The liver is a large glandular organ that lies in the right side of the body just underneath the diaphragm. The liver performs many important roles in the body that are vital to life. The liver helps to break down fats and lipids by producing bile. It also is a production point for certain proteins needed in blood plasma. The liver also helps to convert sugars in the blood so that they can be stored for energy.
Foods that are high in antioxidants can help neutralize aflatoxins, which can be found in certain sea foods, fungi, and nuts. Aflotoxins are naturally occurring poisons that, in high doses, can be lethal; small amounts found in food can have a cumulative effect. Antioxidants also help in the production of liver enzymes that assist in the natural detoxification process. Some fruits with high levels of antioxidants include pomegranates, grapes, oranges, plums, pineapples, kiwis, grapefruits and most berries. Vegetables high in antioxidants include red cabbages, chili peppers, kale, artichokes, brussel sprouts, beets, spinach and ginger.
Fruit and vegetables high in beta carotene are beneficial in combating free radicals within liver cells. Free radicals can cause degradation on a cellular level. They form when a molecule breaks and the separate parts contain an uneven number of electrons. The free radical molecule will seek out the electron it needs to give it an even number of electrons and, in doing so, will break other molecules. There can be a cascade effect of molecules being broken, which can eventually lead to cellular collapse. The vegetables that have the highest levels of beta carotene are carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, spinach, collard greens, kale and beets. Fruits that contain beta carotene are melons, apricots, grapefruits, cherries and plums.
Cleaning Heavy Metals from the Body
Garlic is a great source of allicin, which is effective in removing traces of heavy metals from the liver. Fruits that are high in pectin are also beneficial in binding heavy metals that have come from the liver, and helping the body excrete them. Fruits high in pectin are apples, blackberries, gooseberries, cranberries, grapes and plums.
References and ResourcesFatFreeKitchen: Foods High in Antioxidents
NutritionData: Foods Highest in Beta Carotene
Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford: How the Liver Works
DetoxYourBodyToday: Foods Good for the Liver