We spent a lot of time talking about the liver when I was in graduate school.  Maintaining a healthy liver is very important for overall health, and what you eat can have a huge effect on it!

After you eat a meal, everything that is absorbed through your gut is sent to the liver for processing.  The liver repackages nutrients for whatever your tissues and internal organs need, and then sends it along its way.  This is a very important job- if your liver isn’t working well, the rest of your body doesn’t get what it needs.

The liver also picks up anything that is toxic or unnecessary and makes sure it exits your body in one way or another (I won’t get explicit, you know how your body gets rid of stuff).

Here are some tips for eating to support your most vital organ of metabolism:

Limit your alcohol consumption:  Alcohol messes with your liver in two ways.  It keeps the liver busy processing the alcohol instead of nutrients, and it depletes fuel the liver needs to metabolize other things.  The less alcohol you consume the happier your liver will be.

Avoid high fructose corn syrup (HFCS):  The extra fructose in HFCS also puts a strain on the normal function of the liver.  Very high fructose intake has been shown to result in fat deposits in the liver.  Fat does not belong there, and can result in a variety of diseases.

Eat plenty of antioxidants:  These compounds help your liver do its work; they are particularly helpful in assisting the process of detoxification.  To see which foods are high in antioxidants see this post.

Get your B vitamins through your diet:  All of the B vitamins drive the metabolic process in the liver.  Make sure you’re getting the B vitamins you need from food.  Foods that are good sources of B vitamins include:

  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cabbage
  • Mushrooms
  • Beans
  • Almonds
  • Organic meat and dairy

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