Your liver is a vital organ that performs hundreds of tasks related to metabolism, energy storage, and waste filtering. It helps you digest food, convert it to energy, and store the energy until you need it.
It also helps filter toxic substances out of your bloodstream. Liver disease is a general term that refers to any condition affecting your liver. These conditions may develop for different reasons, but they can all damage your liver and affect its function.
Even still, your liver plays a crucial role in regulating the body’s functions. The liver regulates metabolism, converting the nutrients we get from our diets into substances the body can either use or store to use for later.
Whether you have a diagnosed liver problem or are worried about doing potential damage to your liver through your diet, these are the top foods to avoid (or eat in moderation) for the sake of your liver.
- French Fries
Fatty foods—of all kinds—do not do your liver any favors. The liver is responsible for breaking down fats, converting them into energy, so too much fatty food could overexert the liver.
It could also result in the development of fatty liver disease, which is the build-up of fat in your liver cells. Regularly eating french fries, which are high in saturated fat, can contribute to this problem, but can also result in inflammation in the long term. Inflammation has been known to cause the liver to create scar tissue, a complication known as cirrhosis.
Instead of reaching for French fries, add more fiber to your diet. One cup of blueberries provides almost 4 grams of fiber, and this fruit has also been linked to reducing chronic injury to the liver.
The cheeseburger has a bad reputation for being high in saturated fats, which according to the American Heart Association are mostly found in animal-based products and oils and can ultimately increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Some fast-food burgers contain as much as 16 grams of saturated fat, so unless you’re making or cooking your burger yourself, you may want to avoid them. Vegetables are hearty sources of fiber and contain little to no saturated fat, making them a perfect food choice when considering your liver.
In fact, a natural compound found in broccoli and other cruciferous veggies—a compound called indole—has been linked to combating non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
The liver is responsible for filtering out toxins like alcohol. So, how could alcohol harm the liver if the liver filters it?
Some liver cells die with each filtering of alcohol. Especially if you drink a lot over a long period of time, serious (and permanent) damage to the liver tissue can result. However, there is some good news if you’re a coffee drinker. Reuters reports that drinking two additional cups of coffee a day is associated with a lower risk of developing liver cirrhosis. In fact, a 44% lower risk.
Sodium contributes to the regulation of water throughout the body. Since the liver is a flood and filter, too much salt may lead to fluid buildup in the body. Foods that are highly processed and contain sugar and fat also tend to contain a lot of salt. This overabundance contributes to the high risk of NAFLD.
- Sugar and starch
Sugar and starch include both sugar-sweetened beverages, which contain high-fructose corn syrup, and sweet foods, which also tend to have a lot of fat.
Fructose interrupts the chain of normal sugar metabolism called glycolysis and the creation of glucose (gluconeogenesis), and it has been shown to overload the process, producing excess energy, which is ultimately stored in the liver.
Fructose is delivered to the liver more readily because it is absorbed through the portal vein, which serves the liver. The studies are not conclusive, but all the same, sugar and starch should be consumed in moderation to avoid excess calories.
- Ice Cream
Actually, any dessert that has high levels of sugar should be avoided on behalf of your liver. However, most ice cream contains 92% DV for every 1/2 cup. If you have liver issues, you can’t afford those levels of saturated fat.
- Soda, other beverages
Soda and other carbonated beverages can cause serious liver problems. It can lead to liver cancer. At the same time, these carbonated drinks also contribute to the problem of obesity.