Here are 5 of the worst foods for your liver, one of the hardest working organs in your body. It's an air filter, a chemical detoxifier, a drug metabolizer, a gas tank for energy and an enzyme maker. It works round the clock to make sure your body gets the nutrients it needs all while guarding you from the toxins you eat and breathe throughout the day.
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.
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.
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. Other high sodium foods to watch out for include:
- Deli Meat
- Soy Sauce
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Beverages and foods that contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) wreak havoc on your liver. Americans consume 12% of their total calories from fructose, most of which is in the form of HFCS. Soft drinks contain a form of HFCS that is 55% fructose. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has shown that even without weight gain, this much fructose consumption can cause liver damage. Common foods containing HFCS include:
- Single Serving Lunch Snacks (pudding, fruit snacks, cereal bars)
- Bread and Crackers
Trans fat-loaded foods, or foods containing partially hydrogenated oils, are far from a thing of the past, still showing up in processed foods everywhere, like store-bought frosting. Even small amounts of trans fats increase bad cholesterol...fast! In fact, all the extra LDLs from trans fasts get dumped into our liver, increasing the risk of disease. Read your labels! Don't be surprised if you see trans fats in any of these foods:
- Store-bought Frosting
- Crackers, Cookies & Biscuits
- Salad Dressings
- Microwave Popcorn
Foods that contain high amounts of fruit sugar, or fructose, like raisins and juices may be tasty and made by Mother Nature herself, but doesn't do your liver any favors. Fructose simply doesn't breakdown in your body the same way other forms of sugar do. In fact, too much fructose can cause dyslipidemia, or abnormal amounts of fat in the blood. According to 2013 study published in Hepatology, fructose is closely tied to fatty liver and inflammation. Small amounts of fruit are good to eat, but too much can cause a problem. Try not to go overboard with these:
- Trail Mix
- Agave Nectar & Honey
We all know fried foods, particularly those from fast food restaurants, have a negative effect on our liver, but it turns out eating French fries, extra crispy chicken or deep fried cheese-filled wontons actually have an effect on our liver that's very similar to hepatitis. Eating fried foods has also been shown to elevate bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol. Watch out for these fried foods:
- French Fries
- Fried, Breaded Sandwiches
- Mozzarella Sticks, and Fried Appetizers
Traci is a nationally-recognized health and fitness coach, and the current coach working with Steve Harvey's Bridal Bootcamp. Traci has also been featured on Dr. Oz, The TODAY Show, in SHAPE, SELF and local news programs. Her specialty is weight loss through clean eating and interval-style training. Traci is available for private coaching and corporate consulting. To contact Traci, please email email@example.com.
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