What foods can help my liver get rid of toxins?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
The following are some foods that can help boost your liver's detoxifying function:
  • Dark berries such as blueberries and blackberries will make it easier for your liver to get rid of certain toxins.
  • Hot peppers have capsaicin, which boosts enzymes responsible for detoxifying the liver. As a rule, the hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin.

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Leopold D. Galland, MD
Internal Medicine
The liver performs two phases of detoxification: Phase One (oxidation) and Phase Two (conjugation).

Foods can increase Phase One liver detoxification and at the same time balance it with an increase in Phase Two detoxification. They include:
  • Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts
  • Oranges and tangerines
  • Caraway seeds and dill seeds
No surprise that these foods are recommended for their health benefits.
Stephen H. Atkins, PhD
Integrative Medicine

Here are seven important foods you may want to begin incorporating into your diet in order to maintain a healthy liver.

  • Garlic: Garlic contains numerous sulfur-containing compounds that activate the liver enzymes responsible for flushing out toxins from the body. This bulbous relative of the onion also contains allicin and selenium, two powerful nutrients proven to help protect the liver from toxic damage, and aid it in the detoxification process.
  • Grapefruit: Grapefruit is rich in natural vitamin C and antioxidants, two powerful liver cleansers. Like garlic, grapefruit contains compounds that boost the production of liver detoxification enzymes. It also contains a flavonoid compound known as naringenin that causes the liver to burn fat rather than store it.
  • Green Tea: Green tea is loaded with catechins, a type of plant antioxidant that has been shown in studies to eliminate liver fat accumulation and promote proper liver function. This powerful herbal beverage also protects the liver against toxins that would otherwise accumulate and cause serious damage.
  • Green Vegetables: Leafy green vegetables such as bitter gourd, arugula, dandelion greens, spinach, mustard greens, and chicory also contain numerous cleansing compounds that neutralize heavy metals, which can bear heavily on the liver. Leafy greens also eliminate pesticides and herbicides from the body, and spur the creation and flow of cleansing bile.
  • Avocado: Rich in glutathione-producing compounds, avocados actively promote liver health by protecting it against toxic overload, and boosting its cleansing power. Some research has shown that eating one or two avocados a week for as little as 30 days can repair a damaged liver.
  • Walnuts: Walnuts, which contain high levels of l-arginine, an amino acid, glutathione, and omega-3 fatty acids, also help detoxify the liver of disease-causing ammonia. Walnuts also help oxygenate the blood, and extracts from their hulls are often used in liver-cleansing formulas.
  • Turmeric: Turmeric, one of the most powerful foods for maintaining a healthy liver, has been shown to actively protect the liver against toxic damage, and even regenerate damaged liver cells. Turmeric also boosts the natural production of bile, shrinks engorged hepatic ducts, and improves overall function of the gallbladder, another body-purifying organ.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.