When your liver isn’t operating as well as it could, you may notice you’re sluggish, bloated, moody or even hungrier more often. Junk food, refined carbs and too much sugar all open the door for degenerative diseases to take over. In fact, according to the American Liver Foundation, non-alcohol fatty liver disease now affects 1 in 4 Americans.
Certain foods will wreak havoc on your liver by promoting internal inflammation, increasing fat storage, and contributing to further liver damage, such as fibrosis and cirrhosis. We have put together a list of 5 foods that are the absolute worse for your liver. Eliminating these foods will not only keep your liver safe, but can improve your body’s overall health and may allow you to shed a few extra pounds.
Trans fats have no nutritional value. These are often the prepackaged goods, prepackaged baked goods, candies and most fried foods. A 2010 study conducted by the University of Cincinnati founds that consuming excessive amounts of trans fats can lead to fibrosis.
Alcohol, especially red wine, has been known to have several different health benefits. However, just like any other good thing it should be consumed in moderation. Excessive amounts of alcohol strains and stresses the liver. The liver is already responsible for removing toxins from your body and adding excessive stress on it can lead to disease. The key factor to know here is what is excessive? Most people know that a night of heavy drinking will slow down the liver’s process and put added stress on it, but what most people don’t realize is what is considered too much? For women, anything over one serving will start to add stress onto to the liver, and for men it is anything over two servings.
Foods that are very high in sodium, like canned soup, tax your liver. A normal amount of sodium helps to regulate fluids in your body and blood pressure. But if you’re prone to fluid retention, try to avoid high sodium foods as too much salt can create excess fluid in your liver, too. This is especially important to remember for people that already have a liver problem, like fatty liver. Extra sodium in your diet may lead to further damage.
Sugars or Syrups
Natural sugar is not as much of a concern here compared to the added sugars (although excessive amounts of natural sugar can have its own problems too). When you eat an excessive amount of added sugar your blood sugar takes a massive spike, along with your insulin levels, and in order to balance these levels your liver has to go into hyperdrive, which causes added stress on it. Fructose (added fructose not natural fructose), or any sugar additive ending in “ose” are even worse as they cause direct stress on the liver because these sugars are converted into fat in the liver.
White grains are modified in a way to remove the fiber, or drastically reduce the amount of fiber, in them. So, these grains have almost no nutritional value and work as a simple sugar by drastically spiking your blood sugar and insulin levels. As mentioned above, this puts strain on the liver to balance these levels.
Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to help keep you’re liver clean, starting with your what you eat. Avoiding these liver-clogging foods can help keep your liver healthy and functional.