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Four Nuts That Support Your Liver Health

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According to a 2009 Loma Linda University study, women who eat nuts weigh less and get more fiber, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium than those who don’t consume nuts. In addition, nut eaters were found to have higher levels of high density lipoproteins (good cholesterol) and lower levels of C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation in the body) than those who don’t consume nuts. For the purpose of defending against liver disease, high density lipoproteins help protect against fatty liver disease and low levels of C-reactive protein correlate with a reduction of inflammation in the liver (a precursor to liver cell damage).

Four nuts treasured for nourishing liver health include:

1.    Brazil Nuts – Brazil nuts are a good source of protein, copper, niacin, magnesium, fiber, vitamin E and selenium. Brazil nuts are one of the most concentrated food sources of selenium, with about 80 micrograms per nut. Selenium is especially valuable to those with liver disease because it is an antioxidant that helps protect against damage to liver cells, mobilizes cancer-fighting cells, strengthens immunity and contributes to tissue elasticity – an essential for healthful liver tissue.

2.    Walnuts – Walnuts contain the amino acid arginine, which is necessary to help the liver detoxify ammonia. Walnuts are also high in glutathione and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which are known to support healthful liver detoxification.

3.    Pecans – Pecans have many vitamins and minerals like vitamins E and A, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, B vitamins and zinc. Pecans are especially rich in one form of vitamin E called gamma-tocopherols. A study published in the January 2011 edition of the Journal of Nutritionfound that after eating pecans, gamma-tocopherol levels in the body doubled and unhealthy oxidation of low density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) in the blood decreased by as much as 33 percent. This finding renders pecans a tasty weapon against fatty liver disease.

4.    Almonds – Almonds have as much calcium as milk, and contain magnesium, vitamin E, selenium and lots of fiber. Magnesium is a crucial mineral for blood vessel relaxation, an invaluable component of blood moving smoothly throughout the liver. In addition, almonds reduce surges of blood sugar after meals, a known contributor to fatty liver disease.

What About Peanuts?

Although technically a legume, peanuts are one of America’s most popular snacks. Peanuts are exceptionally healthy because they contain monounsaturated fats, phytosterols, resveratrol, vitamins and minerals. However, there is some conflicting information regarding their benefit to the liver. This is primarily because of peanuts’ potential for being contaminated with aflatoxins, a potent carcinogen produced by certain strains of mold that grow in warm, humid silos. However, aflatoxins can be discouraged by only consuming fresh peanuts, storing them in a dry, cool environment and buying from reputable sources.

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