11 Foods That Are Good for Your Liver

4. Blueberries and Cranberries

Blueberries and cranberries both contain anthocyanins, antioxidants that give berries their distinctive colors. They’ve also been connected to many health benefits.

Several animal studies have demonstrated that whole cranberries and blueberries, as well as their extracts or juices, can help keep the liver healthy .

Consuming these fruits for 3–4 weeks protected the liver from damage. Additionally, blueberries helped increase immune cell response and antioxidant enzymes .

Another experiment found that the types of antioxidants found commonly in berries slowed the development of lesions and fibrosis, the development of scar tissue, in the livers of rats .

What’s more, blueberry extract has even been shown to inhibit the growth of human liver cancer cells in test-tube studies. However, more studies are needed to determine if this effect can be replicated in the human body .

Making these berries a regular part of your diet is a good way to make sure your liver is supplied with the antioxidants it needs to stay healthy.

SUMMARY:

Berries are high in antioxidants, which help protect the liver from damage. They may even improve its immune and antioxidant responses. Still, human studies are needed to confirm these results.

5. Grapes

Grapes, especially red and purple grapes, contain a variety of beneficial plant compounds. The most famous one is resveratrol, which has a number of health benefits.

Many animal studies have shown that grapes and grape juice can benefit the liver.

Studies have found that they can have various benefits, including lowering inflammation, preventing damage and increasing antioxidant levels .

A small study in humans with NAFLD showed that supplementing with grape seed extract for three months improved liver function .

However, since grape seed extract is a concentrated form, you might not see the same effects from consuming whole grapes. More studies are needed before taking grape seed extract for the liver can be recommended.

Nonetheless, the wide range of evidence from animal and some human studies suggests that grapes are a very liver-friendly food.

SUMMARY:

Animal and some human studies show that grapes and grape seed extract protect the liver from damage, increase antioxidant levels and fight inflammation.

6. Prickly Pear

Prickly pear, known scientifically as Opuntia ficus-indica, is a popular type of edible cactus. Its fruit and juice are most commonly consumed.

It has long been used in traditional medicine as a treatment for ulcers, wounds, fatigue and liver disease .

A 2004 study in 55 people found that the extract of this plant reduced symptoms of a hangover.

Participants experienced less nausea, dry mouth and lack of appetite and were half as likely to experience a severe hangover if they consumed the extract before drinking alcohol, which is detoxified by the liver .

The study concluded these effects were due to a reduction in inflammation, which often occurs after drinking alcohol.

Another study in mice found that consuming prickly pear extract helped normalize enzyme and cholesterol levels when consumed at the same time as a pesticide known to be harmful to the liver. Subsequent studies found similar results .

A more recent study in rats sought to determine the effectiveness of prickly pear juice, rather than its extract, at combating the negative effects of alcohol.

This study found that the juice decreased the amount of oxidative damage and injury to the liver after alcohol consumption and helped keep antioxidant and inflammation levels stable .

More human studies are needed, especially using prickly pear fruit and juice, rather than extract. Nonetheless, the studies thus far have demonstrated that prickly pear has positive effects on the liver.

SUMMARY:

Prickly pear fruit and juice may help fight hangover symptoms by reducing inflammation. They may also protect the liver from damage caused by alcohol consumption.