice of the prickly pear may also be beneficial to liver health. The World Journal of Gastroenterology study suggests that compounds in the fruit may help protect the organ.Most research focuses on extracts from the fruit, however, so studies that focus on the fruit or juice itself are necessary.
9. Plant foods in general
Avocados and other plant foods contain compounds linked closely to liver health.A 2015 study that appears in the journal Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine reports that a large number of plant foods may be helpful for the liver.
These include: avocado, banana, barley, beets and beet juice, broccoli, brown rice, carrots, fig, greens such as kale and collards, lemon, papaya and watermelon.People should eat these foods as part of a whole and balanced diet.
10. Fatty fish
As a study in the World Journal of Gastroenterology points out, consuming fatty fish and fish oil supplements may help reduce the impact of conditions such as NAFLD.Fatty fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are the good fats that help reduce inflammation. These fats may be especially helpful in the liver, as they appear to prevent the buildup of excess fats and maintain enzyme levels in the liver.
The study recommends eating oily fish two or more times each week. If it is not easy to incorporate fatty fish such as herring or salmon into the diet, try taking a daily fish oil supplement.
The same study says that eating nuts may be another simple way to keep the liver healthy and protect against NAFLD. Nuts generally contain unsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, and antioxidants. These compounds may help prevent NAFLD, as well as reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.
Eating a handful of nuts, such as walnuts or almonds, each day may help maintain liver health. People should be sure not to eat too many, however, as nuts are high in calories.
12. Olive oil
Eating too much fat is not good for the liver, but some fats may help it. According to the World Journal of Gastroenterology study, adding olive oil to the diet may help reduce oxidative stress and improve liver function. This is due to the high content of unsaturated fatty acids in the oil.
Foods to avoid
In general, finding balance in the diet will keep the liver healthy. However, there are also some foods and food groups that the liver finds harder to process. These include:
*Fatty foods: These include fried foods, fast food, and takeout from many restaurants. Packaged snacks, chips, and nuts may also be surprisingly high in fats.
*Starchy foods: These include breads, pasta, and cakes or baked goods.
*Sugar: Cutting back on sugar and sugary foods such as cereals, baked goods, and candies may help reduce the stress on the liver.
*Salt: Simple ways to reduce salt intake include eating out less, avoiding canned meats or vegetables, and reducing or avoiding salted deli meats and bacon.
*Alcohol: Anyone looking to give their liver a break should consider reducing their intake of alcohol or eliminating it from the diet completely.