Our livers are our body’s main filter for toxins and waste, helping us clear all those nasties out of our blood, along with absorbing nutrients for whole-body health. Considering its importance, many of us are looking for ways to keep the system up to scratch – that’s why we’ll be sharing a few tips on liver health, plus 3 quick, easy and nourishing recipes for you and the whole family to enjoy.
While you won’t be able to do a 180 on your health overnight, these recipes are loaded with ingredients that will give your system a much-needed boost to get things flowing again. After all, your liver goes through a lot to keep you healthy. It’s responsible for fructose metabolisation and it’s also the first responder when it comes to alcohol consumption. Your liver’s lymphatic system is responsible for clearing toxins out, but sometimes things can get a little stuck, resulting in digestive issues, weight gain and sometimes even autoimmune diseases. The visceral fat caused by excess fructose also puts us at significant risk for fatty liver disease – but making a few simple dietary changes is one of the best defences against this rapidly rising disease. To help get your liver lymphatic system functioning as it should, it’s essential to eat anti-inflammatory, liver and gut-healing foods. Here are a few foods to prioritise:
- Herbs like schizandra, burdock root, liquorice root and dandelion root are anti-inflammatory and boost kidney function.
- Turmeric is an antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory food which boosts liver function and some studies suggest it may protect against non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
- Bitter or astringent foods like rocket, dill, sesame seeds and cumin are known to give your liver a boost.
Your kidneys also play a role in liver health, as they help filter out toxins as they contain a network of fluid-clearing lymphatic vessels, which are essential for our immune system. A sugary diet can lead to a clogged drainage pathway and cause damage to our kidneys, leading to inflammation and disease, and that’s why you’ll want to ditch the sweet stuff and opt instead for whole, kidney-boosting foods like the following:
- Red fruits like strawberries, raspberries, cherries and cranberries are all packed with antioxidants known as phenols – including anthocyanins and ellagitannins in strawberries – both of which are known for supporting kidney function.
- Blueberries, apples, pineapples and citrus fruits are also anti-inflammatory foods for kidney and liver health as they’re bursting with antioxidants that help our clear out those clogged pathways and fight off free radicals.
- Kidney beans are loaded with fibre, low fat and promote stable blood sugars, giving your kidneys a break.
Here are some of our favourite recipes loaded with kidney and liver-boosting nutrients to help get your detox started – but remember that long-term liver health relies on consistent healthful efforts, from eating well to exercising and managing stress.
Tropical Green Smoothie with Buckwheat Bread
Chewing your smoothies is one of the best ways to ensure you absorb the nutrients and digest your meal properly, and that’s why we like to serve ours with a nourishing slice of buckwheat bread.
- 1/2 cup ice cubes
- 1 cup baby spinach leaves
- 1⁄4 cup basil leaves
- 2⁄3 cup (155ml) coconut milk
- 1⁄2 cup (125ml) water
- 1 tablespoon full-fat natural or Greek yoghurt
- 1⁄2 lime, juice and zest
- 1 slice gluten-free buckwheat bread, toasted
- 1⁄2 teaspoon butter
- Toast Gluten-Free Buckwheat Bread and spread with butter.
- Add the rest of the ingredients into the blender and blitz until smooth. Pour into a glass and serve with the bread.
Gluten-Free Buckwheat Bread
Can’t find any gluten-free buckwheat bread to accompany your smoothie? We’ve got you covered – try our gut-boosting recipe that is so simple to make. For the cherry on top of an already powerhouse food, researchers have found that buckwheat may activate enzymes that fight fatty liver disease.
Makes 10 slices
Here’s a new delicious loaf to add to your gluten-free cooking repertoire. The buckwheat makes this bread a little nutty and gives a good dense texture, perfect for toasting and slathering with a generous amount of butter.
- 1 cup gluten-free plain flour
- 1 cup buckwheat flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 medium free-range eggs
- 250 ml full-fat milk
- 1⁄2 cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted
- 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds, raw
- Preheat oven to 180oC/350oF/Gas Mark 4. Grease a 6cm deep, 9cm x 19cm (3 1⁄2” x 7 1⁄2”) loaf pan.
- Meanwhile sift flours, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl beat eggs with an electric mixer until just frothy. Stir in milk and oil. Add egg mixture to flours. Beat for 1–2 minutes or until smooth.
- Pour mixture into prepared pan. Smooth top with a spatula and sprinkle with seeds. Bake for 55–60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand in pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
- When cool, cut the bread into 10 slices and freeze for later use.
Parsnip, Pear and Thyme Soup
This delicious, liver-boosting recipe comes straight from our Soups Cookbook eBook – check it out for all the details, tips and access to extra recipes like the classic soup stock, along with more recipes loaded with antioxidants.
- 1 brown onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 6 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 parsnips, roughly chopped
- 1 small pear, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
- pinch freshly ground black pepper
- 1 litre chicken or veggie stock
- 1 portion shredded chicken
- 1⁄4 cup Greek yoghurt or coconut yoghurt
- Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and zucchini and cook for 8 minutes, until soft. Add the thyme and garlic and cook for another 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the parsnip, pear and the Chicken Stock and bring to the boil.
- Reduce to a simmer for approximately 20 minutes, or until all the parsnip is soft. Add in the chicken, salt and pepper and stir through until warmed through.
- Pour the soup into a blender, or use a stick blender to blitz the soup into a puree. Add water to thin out the soup until you reach a desired consistency.
- Divide the soup between a bowl for dinner and a jar or airtight container for lunch tomorrow. Serve both with a dollop of yoghurt.
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