Thursday, 3 November 2016

6 Liver-Boosting Superfoods to Add to Your Diet

When was the last time you thought about your liver and the amazing job it’s doing to filter toxins, hormones, cholesterol, and more out of your blood.  Your liver is one of the most powerful organs in your body but chances are you haven’t given it a second thought.  Few people consider this organ yet it plays a critical role in maintain a healthy weight, hormone balance, reducing cholesterol, and eliminating harmful substances from your blood.  Autumn is the perfect time of year to give your liver a boost.  
Avocado—Research shows that avocado supercharges other foods eaten alongside of it.  In other words, it boosts the nutrient absorption of other foods, particularly of a group of nutrients called carotenoids.  You may have heard of beta carotene (forms vitamin A in your body) and lycopene. The absorption of both of these nutrients is increased with avocado consumption.  Avocados contain a type of fat that is found in seafood but rarely in foods found on the land. While they have a reputation for being “high fat,” the fats they contain are beneficial and even reduce inflammation in the body. This translates into many liver health boosting properties. If you’ve never eaten avocado, it tastes like butter. Use it in place of butter on bread, wraps, or sandwiches, or top a salad with avocado, use it to make a delicious guacamole or veggie dip.  Simply cut lengthwise around the avocado, twist slightly to release the flesh from the pit, then using a slow chopping action hit the blade of a knife against the pit, twist and the pit will pop right out.
Dandelion Greens—Not just a weed, dandelion greens are delicious food and powerful medicine. They contain blood-building chlorophyll which gives them their green color. They also contain bitter compounds that help cleanse the liver. Choose young dandelion greens since they are more palatable. The older ones become extremely bitter. You can steam, sauté or juice the greens. Roast and grind the root for a delicious coffee-like caffeine-free beverage. I love dandelion greens chopped and sautéed with some minced garlic and olive oil then topped with some fresh lemon juice and a dash of unrefined sea salt.
Soy foods—Lecithin, found in soy foods, helps the liver metabolize fats and reduce cholesterol. Like eggs, it contains a substance called phosphatidylcholine and essential fatty acids that help keep liver cells healthy and help prevent fatty deposits from building up in the liver. Lecithin also helps reduce high blood pressure by allowing the blood vessels to relax to allow better blood flow. Lecithin is naturally found in soy milk, tofu, and miso, as well as organic eggs. Choose only certified organic soy foods since soy is a heavily genetically-modified food.  Fermented varieties like miso and soy yogurt are best.
Onions—Onions contains sulfur that is required to increase enzyme activity that, in turn, boosts liver cleansing. Without adequate levels of sulfur, the phase 2 of liver detoxification cannot keep pace with level 1, meaning that many toxins can become MORE dangerous in your body. Like garlic, onions also kill viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
Nuts and Seeds—I’ve counted these as 2 items but there are many different types of nuts and seeds, including: walnuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, etc. Consuming nuts and seeds is an all-natural way to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Be sure to choose raw, unsalted, nuts and seeds, preferably those found in the refrigerator section of your local health food store since the oils go rancid easily. 

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