Liver Diet – Diet Plan Chart, Foods to Eat and Avoid

The liver is one of the body’s largest and most important organs. It is responsible for detoxifying the body and performing various other functions such as metabolising fats, carbohydrates, and proteins; regulating hormones; keeping blood sugar levels steady; producing ketones; and aiding digestion.

It also produces proteins to help transport fats around the body, converts excess sugar (glucose) into glycogen, and manufactures cholesterol. The body stores glucose in the form of glycogen.

Liver problems can result from several factors, including poor diet, drinking, and genetic abnormalities. Fortunately, making healthy lifestyle changes can help you manage them.

Warning signs of a liver issue include jaundice (yellowish skin and eyes), swollen legs and ankles, itchy skin, nausea or vomiting, fatigue, and loss of appetite. If these symptoms appear, they should be addressed quickly with the proper diet or medication.

Healthy Liver Diet – An Overview

Maintaining a healthy liver requires a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and fatty fish. Fibre-rich foods like vegetables, beans, and nuts also benefit liver health. Furthermore, it is crucial to choose unsaturated fats over saturated or trans fats. No single meal can improve liver health, but a balanced diet can help you maintain a healthy liver.

Staying hydrated and drinking enough water is essential to promote liver function and facilitate the removal of toxins from the body. Regular exercise is also vital for maintaining overall health, which may positively impact the liver. Furthermore, a healthy lifestyle and diet can lower your risk of developing liver-related diseases and help ensure your liver is functioning correctly.

Regarding hydration, water is usually the best choice for those wanting to avoid sugar. To protect your liver, it is wise to limit your intake of alcoholic drinks and foods high in sugar and saturated fats. It includes fried foods and foods with added sugar, as well as sugary beverages.

Consuming a diet high in sugar, particularly from sugary drinks, can contribute to an increased risk of developing the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). When this happens, the liver accumulates extra fat, which can lead to long-term health problems.

Foods to Consume in a Healthy Liver Diet

Citrus Fruits

Lemons and limes contain citric acid, potassium, vitamin C, and bioflavonoids. All these support liver detoxification, boost energy levels and reduce inflammation. Grapefruit, another citrus fruit, is abundant in vitamin C, folic acid, phenolic acid, potassium, calcium, iron, and antioxidants.

Among the antioxidants, naringin is the most concentrated flavonoid. Studies have shown that this antioxidant helps protect the liver from damage.

Coffee

Coffee has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can benefit the liver. However, it is essential to skip sugar, milk, cream, etc. to coffee as excessive sugar intake can harm the liver. 

Studies have shown that coffee’s diterpenes can aid in detoxification. As a result, it can be especially beneficial for people with cirrhosis or liver fibrosis. Both decaffeinated and caffeinated coffee in moderation have advantages and can benefit the liver.

Tea

Tea, especially green tea, is known to have many beneficial properties. These properties include anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The reason for these properties is the bioactive substances in tea, particularly catechins. 

Studies have indicated that catechins may reduce the risk of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). Additionally, they may provide a protective shield against liver cancer. However, it is essential to be aware that excessive green tea supplements can harm the liver.

Cruciferous Vegetables 

Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and mustard greens are healthy for the liver. These foods are high in fibre, magnesium, manganese, and potassium. They also contain chlorophyll, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. Chlorophyll helps the liver by removing toxic elements and heavy metals. 

Studies suggest that the phytochemicals and antioxidants present in these foods may help to prevent liver cancer.

Grapes

Grapes and berries contain antioxidants and fibre, with grapes benefiting those with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). Resveratrol, an antioxidant found in grapes, helps limit the progression of liver damage in those with NAFLD. 

Studies have also shown that resveratrol supplements from grape extract can reduce inflammation in NAFLD patients. As NAFLD progresses due to oxidative stress, the antioxidants from food and supplements help to slow down this process.

Nuts

Nuts, especially walnuts, are an excellent source of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which help to prevent fat from accumulating. Walnuts contain the amino acid arginine. It is necessary for removing ammonia from the body. Additionally, walnuts also have omega-3 fatty acids and glutathione. As a result, it helps reduce inflammation, hepatic steatosis, and the number of lipids in the body.

Studies have found that eating 28 grams of walnuts daily as part of a Mediterranean diet may lessen your likelihood of developing NAFLD.

The HealthifyMe Note

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help safeguard your liver, a crucial organ for your overall well-being. Eating a balanced and nutritious diet with anti-inflammatory and fibre-rich foods can help your liver to function at its best. As a result, it can reduce the risk of cancer and liver illnesses. 

Foods to Avoid for Liver Diet

Fatty liver disease is the initial stage of liver cirrhosis and can potentially develop in alcoholic and nonalcoholic individuals. Poor diet and weight gain can significantly increase the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which results from an accumulation of fat in the liver resulting in inflammation and scarring.

Avoid red meats, processed foods, trans fats, alcohol, and refined sugars. These food items can raise blood glucose levels and insulin release, resulting in fatty deposits and inflammation. In addition, consuming alcohol can reduce the liver’s production of glutathione, sulphur compounds, vitamins, and minerals. As a result, it can lead to an increase in fatty acid accumulation, damaging the liver.

The HealthifyMe Note

Focus on consuming whole grains, beans, nuts, vegetables, and berries while limiting your intake of red meat, sugary, fatty and processed foods. Additionally, quitting alcohol and smoking can benefit your liver’s health. A healthy diet can be a natural way to preserve your liver, so make healthy choices!

Healthy Liver Diet: Reference Meal Plan

Here is a sample weekly meal plan for a healthy liver diet:

Monday

Breakfast: Oats porridge with milk and nuts

Mid-morning snack: Green tea or an Orange

Lunch: Brown rice with steamed vegetables and dal

Mid-meal evening snack: Roasted chickpeas with spices with green or herbal tea

Dinner: Baked fish with baked potatoes and steamed broccoli

Tuesday

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with whole wheat toast and tomato, green tea

Mid-morning snack: Apple slices with almond butter

Lunch: Quinoa with roasted vegetables and chicken

Mid-meal evening snack: Baked sweet potato with low-fat sour cream

Dinner: Grilled tofu with steamed brown rice and sautéed spinach

Wednesday

Breakfast: Muesli with low-fat milk and berries

Mid-morning snack: Carrot and celery sticks with hummus or Green Tea with Walnuts

Lunch: Whole wheat roti with lentil curry and steamed vegetables

Mid-meal evening snack: Boiled edamame with spices and green mint tea

Dinner: Grilled chicken with boiled brown rice and steamed broccoli

Thursday

Breakfast: Avocado toast with scrambled eggs and green tea

Mid-morning snack: Greek yoghurt with berries

Lunch: Brown rice with steamed vegetables and tofu curry

Mid-meal evening snack: Roasted almonds and green tea

Dinner: Baked salmon with boiled sweet potatoes and steamed asparagus

Friday

Breakfast: Oats porridge with nuts and dried fruit

Mid-morning snack: Apple slices with almond butter

Lunch: Whole wheat roti with lentil curry and steamed vegetables

Mid-meal evening snack: Boiled edamame with spices and green tea

Dinner: Grilled tofu with brown rice and sautéed spinach

Saturday

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with whole wheat toast and tomato, green tea

Mid-morning snack: Banana smoothie with low-fat yoghurt

Lunch: Quinoa with roasted vegetables and chicken

Mid-meal evening snack: Baked sweet potato with low-fat sour cream

Dinner: Grilled chicken with boiled brown rice and steamed broccoli

Sunday

Breakfast: Muesli with low-fat milk and berries

Mid-morning snack: Carrot and celery sticks with hummus

Lunch: Brown rice with steamed vegetables and dal

Mid-meal evening snack: Roasted chickpeas with spices and lemon mint green tea

Dinner: Baked fish with baked potatoes and steamed broccoli

This meal plan is high in fibre, protein, and antioxidants, which can help support a healthy liver. It is also low in unhealthy fats, added sugars, and processed foods, which can harm the liver.

It is important to remember that everyone’s nutritional needs are different. Hence, it is always a good idea to consult a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to determine the best meal plan for your needs. You can reach out to a HealthifyMe nutritionist to get a customised plan that suits your needs.

Conclusion

The liver plays a significant role in our bodies. Although it is capable of self-care, certain foods and beverages can assist in keeping it healthy.

However, consuming certain foods can harm the liver, so it is vital to avoid them. One should choose foods beneficial to the liver to prevent future health issues. 

A diet consisting of green vegetables, low-fat dairy, low-sugar fruits, lean meats, and whole grains is essential in preventing and treating fatty liver.

In addition, setting goals, behaviour modification, and regular exercise are crucial for maintaining liver health and overall well-being. With patience and persistence, having a fatty liver can be reversed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What foods are good for liver repair?

A: Making dietary and lifestyle adjustments are the main treatments for fatty liver problems. A diet for fatty liver disease should include nutritious grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats. It is also important to watch portion sizes. Exercise, dietary supplements, and getting enough sleep are essential for reversing fatty liver disease.

Q. What are the 5 liver superfoods?

A; Although there isn’t a particular food that improves liver health, a balanced diet can help you maintain a healthy liver. That suggests putting vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, and fatty fish in your meal. Five superfoods include cruciferous vegetables, turmeric, blueberries, garlic and fatty fish.

Q. What foods damage the liver?

A: Consuming high amounts of sugar and salt are stressful for the liver. Be mindful of packaged or processed foods that contain excessive salt, like cured meats, canned vegetables and soups, sauces and salad dressings, condiments like ketchup, packaged noodles and pastas, some cereals, and juices. In addition, the liver has significant difficulty breaking down saturated fats. Limit high-fat foods such as hot dogs, sausage, bacon, and salami.

Q. What drinks help repair the liver?

A: One of the most crucial organs in our body is the liver. It is responsible for various functions, like detoxification, enzyme activation, and more. For example, you can have mint tea that contains menthol to detoxify the liver. Further, you can have turmeric tea to remove toxins from the body. Another effective detox drink is lemon and ginger tea. 

The Research Sources

1. Hernández-Aquino E, Muriel P. Beneficial effects of naringenin in liver diseases: Molecular mechanisms. World J Gastroenterol. 2018 Apr 28;24(16):1679-1707. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v24.i16.1679. PMID: 29713125; PMCID: PMC5922990.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29713125/

2. Contaldo F, Santarpia L, Pasanisi F. Chronic inflammatory liver diseases and coffee intake. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2019 Sep;22(5):389-392. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000586. PMID: 31219824.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31219824/

3. Zhou J, Ho CT, Long P, Meng Q, Zhang L, Wan X. Preventive Efficiency of Green Tea and Its Components on Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. J Agric Food Chem. 2019 May 15;67(19):5306-5317. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.8b05032. Epub 2019 Apr 1. PMID: 30892882.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30892882/

4. Crowley E, Rowan NJ, Faller D, Friel AM. Natural and Synthetic Isothiocyanates Possess Anticancer Potential Against Liver and Prostate Cancer In Vitro. Anticancer Res. 2019 Jul;39(7):3469-3485. doi: 10.21873/anticanres.13493. PMID: 31262871.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31262871/

5. Theodotou M, Fokianos K, Moniatis D, Kadlenic R, Chrysikou A, Aristotelous A, Mouzouridou A, Diakides J, Stavrou E. Effect of resveratrol on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Exp Ther Med. 2019 Jul;18(1):559-565. doi: 10.3892/etm.2019.7607. Epub 2019 May 23. PMID: 31316594; PMCID: PMC6566048.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6566048/

6. Yaskolka Meir A, Rinott E, Tsaban G, Zelicha H, Kaplan A, Rosen P, Shelef I, Youngster I, Shalev A, Blüher M, Ceglarek U, Stumvoll M, Tuohy K, Diotallevi C, Vrhovsek U, Hu F, Stampfer M, Shai I. Effect of green-Mediterranean diet on intrahepatic fat: the DIRECT PLUS randomised controlled trial. Gut. 2021 Nov;70(11):2085-2095. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2020-323106. Epub 2021 Jan 18. PMID: 33461965; PMCID: PMC8515100.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8515100/

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