7 Essential Foods for Liver Health

Author: Angela Fleming   Date Posted:13 March 2017 

Love your Liver with these foods!


The liver plays an integral role in the metabolic processes of the body. It is involved in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals and pharmaceuticals medications, hormones and alcohol. It is responsible for bile synthesis and secretion as well as the detoxification of environmental pollutants and chemicals.


The liver manufactures enzymes, transporter proteins and transport mechanisms for Vitamin A, iron, zinc and copper. Everything we consume and digest travels through the hepatic portal vein straight to the liver where it gets stored, processed, manufactured or removed for waste. This organ is one busy, complexly designed instrument that plays a pivotal role in keeping our body healthy and functioning sufficiently.


The health of the liver ultimately depends on what we put in our mouths. If our diet is rich in nutrients from fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds and less in the processed packaged types, I’d imagine every little hepatocyte will be happy to work for you! You will be smiling from the inside…..literally! 


So what foods make your liver love you? Try adding these foods to your daily menu;



Lemon contains the constituent hesperidin. Hesperidin is a bioflavonoid which is useful for the reduction of free radicals, which in turn reduces toxins. Lemons also have a pH of 2 which is then same as our stomach acid. This is beneficial as it aids in the digestion of substances that ultimately end up in the liver. Try squeezing some fresh lemon juice in warm water before a meal to get your digestive juices flowing!



Garlic contains sulphur compounds, mainly allicin which supports the sulfation pathway of the liver.  Sulfation is the conjugation of toxins with sulphur-containing compounds. Sulfation is involved in the processing and excretion of hormones, neurotransmitters, environmental toxins and xenobiotics. Garlic also contains selenium, an antioxidant which assists in liver detoxification.

Garlic is great added to any savoury dish. It is best consumed fresh and as close to its raw state as possible. This will ensure the potency of allicin will remains in its entirety.   


Cruciferous vegetables:

Cruciferous vegetable such as broccoli, cabbage, kale and cauliflower are screaming with beneficial nutrients. These vegetables contain glucosinolates, which are sulphur containing compounds. Glucosinolates are metabolised into indoles and isothiocyanates by the liver, which support metabolic processes. Research suggests these substances are responsible for inducing phase I and phase II enzymes in the liver. These enzymes react to make substances more water soluble, rendering them adequate for appropriate distribution within the body.




Turmeric covers many bases when it comes to loving your liver. It is high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties and is hepatoprotective. It also acts as a choleretic and chologogue which is actively important when it comes to the health of your liver. Reducing inflammation and avoiding free radical damage is fundamental to keeping your liver in good health. Try adding some turmeric to your scrambled eggs, guacamole or smoothie. 


Bitter greens:

Bitter greens such as rocket, endive and watercress are beneficial for preparing our digestive system for the food we consume. Bitter tasting foods stimulate the upper digestive tract via the bitter taste buds on our tongue. This is particularly beneficial for promoting bile flow from the liver. The liver produces 600mL-1L of bile per day. Bile is important for emulsification of fats and removal of waste products. Try eating a handful of bitter greens before your main meal to get your digestive system prepared and ready to do its job effectively.   


Globe artichoke:

The globe artichoke is used in herbal medicine for its affinity for the liver. Research and traditional use suggest it has hepatoprotective and hepatorestorative properties; protects liver cells against damage and restores the integrity of liver tissues. It exerts choleretic and chologogue activity; increases the production of bile from the liver and its release. The leaves and heart of the globe artichoke make a tasty edition to any meal. Enjoy them marinated, baked, steamed or fried.



in order to metabolise nutrients effectively, the liver undergoes 2 phases of detoxification; phase I and phase II. In a nutshell phase I converts a substance into a less harmful one via oxidation, reduction and hydrolysis reactions. Phase II then conjugates the less harmful substances making them more water soluble for easier excretion and delivery. Rosemary enhances phase II detoxification. Rosemary tastes amazing in a spice rub for meats and fish and sprinkled over roasted potatoes. 

Try experimenting with these nutritious delights and making them a staple in your culinary repertoire. Your liver will love you for it!!    


Written by Angela Fleming
Angela Fleming

Angela (BHSc Naturopathy) is a qualified naturopath who strongly believes in living a healthy and happy lifestyle. Angela believes being active, taking time out for yourself on a regular basis and consuming a balanced healthy diet (with the odd sneaky treat included now and then) is the fundamental key to keeping our minds and bodies in good health.

Angela loves to pass on her knowledge of healthy and happy living to her two young children, who love to experiment in the kitchen with her and train alongside her in Karate.

Comments (3)

Liver Health

23 March 2017

foods for liver health

By: on 22 March 2017
Great advice - thankyou.


By: on 22 March 2017
Thanks for this informative page. Simple, easy, rational, and natural

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