Healthy eating for proper liver detoxification

Food should contain all nutrients needed for the proper functioning of the liver. Net photo.

Everyone at some point has got something yummy they crave for, you could be a type who can’t settle without a bite of bugger, pizza or junk, well, do you watch what you eat at a specific time? If you don’t, you might be giving your liver a hard time cleansing toxins from your body.

Without proper functioning of the liver, you cannot be healthy; it has a number of functions in the body, therefore, you ought to keep it clean and that is why nutrition experts encourage feeding on nutritious food to help the liver detoxify and do it’s various functions of producing the bile needed to digest fat, break down hormones; and store essential vitamins, minerals, iron,and many more.


According to Isaac Bikorimana, a nutritionist at Kibagabaga Hospital, a balanced and diverse diet can help your organisms perform all their  functions including detoxification, and yet it is composed of 50 per cent of carbohydrates rich foods, 25 per cent of vegetables and fruits, 20 per cent of protein foods both plant and animal.


“You are advised to feed on food that helps detoxify the liver, especially foods rich in antioxidants like vegetables and fruits in general,” he states.


Bikorimana  adds that you should include foods low in saturated fats but rich in unsaturated ones on your diet (like avocado, nuts, vegetable oils, olive oil, salmon among others), foods rich in essential proteins , phytochemicals rich foods(these are compounds that are produced by plants), examples include; fruits(tomatoes,oranges,grapes,berries,carrot,watermelon),vegetables(broccoli,cabbage,collard greens) grains,beans,and other plants.

“You need to remove toxic foods from your diet, drink raw vegetable juice, load up on potassium-rich food, do a coffee enema (this helps with constipation, reduce fatigue, and help in liver detoxification, during the enema, organic coffee is retained in your bowel, allowing the fluid to enter the liver through the intestinal wall),” says Dieudonne Bukaba, a nutritionist expert at Avega Clinic, Remera.

He further says that you need to take milk thistle, dandelion and turmeric supplements, eat liver from a healthy cattle or chicken because it is rich in  vitamins A and B, folic acid, choline, iron, copper, zinc, chromium which are healthy minerals for the liver, alternatively for those who do not want liver, he encourages you  take beef liver tablets.

According to healthline, milk thistle is a liver cleansing supplement because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which help reduce liver inflammation.

Bukaba adds that you should eat a small amount of garlic since it has the ability to activate the liver enzymes that help the body flush out toxins and has high amount of allicin and selenium natural compounds that help in liver cleansing.

“Grapefruit is also healthy since it is high in vitamin C and antioxidants, citrus fruits like grapefruit, oranges, limes, and lemons support the natural cleansing abilities of the liver. You can have a small glass of freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice as it increases production of the liver detoxification enzymes that help wash out carcinogens and other toxins,” he explains.

He enlightens that you should feed on carrots and beets as they are extremely high in plant-flavonoids, beta-carotene, they stimulate and support overall liver function, but green tea is also essential since it contains antioxidants called catechins compounds that assist in liver function, do not take high quantities though.

Bikorimana urges you to take enough drinking water as it helps in flushing liver tissues hence removing toxins, experts say that the body depends on water to survive, every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to work properly, they recommend to take eight glasses of water a day, however they encourage taking water 15 to 30 minutes before or after food but not in between meals.

Bukaba recommends you to include avocado on your meal as it helps the body produce glutathione, a compound that is needed for liver cleansing of toxins, however consumption of broccoli and cauliflower on your diet, will help remove carcinogens and other toxins in the body since they contain glucosinolate which maintains enzyme production in the liver.

He advises you not to forget lemons as they contain vitamin C, which assists the body in producing toxic materials into substance that can be absorbed by water.

You can also drink lemon juice in the morning to stimulate the liver, turmeric  is a good spice if added in vegetable dish as it assists enzymes that actively washout dietary toxins, he adds.

Experts say that though onions may have a weird smell, they are very nutritious for the liver since they are rich in allicin that wash out the liver and the digestive tract.  Research shows that before feeding on some supplements, talk to your doctor or expert about the possible risks and benefits they may offer you.

Experts share their views

Rene Tabaro, a senior nutritionist and dietician at King Faisal Hospital, Kigali.

For the Liver to function normally, reduce the consumption of high saturated fats like red meat, cheese, palm oil, fatty meat, pork, ice cream and butter. Avoid or reduce foods that contain aflatoxin because it is a poisonous carcinogens produced by certain molds which grow in soil, decaying vegetation, hay, and grains, some of these include improperly stored staple commodities such as cassava leaves, chili peppers, corn, cotton seed, millet, peanuts, rice, sorghum, and groundnuts. This kind of food is unhealthy and complicates liver detoxification process. Avoid artificial juice like soda since they contain citric acid which may stop the liver from detoxifying, especially if your liver is not functioning well. Cabbages do not absorb iron thus risking goiter. Do away with canned food since it contains chemical products which enter the blood stream and give extra stress for the liver to filter them. Feed more on biological fruits since they do not have medications or pesticides.  Vegetable oil, olive oil, sunf
lower oil, soya oil contain  linoleic acid and polyunsaturated fats which are beneficial to one’s health because they lower bad cholesterol levels thus easing liver cleansing. Consume the required food moderately and in a good combination for example you cannot mix beans, fruits, milk, and fish at the same time because each food has a specific time for digestion.  However, be conscious about local medicine since it does not have prescriptions of the quantity one should take and, most importantly, keep food hygiene you could suffer from hepatitis A due to food contamination.


Ian Shyaka, general practitioner at Rwanda Military Hospital, Kanombe

The liver performs more than 500 essential functions in the body, some of which include; manufacturing, and secreting substances that help in digestion, breaking down toxins resulting from alcohol, medications and metabolism. A healthy liver is very vital for our overall well-being. There are a number of food substances that are known to help keep our liver safer and detoxified, for example, green leafy vegetables like spinach and a host of other greens contain sulphur which helps the liver to cleanse the body. Studies have shown that drinking coffee in moderation can protect the liver by preventing the build-up of fat and collagen and reduce the risk of liver cancer. Some studies show that drinking two to three cups of coffee a day can protect your liver form damage caused due to too much alcohol or unhealthy diet. Red and purple grapes contain many beneficial plant compounds; a notable example is resveratrol which boosts the level of antioxidants and lower inflammation of the liver. Nuts are rich in vitamin
E and unsaturated fats as they assist the liver in eliminating bad cholesterol from the body and lowering the blood pressure, besides protecting against fatty liver disease. For eggs, they are rich in all eight essential amino acids and choline which help in detoxification and improving the metabolism rate. One of the things you could ever do for your liver is keeping a healthy weight.


Rn Privat Kamanzi, a dietician at Amazon Wellness Centre.

You should avoid fried or highly fatty food; feed more on plant origin food compared to animal origin food because most of animal products contain fats that can complicate the liver to cleanse. Avoid alcohol and tobacco since they increase poison in the body. Over feeding on meat is not healthy, instead reduce its consumption like three times a week and whenever you eat meat, make it a point to increase vegetable consumption. Food that contains fiber is also good for the liver.

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