4 Foods Your Liver Loves

March 29, 2016

Natural and delicious spring cleaning.

A cleansing, springtime detox feels wonderful for your body and it can also be delicious! Your liver is your premiere detox organ, and all too frequently, factors interrupt its healthy functioning.

Examples include highly refined foods, nitrates, hormones and preservatives, along with environmental xenohormones, caffeine, alcohol, hormone birth control, overuse of antibiotics, prescription drugs, smog, secondhand smoke, and even metabolic residue from your foods.

When these elements come into play, your liver no longer performs normally, causing toxins to build up in your system, where they provoke chronic health conditions – but there are plenty of natural remedies available!

Love Your Liver

Your liver, as the center of action, also purifies the bloodstream, maintains sugar levels, produces enzymes and amino acids to metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins, produces bile during the digestive process for fat metabolism, then houses the bile in the gallbladder, and helps keep your body in hormonal balance.

Simply put, the liver is the key to life. When your liver is sluggish, every organ in your body becomes affected by it. Your blood vessels enlarge, and blood flow becomes restricted. The congested liver starts to propel toxins into your circulatory system, producing a dull ache under your lower right rib cage – particularly after a rich meal.

With toxins running amok in your body, secondary problems are usually not far behind it. The liver – which produces enzymes and amino acids to aid in digestion – becomes overwhelmed and throws the whole body out of balance, which weakens the gastro lining and releases more toxins into the system.

And as higher amounts of these poisons are released, even more make their way into your liver, which starts the insidious circle all over again.

As the seat of energy flow for the body, your liver is susceptible to stagnation problems. Unresolved or prolonged anger and depression – the emotional markers of a compromised liver – prevent the body’s energy from flowing as it should. You may have a deep vertical crease between your eyebrows as a result, or a dark reddish complexion.

You could also experience a myriad of secondary symptoms such as acne, itchy rashes, petachiae (red spots), splitting or breaking fingernails, and digestive problems.

Hormonal imbalances could also come into play. These symptoms range from premenstrual irritability, mood swings and cramping, to perimenopausal irritability, mental fog, anxiety and depression, to menopausal hot flashes, palpitations and night sweats.

In fact, contending with years of a stress-damaged liver has also been known to bring about earlier menopausal symptoms.

Feed Your Liver

These are four fantastic foods to feed your liver what it critically needs for peak performance.

Dandelion root is just dandy for stimulating liver function and detox because it’s loaded with nutrients and minerals. One such is inulin, a fiber-like substance that functions as a prebiotic to help nourish the friendly bacteria in the gut. The humble dandelion root is also good for lowering blood sugar and boosting the overall health of the microbiome. It’s the perfect swap or trade-off to have in place of coffee for those of you on a detox. Another easy and delicious option is to add it to your daily smoothie.

• You can’t beat beets, which are full of betaine, a prominent protector of the liver against the damaging effects of alcohol. Betaine also thins the bile and helps it move freely within the bile ducts, and is an incredibly rich dietary source of nitric oxide and antioxidants. Beets tend to have a bad reputation when it comes to taste, but I find them to be quite delicious when grated and sprinkled over a salad.

Flaxseeds are fabulous for fiber, which keeps toxins moving out of your body – where they should be. They’ve also been found to power up the immune system and even be an effective cancer fighter. They can be of particular benefit to post-menopausal women because the lignans in the fibrous shell counteract the cell-proliferating power of excess estrogen. From flaxseed crackers to an excellent smoothie add-in, there are many ways to work flax’s healthful crunch into your routine.

• Burdock root rocks as a liver cleansing agent by encouraging the body to remove waste and metabolize built up fats, old cholesterol deposits, and toxins. As an added bonus, it can be very helpful for skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis. My favorite way to prepare it is to peel it and use it plentifully as an ingredient in a slaw. Yum!

Support Your Liver

In addition to dietary sources, I also recommend supplementing with Liver-Lovin Formula – particularly if these foods don’t appeal to you, so you can ensure you’re getting adequate liver-lovin’ nutrients.

This uniquely formulated supplement contains:

• Artichoke (300 mg) – a well-known liver healer, loaded with antioxidants to help move toxins through the liver’s detox pathways and boost bile production.

• Chlorophyll (500 mg) – oxygenates and energizes the system, plus is rich in purifying magnesium to further enhance elimination.

• Taurine (250 mg) – an amino acid that boosts the liver’s production of bile to aid in fat digestion and absorption.

May your appetite love these foods as much as your liver will!

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Rocio

    Loved this article as I do all of your writings, they come handy right on time. Would love a recommendation of a book to read in depth on how to take care of my liver. I’m in my late 40’s and have had fatty liver for the last 8 or 9 years and don’t know what to do specifically for my condition. I’ve read many articles but nothing helps. Thanks much for your wise advises always.

    • Team ALG

      Ann Louise recommends reading”Fast Track Detox Diet” for help with a fatty liver. It has great information on how to detox your liver. The combination of nutrients in Bile Builder will be excellent for you to unblock your liver by supporting healthy bile formation and digesting fats. Taking 2 capsules 3 times per day is the study based dose of choline to produce results. You can find more information here: https://www.unikeyhealth.com/bile-builder

  2. Shelli

    My only comment is that I would have preferred to see a list of foods as I am trying to get away from taking a lot of supplements and eating best foods possible instead. This article was titled best FOODS for the liver and the items listed in this article are actually supplements…for the most part. I see the Burdock Root as being cut up fresh and added to a slaw. That is something I would love to do if I could actually find it at any store locally. Most people end up getting Burdock root as a supplement. Flax is the only one that I can easily get and find in things like crackers but I am off the carbs and I do not do smoothies as I cannot drink anything like that…thick liquids make me gag.

    • Team ALG

      Team ALG here – We appreciate your feedback, Shelli, and there will definitely be more blogs in the future with additional foods your liver loves. In terms of this blog, we do feel that beets, flax, and burdock root (as you said) are all foods, and included dandelion root as a great swap for coffee and as an addition to food, i.e. a smoothie. Smoothies are a really easy way to pack in a great deal of nutrients. They may simply not be palatable for you, but we would recommend you trying playing around with the recipes because you can blend them quite well and add more water/cranwater to drastically reduce the thickness.

    • Team ALG

      Shelli, the list of foods included above includes powerful liver supporting foods. If your local market doesn’t have burdock root, you may find it at an Asian market or you can order it online. Dandelion Root tea is available at many health food stores or can be ordered from UNI KEY. https://www.unikeyhealth.com/dandelion-root-tea-bags

    • Carol

      Shelli- In addition to flaxseed, I saw Beets and Artichokes listed! You can also pull dandelions from your yard (provided they have NOT been sprayed with Roundup etc.) and add them to a salad, or make tea from the roots. (Some say that soil-based organisms are good for us, but I’m not brave enough to eat or brew the roots without washing first.) Dandelions are the least bitter during cold weather: during early spring or fall. Ground flax seed is good in plain yogurt or, my favorite: in full-fat cottage cheese. IT’s AMAZING. About thick liquids: did you ever like milkshakes?? I resisted making smoothies for a very long time until I discovered a heavenly blend: avocado, a very ripe banana, almond milk, a little spinach, ground flaxseed & a splash of vanilla. (Hint: ordinary blenders don’t handle spinach as well as a Magic Bullet or similar; if you don’t have a flat grinding blade you might want to omit the spinach, or chop it very finely before adding.) If you want the smoothie less sweet, be sure to use unsweetened almond milk, and/or add less banana. Room temp. is not palatable- so if I use either frozen banana OR frozen spinach to give it that little chill (ice makes it watery: also NOT good!). It’s 100% worth the effort to make your own signature smoothie because it’s so satisfying and satiating!! It’s a treat/ comfort food I look forward to. Hope this helps.

  3. Sheila

    I am 68, was diagnosed 6 months ago with copper toxicity and put on chealated zinc and molybdenum plus other nutrients and vitamins. Also a diet that i can’t understand…some high copper items included. i cant shift excess weight and fall asleep 10 minutes after eating. I do not know what other nutrients i can mix with the current ones…Can you help. Last blood test showed a thyroid reading of 6.8 more than double previous readings. I have a low income but eat as healthily as I can. I know there is something wrong but cant get the right help. Mutent Gene mthfr667. Can I cleanse my liver with these suggested foods?

    • Team ALG

      You can add more true vitamin A to your nutrients because it builds ceruloplasmin (the major copper carrying protein in the blood) to bind the copper so that it can be detoxed through the liver. Bile Builder also comes into play because it is designed to detox your liver and get the excess copper out of your body.

      • Carol

        Team ALG: I noticed that chlorophyll supplements are very high in copper. E.g. Nature’s Way ‘Chlorofresh’ softgels contain 225% of the RDA of copper per 100mg serving of chlorophyll (you recommended 500mg). I have heard Dr Gittleman talk about the downside of too much copper, so I hope that this particular form of copper isn’t as harmful as others perhaps? I love the idea of taking chlorophyll for increased oxygenation (I think it helped me on a recent high-elevation trip) but I’m concerned about copper toxicity if it’s taken long-term.
        Thanks for all of your great work.

  4. Sheila

    Thank you for your prompt answer.
    I also have blastio cystic hominous. I have been treated in a special clinic in Sydney but the three special drugs didnt work. I was in bed for most of two weeks and didnt feel good for about six months. I was due to return for even stronger drugs. This time they wanted me to swallow some of the drugs as well as infusing through a colonoscopy. I cancelled several days before after consultation with a bowel consultant.
    It has been suggested that I take 2 teaspoons of papaya seeds and diatomaceous earth by my new Dr. at my medical practice. What do you think? He was the Doctor who found out about the copper toxidity and the mutent gene.

    • Team ALG

      Shiela, while the papaya seeds and diatomaceous earth are good remedies, they may not be strong enough against your blastocystis by themselves. Ann Louise recommends Formula SF 722 for blastocystis along with the herbal formulas found in My Colon Cleansing Kit https://www.unikeyhealth.com/my-colon-cleansing-kit

  5. Felicia Staudinger

    I do not have a gall bladder. I just stated taking Bile builder. I have fatty liver and experience that dull ache under my right rib cage. What other supplementation do you recommend? What detox diet?

  6. joel

    Why is it that when I eat(as a male) freshly ground flax seeds i begin the feel my neck/thiroid area weird, like its swollen but you cant see it physically? is flax seed ok for men?

    Regarding flax seed oil, i read the flax seed goes rancid in 5 minutes after pressing because of its high omega 3 content, which oxidizes very fast. So basically it is impossible to buy fresh flax seed oil.

    Also there is research that omega3’s accelerates ageing and research shows that actually we need omega 6 fats and saturated fats for optimal bodily functions…


  7. Team ALG

    Your reaction to ground flax seeds is not typical. It is ok for men to eat them.

    Flax seed oil needs to be bottled quickly so the oxygen is removed and it does not oxidize.

    You need a balance of Omega 3 and 6 to be healthy.

  8. Khee

    Any difference between instant dandelion root drink versus dandelion tea for benefits?

    • Team ALG

      Khee, the flavonoid content of brewed dandelion root tea is twice as high as that of the instant tea.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This