Our overall health is highly dependent on the health of liver. Liver is the largest organ in the body, a workhorse which has various roles to play for maintaining good health. Although less appreciated, this vital organ is the main detoxifier. It works extremely hard to remove and neutralize toxins, drugs, alcohol, nicotine etc from the bloodstream. It also stores and regulates glucose level in the blood. Bile is manufactured in liver and stored in gallbladder which is used for breakdown of fats into tiny globules that can be easily digested.
All these functions can get impaired by severe liver disease and overload of toxins. Although the liver has remarkable ability to regenerate itself, the long term effects of toxins may cause liver damage. To reduce the liver’s workload when the liver cells are damaged, it is best to follow a healthy diet and foods that help to regenerate the liver cells.
Healthy Diet And Foods That Promote Liver Regeneration
The metabolism of various nutrients is disturbed when liver cells are damaged. Dietary modifications will help the damaged liver cells to regenerate.
- Carbohydrates: Liver plays a primary role in carbohydrate metabolism. The major source of energy should be that from carbohydrates in a diet meant for liver regeneration. However, care should be taken to balance it appropriately, so that excessive calories from the carbohydrates are not converted into fats which may get deposited on the liver, increasing the stress on already damaged liver.
- Fats: Excessive intake of fats can result in increased fat synthesis and accumulation in liver. Fat intake amounting to 30 to 35 percent of daily caloric requirement is needed in absence of loss of fats from stool (steatorrhoea). This amount of fat is necessary as fat makes diet more palatable and is a source of non protein calories.
- Protein: Liver actively participates in protein metabolism. With breakdown of protein, a waste product like ammonia is formed. When liver is healthy it filters out ammonia, but the function is compromised due to cell damage, ammonia a toxin, accumulates in the blood. It may lead to symptoms of weakness, vomiting, and confused mental state. To reduce the risk of such complication, the overall protein intake is limited to take 1 gm per kg body weight.
- Sodium: Restrict salt intake with liver cell damage. Liver failure leads to edema and water retention in abdomen, limbs, face and even heart. Limiting salt intake can reduce the risk of edema in the body. Avoid eating processed foods, pickles, etc. In severely sodium retentive liver disease patient may require sodium less than 1gm per day.
Include the foods in your diet that help to revitalize the liver when it is not functioning to its optimum. Garlic, green leafy vegetables, turmeric, walnuts, oranges, sweet lime, Avocado, sugarcane juice, are foods that help in detoxification process. They also aid in regeneration of liver cells.
Vitamins For Liver Regeneration
Vitamins and supplements are needed in all patients having liver diseases. Patients lack in certain vitamins when they suffer from liver disease, such as vitamin B12 and folates. These vitamins play an essential role in regeneration of liver cells. Especially B complex vitamins help to regenerate the damaged liver cells. Eat plenty of food that contains B group vitamins.
Green leafy vegetables, garlic, bananas, cabbage, broccoli, wheat grass, apples, kale, spinach, etc help in regenerating the liver cells, as well as aid in flushing out the accumulated toxins from the body.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It is present in almost all the citrus fruits. It helps the recovery process by supporting the detoxification system of the liver which is weakened when liver is affected with diseases and toxins. Drink beetroot, carrot and lemon juice to increase bile flow secreted by the liver. It helps the excretion of waste products from the body.
Fat soluble vitamin K is essential for liver diseases. Eat foods which contain vitamin K. Green leafy vegetables, cabbage, cauliflower, etc are source of vitamin K. Include them in your diet.