Liver-friendly foods

Are YOU eating these?

Your liver cops a belting just so you can have a good time. Perhaps it's time you did something nice in return, writes David Goding.

Beetroot contains the bioactive agent betaine, which clinical studies from the University of Maryland found may protect against the fatty build-up associated with liver disease.

The most bioavailable way of consuming beetroot is in juice form, although cooked and canned beetroot is also beneficial as a regular part of your diet.

According to British nutritionist Amanda Ursell, artichokes are extremely good for your liver. That’s because active ingredients found in artichoke, including cynaroside, cynarin and chlorogenic acid, stimulate the production of bile acid, which in turn helps to break down fats and improve fat digestion.

Artichokes can be steamed and eaten hot, or, more conveniently, sourced from a can, where much of the nutrients are retained. Of 
even greater benefit is artichoke extract, available in capsule form. Ursell suggests taking one-to-two 320mg capsules a day.


Drinking two litres of fresh, filtered water every day helps your liver to flush out toxins and function at its full potential. In summer, increase your consumption, particularly if you are exercising or sweat a lot. 

What to avoid
The most obvious way to give your liver a break is to avoid alcohol and saturated fats in high doses. You should also go easy on caffeine, steer clear of food additives where possible and be careful of what medications you take.

Some medications can be harmful for the liver when taken in high doses. Common paracetamol, for instance, while harmless in recommended doses, can result in liver damage and even liver failure in larger amounts. Some antibiotics and cholesterol-lowering medications can also cause liver inflammation in some patients.

NEXT: Liver cleanse: is it for you? 

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The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read our Medical Notice.