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Best foods to keep your liver healthy

A functioning liver processes food, detoxifies your body, makes important proteins and keeps you healthy all-round.

Yet, more and more Singaporeans are getting fatty liver disease, no thanks to obesity, belly fat, high cholesterol and other chronic health conditions.

If it doesn't get nipped in the bud, the condition can lead to liver inflammation, and permanent scarring and hardening.

Ultimately, this puts you at a higher risk of liver cancer.

The good news is that fatty liver disease can be reversed. Food plays a huge part in keeping your liver healthy.

Load up on wholesome food like these.

BROCCOLI

Dark green veggies - broccoli in particular - help to reduce the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Animal studies have shown that broccoli sprout extract protects the liver by increasing the levels of detoxification enzymes.

SPINACH

Spinach has an antioxidant called glutathione.

This important substance reduces oxidative stress as it combats free radicals in your body.

Plus, it is found to reduce cell damage in the liver.

OATMEAL

Fibre-rich foods help to boost your liver's performance because they keep you full for longer, which reduces fat around the midsection.

It is important to keep your tummy trim to prevent liver disease.

An easy way to get fibre in first thing in the morning is to have a bowl of oatmeal.

ALMONDS

Eating nuts is reportedly associated with improved levels of liver enzymes, and they are also great sources of vitamin E, a nutrient that might help you to protect yourself against fatty liver disease. Almonds are also good for your heart and they are full of healthy fats.

BLUEBERRIES

This small but mighty berry is high in nutrients called polyphenols that can reduce the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, obesity and high cholesterol.

They also contain anthocyanins, an antioxidant that gives them their colour.

Having blueberries for just three to four weeks can increase liver protection, immune cell response and antioxidant enzymes.

HERBS AND SPICES

To protect both your liver and heart, sprinkle some oregano, sage or rosemary on your meals.

They are a good source of healthy polyphenols and the aromatic flavours help you to reduce your salt intake. Specific herbs including but not limited to artichoke, dandelion and milk thistle even help to cleanse and protect the liver.

This article first appeared in Shape (www.shape.com.sg)

MEDICAL & HEALTH