While avocado contains a small amount of carotenoids, it has been shown in research to boost the absorption of carotenoids 2 to 6 times when eaten alongside rich sources of the nutrients, such as tomatoes, carrots, squash, pumpkins and many other orange and dark green fruits and vegetables. The healthy fat found in avocados also reduces inflammation in the body—a condition that has been linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and many other serious conditions. Use avocado in place of butter on bread or sandwiches. Add it to wraps, on top of salad or as a creamy salad dressing or dip base.
These nutritional powerhouses contain a substance known as betaine which is essential to healthy digestion, one of the liver’s many functions. They are powerful liver-cleansers and rebuilders. Enjoy raw grated beets in salads or on sandwiches. Steam or roast beets and use in soups, stews and atop salads.
3. Dandelion Greens
Perhaps dandelion greens are the most overlooked liver-cleansing foods. They contain numerous bitter compounds that help cleanse the liver and boost its functioning. Choose young dandelion greens as they are more palatable than more mature ones. Also, pick dandelion greens away from high-traffic areas or areas that have been sprayed with chemical pesticides. Steam, saute or juice the greens. I love them sautéed with minced garlic, olive oil and topped with some fresh lemon juice and a dash of sea salt.
4. Flax Seeds and Flax Seed Oil
Flax binds to hormone receptor sites, preventing excess hormones (including synthetic xenoestrogens—chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body—from plastics and other sources) from floating around your bloodstream. One of the liver’s 500 jobs is to filter excess hormones. Flax seeds and flax seed oil can help improve the liver’s efficiency in this regard. Sprinkle flax seeds on cereal, toast, salads or blended into smoothies. Use flax seed oil as a base for homemade salad dressings, along with some lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.
The compound limonene found in lemon can boost your body’s production of glutathione, a critical nutrient in liver detoxification that helps ensure toxins are neutralized before they can damage the body’s cells. Add fresh lemon to your water, atop salads, over vegetables or to soups. Keep in mind that the limonene is primarily found in lemon peels, so buy organic lemons and grate a small amount of the rind and add to your salad dressings, soups and baked goods.
When it comes to boosting liver health, food truly is the best medicine.