Use Code CMON20 to get 20% OFF and FREE SHIPPING

28 Foods That Can Boost Your Liver Health

Lifestyle factors, including diet, can influence the liver's ability to do its job, helping or hindering the detoxification process. In other words, your food choices can significantly impact your liver health.

woman-cooking-in-modern-colorful-kitchen
Table of Contents

You've probably heard the word detox thrown around in ads for juice cleanses and fad diets, but what does it really mean? Though it's a trendy word, detoxification is a process that happens daily inside your body—thanks to the liver. This amazing organ acts as a filter to remove toxins and waste products from your body. The liver also stores glucose as glycogen, helps with fat breakdown, cholesterol production, and more.

Lifestyle factors, including diet, can influence the liver's ability to do its job, helping or hindering the detoxification process. In other words, your food choices can significantly impact your liver health.

No single food can magically "detox" or boost your liver health, but eating a variety of foods that support liver function can help keep this hard-working organ functioning properly. Here are the top foods that support liver health—and the good news is that they are all delicious.

{{mid-cta}}

How Does Food Help Your Liver Function?

The food you eat provides the nutrients the liver needs to function correctly, keeps it healthy by reducing inflammation, and can even turn on enzymes that are important for the detoxification process (stay tuned for more on this).¹,²

Antioxidants and polyphenols—compounds found in food that have been shown to have health-promoting effects—have been shown to support the liver.³ Antioxidants scavenge and neutralize damaging toxins and byproducts that can lead to inflammation. Many foods contain antioxidants, but some stand out as especially good for liver health due to their high concentration of these nutrients.

Foods that support healthy blood sugar balance and metabolic health are also crucial for liver function. High glucose (aka blood sugar) combined with elevated triglycerides (a type of fat) can contribute to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).⁴ This is a condition where fat accumulates in the liver, leading to inflammation and scarring.

Fatty liver goes hand in hand with insulin resistance, a condition in which your cells have become less sensitive to the hormone insulin, leading to high blood sugar. And guess what? High-sugar foods can also increase triglycerides—a double whammy for liver health.

28 Glucose-Friendly Foods That Are Good For Your Liver

These foods are fiber-rich and low on the glycemic index (GI). The GI measures how much a food raises blood sugar levels. A food with a high GI will raise blood sugar levels more than a food with a low GI which means it is better for blood sugar control. 

Fruit

Fruit often gets a bad rap for blood sugar because they are naturally sweet, but don't write them off just yet. The fiber in fruit helps offset sugar's impact on blood sugar levels, and fruits are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are important for liver health. 

The deep colors of fruit signal their antioxidant power. These antioxidants and polyphenols may be protective against fatty liver disease by supporting healthy blood sugar and cooling down inflammation.⁵

Fruits are an easy on-the-go snack, but you can also add them as a side or topping to any meal:

  • Berries 
  • Avocados 
  • Grapefruit 
  • Apples

Cruciferous Vegetables 

Cruciferous veggies are, for lack of a better word, superfoods. They keep the gut and liver in tip-top shape by supporting healthy detoxification. They can upregulate certain enzymes in the liver that help to detoxify the body. They're also high in fiber, which helps to keep the digestive system running smoothly and balances blood sugar.⁶

The veggies in this family contain a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells against oxidative damage and supports detoxification. Animal studies suggest the sulforaphane from broccoli can protect the liver from fatty liver disease and liver damage.⁷

Broccoli sprouts contain 10 to 100 times the amount of sulforaphane than mature broccoli plants, so they're an especially good choice if you want the liver-loving benefits.⁸

Try a mix of these cruciferous veggies in baked dishes, stir-fried, or eaten raw as part of a salad:

  • Broccoli 
  • Brussel Sprouts 
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Arugula
avocado-toast-with-leaves-on-top

Leafy Greens 

Leafy greens are low in calories, high in fiber, and contain antioxidants that can protect cells from damage and lower inflammation in the body. One study found an inverse relationship between spinach intake and the likelihood of being diagnosed with fatty liver disease.⁹ In other words, the more spinach someone eats, the less likely they are to develop fatty liver disease.

Add these leafy greens to your salad, scramble, smoothie, or stir-fry:

  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Romaine

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts contain healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and vitamins. Omega-3 fatty acids are protective against inflammation, which is a crucial driver of chronic diseases like fatty liver disease.¹⁰

One study found that people who included walnuts as part of a healthy diet pattern significantly reduced their risk of developing NAFLD.¹¹ Eating more nuts is also linked to lower inflammatory markers and insulin levels.¹²

Grab a handful of these nuts and seeds as an afternoon snack, sprinkle them on top of your oatmeal, or throw them in your salad for added nutrients:

  • Almonds
  • Pistachios 
  • Pumpkin seeds 
  • Walnuts

Protein Sources 

Protein is the go-to nutrient for blood sugar balance, so indirectly, it also supports the liver. When paired with carbohydrates, protein helps slow the blood sugar rise. Plus, protein keeps you satisfied longer. Plant-based proteins also contain extra fiber to add to your daily intake.

Some studies link proteins higher in saturated fat to poor liver health.¹³ So while you can occasionally enjoy that burger, consider making the following options your go-to's:

  • Salmon
  • Chicken 
  • Lentils
  • Beans

Herbs and Spices 

Small but mighty herbs and spices are amazingly potent anti-inflammatories. The concentrated phenolic compounds in herbs and spices have been shown to help protect cells from damage and reduce inflammation. 

Turmeric, for example, has been shown to reduce liver enzymes in people with NAFLD.¹⁴ Spices like cinnamon may also support healthy blood sugar balance.¹⁵

You don't need to use much to make a difference, so try experimenting with some of the following:

  • Turmeric 
  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon
  • Garlic

Beverages

Love your morning coffee or green tea? You're in luck. These beverages both support liver health. Coffee and green tea both appear to be significantly protective of the liver.¹⁶,¹⁷ They support healthy inflammation levels in the body and contain antioxidants to protect against oxidative damage.

Thirsty? Skip the soda or sweetened beverages and turn to water—unsweetened sparkling water works too!

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Water

Foods to Minimize for Liver Health

A few foods aren't so great for liver health, and limiting them can also benefit your overall metabolic health. Sure, you'll probably eat some of these foods every once in a while—not a big deal if your overall diet is filled with liver-promoting foods most of the time. But these foods are probably not foods you want to be eating day in and day out.

  • Processed meat and fried foods¹⁸
  • High-fructose corn syrup¹⁹
  • Sugary drinks, including sports drinks and excess juice
  • Excessive alcohol
  • Trans fats²⁰
  • Refined carbs

6 Tips to Improve Your Liver Health

So, in summary, what's the best way to improve your liver health?

  • Eat foods rich in antioxidants like berries, dark chocolate, and green tea.
  • Eat plenty of foods that are high in fiber, like beans, legumes, and produce, to balance blood sugar.
  • Limit foods high in saturated fat, like processed meats and fried foods.
  • Limit your alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
  • Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks like soda.

A diet rich in health-promoting nutrients is key to keeping your liver healthy. While no single food is definitively bad for the liver, it's essential to be mindful of how your body responds to your food choices. 

One way to personalize your diet is by using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to track your blood sugar levels in response to the foods you eat. This can help you identify which foods work best for you and make informed choices about the foods you eat. 

With a CGM, you can see if a specific food tends to raise your blood sugar, which can help you make choices about which foods to include in your diet and how much of them to eat. Paired with feedback from the Signos app, this information can be used to create a balanced diet that meets your individual needs and helps you maintain not just liver health but overall health as well.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Get more information about weight loss, glucose monitors, and living a healthier life
Get more information about weight loss, glucose monitors, and living a healthier life
Subscribe now
Share this article:

References

  1.  Mirmiran, P., Amirhamidi, Z., Ejtahed, H. S., Bahadoran, Z., & Azizi, F. (2017). Relationship between Diet and Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Review Article. Iranian journal of public health, 46(8), 1007–1017.
  2.  Hodges, R. E., & Minich, D. M. (2015). Modulation of Metabolic Detoxification Pathways Using Foods and Food-Derived Components: A Scientific Review with Clinical Application. Journal of nutrition and metabolism, 2015, 760689. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/760689
  3.  Casas-Grajales, S., & Muriel, P. (2015). Antioxidants in liver health. World journal of gastrointestinal pharmacology and therapeutics, 6(3), 59–72. https://doi.org/10.4292/wjgpt.v6.i3.59
  4.  Liu, J., Guan, L., Zhao, M., Li, Q., Song, A., Gao, L., Lin, H., & Zhao, J. (2021). Association Between the Triglyceride-Glucose Index and Outcomes of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Large-Scale Health Management Cohort Study. Diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity : targets and therapy, 14, 2829–2839. https://doi.org/10.2147/DMSO.S316864
  5.  Abenavoli L, Larussa T, Corea A, et al. Dietary Polyphenols and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Nutrients. 2021;13(2):494. Published 2021 Feb 3. doi:10.3390/nu13020494
  6.  Guan, Y. S., & He, Q. (2015). Plants Consumption and Liver Health. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2015, 824185. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/824185
  7.  Chen, Y. J., Myracle, A. D., Wallig, M. A., & Jeffery, E. H. (2016). Dietary broccoli protects against fatty liver development but not against progression of liver cancer in mice pretreated with diethylnitrosamine. Journal of functional foods, 24, 57–62. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jff.2016.03.028
  8.  Tříska, J., Balík, J., Houška, M., Novotná, P., Magner, M., Vrchotová, N., Híc, P., Jílek, L., Thorová, K., Šnurkovič, P., & Soural, I. (2021). Factors Influencing Sulforaphane Content in Broccoli Sprouts and Subsequent Sulforaphane Extraction. Foods (Basel, Switzerland), 10(8), 1927. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10081927
  9.  Mokhtari, E., Farhadnejad, H., Salehi-Sahlabadi, A., Najibi, N., Azadi, M., Teymoori, F., & Mirmiran, P. (2021). Spinach consumption and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease among adults: a case-control study. BMC gastroenterology, 21(1), 196. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12876-021-01784-8
  10.  Lu, W., Li, S., Li, J., Wang, J., Zhang, R., Zhou, Y., Yin, Q., Zheng, Y., Wang, F., Xia, Y., Chen, K., Liu, T., Lu, J., Zhou, Y., & Guo, C. (2016). Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acid in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Meta-Analysis. Gastroenterology research and practice, 2016, 1459790. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/1459790
  11.  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. (2021). Effect of green-Mediterranean diet on intrahepatic fat: the DIRECT PLUS randomised controlled trial. Gut, 70(11), 2085–2095. https://doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2020-323106
  12.  Mazidi, M., Vatanparast, H., Katsiki, N., & Banach, M. (2018). The impact of nuts consumption on glucose/insulin homeostasis and inflammation markers mediated by adiposity factors among American adults. Oncotarget, 9(58), 31173–31186. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.25168
  13.  Zelber-Sagi, S., Ivancovsky-Wajcman, D., Fliss Isakov, N., Webb, M., Orenstein, D., Shibolet, O., & Kariv, R. (2018). High red and processed meat consumption is associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and insulin resistance. Journal of hepatology, 68(6), 1239–1246. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2018.01.015
  14.  Jarhahzadeh, M., Alavinejad, P., Farsi, F., Husain, D., & Rezazadeh, A. (2021). The effect of turmeric on lipid profile, malondialdehyde, liver echogenicity and enzymes among patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a randomized double blind clinical trial. Diabetology & metabolic syndrome, 13(1), 112. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13098-021-00731-7
  15.  Kizilaslan, N., & Erdem, N. Z. (2019). The Effect of Different Amounts of Cinnamon Consumption on Blood Glucose in Healthy Adult Individuals. International journal of food science, 2019, 4138534. https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/4138534
  16.  Kennedy, O. J., Fallowfield, J. A., Poole, R., Hayes, P. C., Parkes, J., & Roderick, P. J. (2021). All coffee types decrease the risk of adverse clinical outcomes in chronic liver disease: a UK Biobank study. BMC public health, 21(1), 970. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-021-10991-7
  17.  Yin, X., Yang, J., Li, T., Song, L., Han, T., Yang, M., Liao, H., He, J., & Zhong, X. (2015). The effect of green tea intake on risk of liver disease: a meta analysis. International journal of clinical and experimental medicine, 8(6), 8339–8346.
  18.  Rahimi-Sakak, F., Maroofi, M., Emamat, H., & Hekmatdoost, A. (2022). Red and Processed Meat Intake in Relation to Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Risk: Results from a Case-Control Study. Clinical nutrition research, 11(1), 42–49. https://doi.org/10.7762/cnr.2022.11.1.42
  19.  Yu, S., Li, C., Ji, G., & Zhang, L. (2021). The contribution of dietary fructose to Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 3305.
  20.  Dhibi, M., Brahmi, F., Mnari, A., Houas, Z., Chargui, I., Bchir, L., Gazzah, N., Alsaif, M. A., & Hammami, M. (2011). The intake of high fat diet with different trans fatty acid levels differentially induces oxidative stress and non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in rats. Nutrition & metabolism, 8(1), 65. https://doi.org/10.1186/1743-7075-8-65

About the Author

Caitlin Beale is a registered dietitian and nutrition writer with a master’s degree in nutrition. She has a background in acute care, integrative wellness, and clinical nutrition.
View Author Bio

Please note: The Signos team is committed to sharing insightful and actionable health articles that are backed by scientific research, supported by expert reviews, and vetted by experienced health editors. The Signos blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. Read more about our editorial process and content philosophy here.

Interested in learning more about metabolic health and weight management?

Try Signos.
Buy Now
A white woman leaning back on a rowing machine with his arms bent and holding the bar to his chest.
Get started with Signos
A boy is on his dad's back with his arms around his shoulders. The dad is on all fours, extending his right leg behind him, and is wearing a CGM with Signos sports cover on his left arm.
A white woman leaning back on a rowing machine with his arms bent and holding the bar to his chest.
Sign up now
< More
This is some text inside of a div block.
Articles