Our liver is a vital organ of our body – we need it to digest and store nutrients from our food while also filtering out the junk from our blood. If you don’t drink or don’t drink alcohol often, you may be feeling like your liver is generally in pretty good health. But alcohol isn’t the only thing that’s toxic for our liver. If the following foods are a part of your regular diet, you could be doing your liver more harm than good.
White bread, rice, and pasta
A white color is an indicator that these foods are highly processed and refined. When they are processed, fiber is removed from their grains – which also increases blood sugar levels. Refined grains can easily be substituted for whole grains or whole-wheat alternatives.
Frozen meals, chips, pre-packaged snacks
Though we need some salt in our diet to maintain a proper balance of fluids, too much sodium can cause our liver significant stress. Although the U.S. recommended daily allowance of sodium for adults is about a teaspoon per day or 2,300 mg, most Americans consume way more salt than necessary. According to the FDA, over 70 percent of dietary sodium comes from eating packaged and prepared foods. Such foods are also likely loaded with trans fats (man-made fats) that are damaging to the liver and will make you more likely to gain weight.
French fries and burgers
Fried foods that are high in saturated fat and calories can spike up your cholesterol and make it harder for our liver to do its job. Over time, regular consumption may also lead to liver inflammation, which could cause cirrhosis (or scarring of the liver). When in doubt, prepare your own foods or opt for healthier options at the drive-thru.
Bacon or deli meats
The health risks of bacon and other deli meats that you may find convenient to throw in your lunch bag are due to two food additives: potassium nitrate (also known as saltpetre) and sodium nitrite, which are known to give salamis, bacon and cooked hams their rosy pink appearance. Though these chemicals are not carcinogenic—or cancerous—on their own, the reaction they have on meat processing is another story. Anytime we eat these meats, we are receiving a low dose of compounds, known as nitrosamines, which can damage the cells in the lining of the bowel, and can lead to cancer.
Pastries and candies
Sugary foods like cake, ice cream, candy and baked goods are all simple carbohydrates with unhealthy levels of sugar and sodium. If you have a sweet tooth, opt for natural sugars from fruits like strawberries, oranges or apples.