Keep your liver happy with healthy food choices

Keep your liver happy with healthy food choices

Keep your liver happy with healthy food choices
Try Cindy’s recipe for Italian Chicken with ­Polenta, Zucchini and Bell Peppers, detailed below. (Photo courtesy Cindy Gershen)

Cindy Gershen, Farm to Taste(May 26, 2023) — Everything you swallow eventually passes through the liver – whether it’s food, alcohol or medicine. So, think about what you put in your mouth.

The liver is a busy place. Its functions include:

  • Digestion.
  • Filtration.
  • Storage of vitamins and minerals.
  • Metabolism detoxification.
  • Protein synthesis.

The liver filters the blood coming from the digestive tract, before passing it to the rest of the body. When the liver doesn’t work properly, toxins build up in the blood and the liver. These toxins can travel to the brain and affect brain function.

You can protect your liver through healthy food and, in particular, eating fiber-rich meals. If you eat real or artificial sugar, processed or Rfast foods, or drink large amounts of alcohol, you can wind up with a fatty liver, diabetes, cognitive impairment, diverticulitis, metabolic syndrome, cirrhosis or cancer. Eating high-fiber foods helps the liver function efficiently, increasing its ability to detox the blood.

What is fiber?

Fiber is a dietary substance that includes cellulose, lignin and pectin. Fiber carries food through the intestine faster, generating a signal that you are full, as explained by my friend and colleague, Dr. Robert H. Lustig, author of the 2021 book “Metabolical.”

Some high-fiber foods are whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and beans and legumes. The recommended daily value for dietary fiber is 25 grams.

When you remove the fiber from any food, for example, by converting whole fruit into juice, it can spike blood sugar levels in the body. Fiber protects the liver and ensures your brain can be sharp, so you can say goodbye to brain fog.

Everything you consume should protect the liver and feed the gut. Fiber helps to flush the liver of waste while delivering nutrients. Taking responsibility for what you eat is like a good basketball coach who knows how to direct the team, seeing who needs rest and what defense will stop the other team.

It is possible to manage your blood sugar without relying on pills for diabetes. I have seen many people reverse their reliance on medications after a few weeks of shifting to a healthy diet. You can do this, always in partnership with your doctor.

Try this recipe for a healthy dinner:

Italian Chicken with ­Polenta, Zucchini and Bell Peppers

1 c. polenta
5 c. water
2 tsp. salt
2 T avocado oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine ingredients and place in a 9-by-13-inch glass pan. Bake 20 minutes.

28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 zucchini, cut into two-inch pieces
2 bell peppers, cut lengthwise into slices
1½ lbs. skinless chicken thigh meat
2 T avocado oil
2 T Italian seasoning*
1 T chopped fresh garlic
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix tomatoes, zucchini and bell peppers and place in 9-by-13-inch pan. Cover with chicken pieces. Top with oil, seasoning and garlic. Cook one hour.

*Make this recipe yours by using whatever spices you like.

Send your questions and comments to

Cindy Gershen
Cindy Gershen

Cindy Gershen is an educator, nutritionist, chef, and co-author of “Fat Chance Cookbook.”