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Alcohol and Health

Cleanse and Repair the Liver: Meet the Superfoods

Published:
July 10, 2023
·
10 min read
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Written by
Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
July 10, 2023
·
10 min read
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
July 10, 2023
·
10 min read
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
July 10, 2023
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10 min read
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Reframe Content Team
July 10, 2023
·
10 min read

The liver is the ultimate multitasker: it detoxifies our blood, stores energy, and keeps digestion running every single day. Unfortunately, too much alcohol can really make the liver work overtime, to the point of damage. So, how can we help detoxify and repair our trusty liver? While we can’t take it out to run it through the wash cycle or take it to the repair shop, simply eating the right foods can work wonders.

Liver Cleanse

Let's look at foods that can help the liver cleanse itself to stay in tip-top shape.

  • Citrus fruits. Who doesn't love a good orange or a tangy lemon? Citrus fruits are packed with vitamin C — an antioxidant that helps the body produce glutathione, a key compound that the liver uses to break down toxins.

    Try squeezing a fresh lemon into your warm water in the morning. It's a real wake-me-up and a boost to your liver's detoxifying powers! 
  • Green tea. It's like a warm hug in a mug. Green tea is bursting with antioxidants, especially ones known as catechins. Research suggests that catechins may help improve fat metabolism and reduce oxidative stress in the liver.

    That's exactly why a comforting cup of green tea can be such a great substitute for an alcoholic drink. So why not swap that evening cocktail for a spot of refreshing sencha, fruity yuzu, nutty genmaicha or sweet hojicha?
  • Cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli and Brussels sprouts might not be everyone's favorites, but they're total rock stars when it comes to the liver. They contain glucosinolates, which support liver enzymes in the detoxification process. They help the liver neutralize harmful substances, such as alcohol and environmental pollutants. 

Foods To Repair the Liver

If your liver's been having a tough time lately because of too much alcohol, don't worry — there are foods that can help repair it, too.

  • Fatty fish. Fish like salmon and mackerel are superheroes when it comes to fighting inflammation. They're packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which can help your liver bounce back by reducing inflammation — a major contributor to liver disease. They also help improve the lipid profile in the liver, which can be affected by alcohol intake.
  • Nuts and seeds. These little guys are full of healthy fats and vitamin E, both of which are great for fighting liver disease. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can help fight off damage caused by alcohol, and healthy fats help reduce liver inflammation.

    Keep a stash of almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, or chia seeds on hand for when you need a quick snack!
  • Oats. Oats are rich in a type of fiber called beta-glucan, known to be beneficial for liver function because it can reduce liver fat and inflammation. Oatmeal is not just filling — it also works wonders for your liver health!

    Oats are also a great source of fiber and can help your liver get its groove back by speeding up liver recovery. Never underestimate the power of a good oatmeal breakfast!
  • Avocado. These green guys are not just Instagram-worthy — they're great for your liver, too. Avocados are packed with fiber, which aids in maintaining a healthy weight and managing blood sugar, both important factors for liver health. They're also rich in a specific type of fat called oleic acid, known for its anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Berries. Berries might be small, but they're mighty! Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and even the exotic acai berries are all full of antioxidants. One of them — ellagic acid — has been studied for its potential to protect the liver from damage.
  • Beets. This colorful vegetable has been shown to do wonders for the liver — and it might even help reduce the effects of fatty liver disease caused by alcohol misuse.
  • Turmeric. Studies show that this wonder spice can reduce liver enzyme levels, helping the liver recover.
  • Milk thistle. The active compound in this herb, silymarin, is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. It’s believed to help repair liver cells damaged by alcohol and other toxic substances by promoting cell growth.


    Multiple studies have examined milk thistle's effects in people with alcohol-induced liver damage. It's worth noting that milk thistle cannot reverse liver damage entirely, especially in advanced liver diseases. Also, while generally considered safe, milk thistle can cause side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, and bloating in some people.

Last But Not Least: Water!

It’s easy to overlook it, but hydration plays a vital role both in detoxifying the liver and in repairing it. Here's why: 

The toxic waste products produced by the liver as it metabolizes alcohol can build up. It's water's job to help flush out these waste products through urine and sweat.

Drinking adequate water also ensures that your liver can properly metabolize fats and perform its detoxification processes. It helps your kidneys, too, which work with the liver to filter out toxins from your bloodstream and excrete them.

Staying well-hydrated is also essential to boosting the liver’s capacity to repair itself. The liver is a resilient organ with an incredible ability to regenerate its cells. Drinking plenty of water is a great way to give it a hand!

Plan for a Healthy Liver

Here’s a plan to detox and repair your liver by incorporating these foods into your diet:

  • Morning boost. Kickstart your day with a glass of warm water and a squirt of fresh lemon.
  • Tea time. Trade your evening alcoholic drink for a cozy cup of green tea.
  • Veggie love. Try to sneak more broccoli and Brussels sprouts into your meals.
  • Fishy business. Add some fatty fish to your plate a couple of times a week.
  • Snack smart. Keep nuts and seeds handy for when you need a quick, healthy snack.
  • Oat it up. Make oats part of your regular diet — breakfast, snack, whatever works!
  • Love the avocado. Find ways to incorporate more avocados into your meals.
  • Berry delicious. Have a handful of berries for a snack or a quick dessert. Or use them to top your oatmeal!

Taking care of your liver is like taking care of your whole body: every small step you take to support your liver is a big step towards better health. With these tips, you'll be doing a world of good for your liver, one bite at a time. So, here’s to your health — you've got this!

The liver is the ultimate multitasker: it detoxifies our blood, stores energy, and keeps digestion running every single day. Unfortunately, too much alcohol can really make the liver work overtime, to the point of damage. So, how can we help detoxify and repair our trusty liver? While we can’t take it out to run it through the wash cycle or take it to the repair shop, simply eating the right foods can work wonders.

Liver Cleanse

Let's look at foods that can help the liver cleanse itself to stay in tip-top shape.

  • Citrus fruits. Who doesn't love a good orange or a tangy lemon? Citrus fruits are packed with vitamin C — an antioxidant that helps the body produce glutathione, a key compound that the liver uses to break down toxins.

    Try squeezing a fresh lemon into your warm water in the morning. It's a real wake-me-up and a boost to your liver's detoxifying powers! 
  • Green tea. It's like a warm hug in a mug. Green tea is bursting with antioxidants, especially ones known as catechins. Research suggests that catechins may help improve fat metabolism and reduce oxidative stress in the liver.

    That's exactly why a comforting cup of green tea can be such a great substitute for an alcoholic drink. So why not swap that evening cocktail for a spot of refreshing sencha, fruity yuzu, nutty genmaicha or sweet hojicha?
  • Cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli and Brussels sprouts might not be everyone's favorites, but they're total rock stars when it comes to the liver. They contain glucosinolates, which support liver enzymes in the detoxification process. They help the liver neutralize harmful substances, such as alcohol and environmental pollutants. 

Foods To Repair the Liver

If your liver's been having a tough time lately because of too much alcohol, don't worry — there are foods that can help repair it, too.

  • Fatty fish. Fish like salmon and mackerel are superheroes when it comes to fighting inflammation. They're packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which can help your liver bounce back by reducing inflammation — a major contributor to liver disease. They also help improve the lipid profile in the liver, which can be affected by alcohol intake.
  • Nuts and seeds. These little guys are full of healthy fats and vitamin E, both of which are great for fighting liver disease. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can help fight off damage caused by alcohol, and healthy fats help reduce liver inflammation.

    Keep a stash of almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, or chia seeds on hand for when you need a quick snack!
  • Oats. Oats are rich in a type of fiber called beta-glucan, known to be beneficial for liver function because it can reduce liver fat and inflammation. Oatmeal is not just filling — it also works wonders for your liver health!

    Oats are also a great source of fiber and can help your liver get its groove back by speeding up liver recovery. Never underestimate the power of a good oatmeal breakfast!
  • Avocado. These green guys are not just Instagram-worthy — they're great for your liver, too. Avocados are packed with fiber, which aids in maintaining a healthy weight and managing blood sugar, both important factors for liver health. They're also rich in a specific type of fat called oleic acid, known for its anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Berries. Berries might be small, but they're mighty! Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and even the exotic acai berries are all full of antioxidants. One of them — ellagic acid — has been studied for its potential to protect the liver from damage.
  • Beets. This colorful vegetable has been shown to do wonders for the liver — and it might even help reduce the effects of fatty liver disease caused by alcohol misuse.
  • Turmeric. Studies show that this wonder spice can reduce liver enzyme levels, helping the liver recover.
  • Milk thistle. The active compound in this herb, silymarin, is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. It’s believed to help repair liver cells damaged by alcohol and other toxic substances by promoting cell growth.


    Multiple studies have examined milk thistle's effects in people with alcohol-induced liver damage. It's worth noting that milk thistle cannot reverse liver damage entirely, especially in advanced liver diseases. Also, while generally considered safe, milk thistle can cause side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, and bloating in some people.

Last But Not Least: Water!

It’s easy to overlook it, but hydration plays a vital role both in detoxifying the liver and in repairing it. Here's why: 

The toxic waste products produced by the liver as it metabolizes alcohol can build up. It's water's job to help flush out these waste products through urine and sweat.

Drinking adequate water also ensures that your liver can properly metabolize fats and perform its detoxification processes. It helps your kidneys, too, which work with the liver to filter out toxins from your bloodstream and excrete them.

Staying well-hydrated is also essential to boosting the liver’s capacity to repair itself. The liver is a resilient organ with an incredible ability to regenerate its cells. Drinking plenty of water is a great way to give it a hand!

Plan for a Healthy Liver

Here’s a plan to detox and repair your liver by incorporating these foods into your diet:

  • Morning boost. Kickstart your day with a glass of warm water and a squirt of fresh lemon.
  • Tea time. Trade your evening alcoholic drink for a cozy cup of green tea.
  • Veggie love. Try to sneak more broccoli and Brussels sprouts into your meals.
  • Fishy business. Add some fatty fish to your plate a couple of times a week.
  • Snack smart. Keep nuts and seeds handy for when you need a quick, healthy snack.
  • Oat it up. Make oats part of your regular diet — breakfast, snack, whatever works!
  • Love the avocado. Find ways to incorporate more avocados into your meals.
  • Berry delicious. Have a handful of berries for a snack or a quick dessert. Or use them to top your oatmeal!

Taking care of your liver is like taking care of your whole body: every small step you take to support your liver is a big step towards better health. With these tips, you'll be doing a world of good for your liver, one bite at a time. So, here’s to your health — you've got this!

Give Your Liver a Break With Reframe!

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually, with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet hundreds of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol.

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today!

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