We all know how to sink a gin tonic or ten, but when it comes to undoing the weekend’s debauchery, the nation appears misguided (while a Pad Thai and Coke may qualify as ~self-care~ on your Instagram story, it’s not boosting your liver).
To that end, we sought expert nutritional advice to bring you information that won’t have you purchasing snake oil smoothies on the dark web (nor languishing with urine so dark and brooding it looks like it should be doing a philosophy degree).
Of course, the best short term way to cleanse your liver is to provide your body with adequate water. And if you suspect you have any underlying liver issues whatsoever then you should seek professional medical advice.
But if you have a functioning liver which you occasionally neglect; you might be interested in the foods you can eat to show your body some love.
As the Gastroenterology Society of Australia states, “The liver is the body’s ‘detoxifier’… The cells within [which] contain a number of powerful enzymes that break down many toxins or chemicals that can be found in some of the things we eat [or drink].”
“Any alcohol that you consume is processed in the liver… The liver also is the place where any medicines or herbal supplements etc that you take are broken down further.”
With the right meals between your chompers, then, you can more easily flush out foreign chemicals (like the ones you pick up from the environment, processed foods and alcohol).
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The latest Australian Dietary Guidelines support this claim, suggesting that a diet rich in fibre sourced from fruit, veggies, and whole-grain, along with small amounts of non-red meat, as well as low-fat dairy and healthy monounsaturated fats (like avocado) should take precedence in your shopping trolley.
Chief among them, Well Good – a wellness news and lifestyle site, who spoke to nutritionist Charles Passler, founder of Pure Change – claims, are eight foods that you should eat “every day.”
Have at ’em.
“Eating garlic helps activate the liver detox enzymes,” explains Dr. Passler. Not only that, but garlic also contains 39 different antibacterial agents, making it a smart choice for protecting your cuerpo against illnesses.
“To best make use of this flavor-packed food, opt for organic and fresh garlic whenever possible,” Well Good adds.
What The Betoota Advocate is for your funny bone, this humble underground veggie is for your hepatic vein. Thanks to betroot’s high antioxidant content and ability to improve exercise performance, not to mention its ability to “activate liver enzymes and [affect] bile, which helps break down and absorb healthy fats and fat-soluble nutrients like vitamin E” (Dr. Passler), beetroot can help your liver “escort” toxins out of your body in bowel movements.
Who knew ‘slinkies’ were so good for you (apart from Granny Smith?) In other words: apples, which contain mucho fibre, can aid in cleaning out your bowels and introducing friendly bacteria. That’s provided they are organic (the non-organic variety are known to be one of the worst offending fruits for containing pesticides, which gives your liver even more work to do).
Broccoli sprouts are “rich in antioxidants and boost up glutathione even better than straight broccoli, which means they support both phases of liver detoxification,” Dr. Passler told Well Good.
What’s not to love? Go for a two-cup serving of watermelon and your bile-buster will thank you (it also helps keep your water-levels up).
It turns out Qantas was onto something with their chicken edamame salad: as Dr. Passler points out – if you’ve been feeling bloated or constipated for more than three days, you could maybe use some more fermented foods in your life.
“Kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi – all of these tangy treats introduce gut-friendly bacteria to colonize the intestines and promote healthy elimination,” (Well Good).
Not only are they known to boost your brain, but walnuts are not so shabby in the liver department either.
“First off, walnuts help increase circulation and blood flow so toxins are more efficiently transported from different points in your body to your liver,” Dr. Passler told Well Good.
“So next time you head out for happy hour, make sure you’ve got this walnut crumble on hand for breakfast the morning after – your brain, liver, and taste buds will thank you.”
Although it may not technically be vegan avocado is a fibre care-package and healthy fat godsend all in one. This earns it a tick of approval in the Australian Dietary Guidelines, adding a plethora of avo-licious dishes to your next Mexican bonanza.