Liver Health: Eat, Don’t Cook

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each week, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Liver Health: Eat, Don’t Cook

Many of the biochemical processes that the liver must perform in order to help you stay healthy require the presence of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that are most abundant in the vegetables and fruit that you eat. Including these foods in your daily diet will keep your liver cells fully prepared for the challenges that the rest of your diet and body will provide. However, the activity of many of the vitamins and other nutrients present in the diet is decreased by cooking. As explained in a recent review article, cooking vegetables (except beans and potatoes) destroys many of the nutrients the liver craves.5 It is much more efficient (from your liver’s point of view) to eat uncooked vegetables and fruit. Thus, adding raw foods to your diet can help increase the efficiency of liver function. High-quality dietary supplementation can also help bridge the gap between supply and demand and can “level off” day-to-day fluctuations in the nutrient and phytonutrient contents of the foods you consume.

Exception: Some foods need to be cooked to maximize the availability of liver-healthy phytonutrients. As an example, tomatoes contain liver-supportive nutrients in their fibrous materials, so they must be cooked to maximize the release of those nutrients for absorption into your blood.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Liver Health: Enjoy the Colors of the Rainbow

5. Link LB, Potter JD. Raw versus cooked vegetables and cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2004;13:1422-1435.

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