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Updated on August 21, 2023
7 min read

What Are the Best Foods For Good Liver Health?

How Important is Your Liver?

Your liver is an important organ responsible for over 500 vital functions.15 The liver regulates your blood’s chemical levels and excretes bile to remove waste from your body. It also processes and breaks down the blood from your stomach and intestines to create nutrients. 

Other liver functions include:15

  • Producing proteins for blood plasma
  • Producing cholesterol and special proteins to move fats
  • Converting excess glucose into glycogen to store energy
  • Regulating blood levels of amino acids
  • Controlling blood clotting
  • Flushing out bacteria from the bloodstream to fight infections 
  • Ridding the blood of toxins and poisonous substances
  • Processing hemoglobin and storing the iron content
  • Clearing bilirubin

Keeping your liver healthy is important. But alcohol and unhealthy foods can take a toll on your liver.

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10 Foods That Are Good for Your Liver

Here are some of the best foods to help keep your liver healthy:

1. Tofu

Tofu is good for your liver because it is made of soy. Soy can help reduce fat buildup in the liver.24

The liver works to process fats. Soy can make this process more efficient. Soy is also linked to a reduced risk of alcoholic fatty liver disease.24

Soy is a healthy protein alternative for people with plant-based diets. Other soy foods include edamame, tempeh, miso, soybean sprouts, soy nuts, and some non-dairy yogurts.  

2. Fruits

In moderation, fruits can help keep your liver healthy. Vitamin C in oranges can help prevent fat buildup in the liver.22 Meanwhile, the antioxidants in grapefruits (naringin and naringenin) have been shown to protect the liver.

In some animal studies, Naringenin has also been shown to reduce the amount of fat in the liver. Other fruits like cranberries and blueberries have antioxidants like anthocyanins. These have been shown to help protect the liver from damage and slow the development of scar tissue in the liver. 

Blueberry extract may even slow the growth of liver cancer cells. Grape seed extract is also linked to improved liver function. However, more research is needed to determine the benefits of these fruits.13, 26, 27, 28

3. Oats

Fiber is known to speed up a healthy liver recovery. It has also been shown to slow down the death of damaged liver cells.14

Oats are good for your liver because they are high in fiber. Plus, they’re antioxidant-rich.14

Many high-fiber foods benefit the liver. These include:

  • Grains
  • Beans
  • Berries

4. Coffee

Coffee can have some health benefits for your liver. Avoid drinking too much because excess caffeine can have adverse health effects.

Moderate coffee consumption is linked to a reduced risk of liver disease. Coffee drinkers are less likely to develop cirrhosis than those who don’t drink coffee.15

5. Turmeric

Turmeric is a popular supplement, and for good reason. It has anti-inflammatory properties and may improve some stages of liver disease. The spice also reduces elevated liver enzymes.11

6. Beets

Beets are another antioxidant-rich food you may want to incorporate into your diet. In some animal studies, beets have been shown to limit liver enzymes and reduce inflammation.5, 8

More research needs to be done to replicate these studies in humans, but beets are a superfood.5, 8 They also benefit your heart health. 

7. Cruciferous Veggies

It’s no secret that vegetables have many health benefits. They can:

  • Boost your immune system
  • Help prevent chronic diseases
  • Enhance your mental health 

Cruciferous vegetables are especially beneficial for liver health. They can also help detoxify the liver and balance enzymes.20, 23

Cruciferous vegetables include:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprout
  • Spinach

A compound called indole2, found in cruciferous vegetables, can help prevent and fight nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Leafy greens like spinach are also packed with glutathione antioxidant. This can improve liver function. 

8. Nuts

Nuts are an easy snack that can help keep your liver healthy. They are rich in vitamin E and plant compounds.

They are also linked to a reduced risk of alcoholic liver disease.6 Nuts like almonds are considered healthy fats that are also good for your heart. 

9. Green Tea

Green tea has substantial health benefits. For one, it is linked to better liver health.

Green tea has the following benefits:12

  • Improves levels of liver enzymes
  • Reduces oxidative stress
  • Reduces fat in the liver

People who drink green tea consistently also have a lower risk of developing liver cancer.21

10. Fatty Fish

Unhealthy fats (like saturated and trans fats) are not good for the liver, but fatty fish are. Wild-caught salmon and sardines are some of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Eating two to three servings a week can help prevent deficiencies. 

Omega-3 fatty acids, in moderation, can contribute to improved liver function. People with cirrhosis damage tend to have lower levels of it. But getting more of it can aid in recovery. Omega-3 fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory properties.17

6 Foods That Are Bad for Your Liver

Here are some foods you should avoid to keep your liver healthy:

1. Alcohol

Heavy alcohol use is linked to liver disease. Alcohol misuse impairs liver functioning over time and even causes irreversible damage.9

2. Fast Foods

Greasy and fatty foods can damage the liver. This includes foods that are high in saturated and trans fats. Your liver has to break down and process these fats, which takes more time and effort.18

Avoid fast foods like:

  • Fries
  • Burgers
  • Pizzas
  • Hefty sandwiches

3. Candy

Candy and other sweets high in sugar can also hurt your liver. High-fructose foods are linked to fatty liver disease. These include:

  • Candy
  • Pastries
  • Foods that contain refined sugar

Part of the liver’s function is to turn sugar into fat. So giving your liver too much sugar to convert makes its job harder. 

Stick to healthy foods instead of candy. And remember the sugar in fruit is not the same as in candy. 

4. Salty Snacks

Consuming too much salt is bad for your liver. High-salt diets are linked to liver damage in adults and developing embryos.25 If you are going to snack, stick to healthy, low-salt options.

5. Processed Meats

Processed meats like bacon and hot dogs are high in saturated fats, preservatives, and salt. Lean meats are a much better option. You can also swap for plant-based proteins like soy.

6. Soda

Soda is often loaded with sugar, which your liver has to work harder to convert to fat. Drinking too much soda is hard on your liver. 

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How Alcohol Damages the Liver

Regular binge drinking, heavy alcohol use, and alcohol use disorder (AUD) can significantly damage the liver. Alcohol-induced liver damage is linked to liver cancer. It can also lead to alcoholic liver disease.2

Alcoholic liver disease happens in three stages:2

  1. Alcoholic hepatitis: The first stage of liver disease that causes severe swelling and inflammation of your liver
  2. Fatty liver disease: Excess fat buildup in the liver
  3. Cirrhosis: The final stage of liver disease that causes severe scarring inside the liver

Alcoholic liver disease is common in people between 40 and 50 years old. But men are more likely to have it than women.4 While some liver damage can be repaired, severe damage may be irreversible.

Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

AUD is a serious health condition that refers to alcohol dependence.1 Some signs of alcoholism include:

  • Cravings for alcohol
  • Tendency to drink often and heavily
  • A high frequency of drinking alone
  • Difficulty cutting back on or quitting alcohol
  • Alcohol-induced health complications
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Depression

How Much is Too Much Alcohol?

Binge drinking and heavy alcohol use are different. Binge drinking is a drinking pattern that raises blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent or more.7

Heavy drinking refers to consuming more than 4 drinks per day (more than 14 per week) for men. For women, it refers to drinking more than 3 alcoholic beverages per day (more than 7 per week).7

About 61 million Americans are considered binge drinkers. Meanwhile, 16 million were classified as heavy alcohol users in 2014.3

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Other Ways to Keep Your Liver Healthy

Here are some other simple ways to heal your liver and keep it healthy:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Limit your alcohol intake
  • Take daily vitamins
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Get regular exercise
  • Stay well-rested to maintain better overall health
Updated on August 21, 2023
28 sources cited
Updated on August 21, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
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  2. Alcohol-Related Liver Disease.” American Liver Foundation, 13 May 2021.
  3. Alcohol: Balancing Risks and Benefits.” The Nutrition Source, 12 Nov. 2020.
  4. Alcoholic Liver Disease.” Mount Sinai Health System.
  5. Beetroot Supplementation.” Beetroot Supplementation on Non - Alcoholic Fatty Liver.
  6. Chen, Bing Bing, et al. “Association between Nut Intake and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Risk: A Retrospective Case-Control Study in a Sample of Chinese Han Adults.” BMJ Open, BMJ Publishing Group, 4 Sept. 2019.
  7. Drinking Levels Defined.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  8. EJ;, Clifford T;Howatson G;West DJ;Stevenson. “The Potential Benefits of Red Beetroot Supplementation in Health and Disease.” Nutrients, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  9. Exploring Alcohol’s Effects on Liver Function.” NIAAA.
  10. How High Fructose Intake May Trigger Fatty Liver Disease.” National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 22 Sept. 2020.
  11. JY;, White CM;Lee. “The Impact of Turmeric or Its Curcumin Extract on Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Systematic Review of Clinical Trials.” Pharmacy Practice, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  12. K;, Imai K;Nakachi. “Cross Sectional Study of Effects of Drinking Green Tea on Cardiovascular and Liver Diseases.” BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.), U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  13. Khoshbaten M;Aliasgarzadeh A;Masnadi K;Farhang S;Tarzamani MK;Babaei H;Kiani J;Zaare M;Najafipoor F; “Grape Seed Extract to Improve Liver Function in Patients with Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Change.” Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology : Official Journal of the Saudi Gastroenterology Association, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  14. Lai HS;Lin WH;Chen PR;Wu HC;Lee PH;Chen WJ; “Effects of a High-Fiber Diet on Hepatocyte Apoptosis and Liver Regeneration after Partial Hepatectomy in Rats with Fatty Liver.JPEN. Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  15. Liu F;Wang X;Wu G;Chen L;Hu P;Ren H;Hu H; “Coffee Consumption Decreases Risks for Hepatic Fibrosis and Cirrhosis: A Meta-Analysis.” PloS One, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  16. Liver: Anatomy and Functions.” Johns Hopkins Medicine.
  17. Lu, Wenxia, et al. “Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acid in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Meta-Analysis.” Gastroenterology Research and Practice, Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 2016.
  18. Luukkonen PK;Sädevirta S;Zhou Y;Kayser B;Ali A;Ahonen L;Lallukka S;Pelloux V;Gaggini M;Jian C;Hakkarainen A;Lundbom N;Gylling H;Salonen A;Orešič M;Hyötyläinen T;Orho-Melander M;Rissanen A;Gastaldelli A;Clément K;Hodson L;Yki-Järvinen H; “Saturated Fat Is More Metabolically Harmful for the Human Liver than Unsaturated Fat or Simple Sugars.” Diabetes Care, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  19. Madrigal-Santillán E;Madrigal-Bujaidar E;Álvarez-González I;Sumaya-Martínez MT;Gutiérrez-Salinas J;Bautista M;Morales-González Á;García-Luna y González-Rubio M;Aguilar-Faisal JL;Morales-González JA; “Review of Natural Products with Hepatoprotective Effects.” World Journal of Gastroenterology, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  20. Natural Compound in Vegetables Helps Fight Fatty Liver Disease.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 7 Feb. 2020.
  21. Ni CX;Gong H;Liu Y;Qi Y;Jiang CL;Zhang JP; “Green Tea Consumption and the Risk of Liver Cancer: A Meta-Analysis.” Nutrition and Cancer, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  22. Oliveira, Claudia P M S, et al. “Vitamin C and Vitamin E in Prevention of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) in Choline Deficient Diet Fed Rats.” Nutrition Journal, BioMed Central, 7 Oct. 2003.
  23. Robbins MG;Andersen G;Somoza V;Eshelman BD;Barnes DM;Hanlon PR; “Heat Treatment of Brussels Sprouts Retains Their Ability to Induce Detoxification Enzyme Expression in Vitro and in Vivo.” Journal of Food Science, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  24. Soy Protein Alleviates Symptoms of Fatty Liver Disease, Study Suggests.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 22 Apr. 2012.
  25. Too Much Salt Could Potentially Contribute to Liver Damage.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 24 Feb. 2016.
  26. Wang H;Guo X;Hu X;Li T;Fu X;Liu RH; “Comparison of Phytochemical Profiles, Antioxidant and Cellular Antioxidant Activities of Different Varieties of Blueberry (Vaccinium Spp..).” Food Chemistry, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  27. Wang YP;Cheng ML;Zhang BF;Mu M;Wu J; “Effects of Blueberry on Hepatic Fibrosis and Transcription Factor Nrf2 in Rats.” World Journal of Gastroenterology, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  28. Wang YP;Cheng ML;Zhang BF;Mu M;Zhou MY;Wu J;Li CX; “Effect of Blueberry on Hepatic and Immunological Functions in Mice.” Hepatobiliary & Pancreatic Diseases International : HBPD INT, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
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