The liver plays an important role in the body. The liver is unique in many ways. It’s the body’s largest internal organ, and is one of the few organs with limited regenerative power. The liver has many essential functions, from the removal of toxins to helping with digestion, but it can become strained with overuse. Elevated liver enzymes are a symptom of overuse, but simple diet changes can lower enzyme levels back to a healthy balance.
While it largely takes care of itself, a person can help maintain liver health by consuming some certain foods and drinks.
There are also many types of food that may harm the liver.
Choosing foods that are good for the liver can help a person avoid potential health issues in the future.
To lower liver enzymes Take milk thistle and dandelion root daily and eat plenty of broccoli, berries and nuts.
Milk thistle Some early research suggests milk thistle may aid people with alcohol-related liver disease. Other studies show no improvement in liver function in this group of people.
Some studies also show milk thistle may offer a possible benefit for people whose liver is damaged by industrial toxins, such as toluene and xylene.
More information is needed before doctors can say milk thistle actually benefits the liver.
Dandelion root Research indicates that dandelion may increase contractions and movement of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, acting as a treatment for constipation and indigestion. This effect is likely due to the prebiotic fiber inulin.
What to include in your diet to lower liver enzymes
Fruits and vegetables (raw or cooked without butter, oil, or salt)
Meal/nutritional supplements, as approved
Eggs, egg whites
Cooked fish (salmon, tuna)
Lean chicken or turkey (without the skin)
Low-fat Greek yogurt
Cream cheese, ricotta
Hard cheeses (cheddar, mozzarella)
Nuts and seeds (unsalted)
Dried beans and legumes
Nut butters (unsalted)
Fortified milk alternatives (almond, soy, rice)
Whole grain bread, crackers, and cereals
Granola and cereal bars
What not to include in your diet to lower liver enzymes
Raw or partially raw fish and shellfish (e.g., oysters, clams)
Fast food, fried food
Canned food (meat, soup, vegetables)
Packaged, processed snacks and meals (incl. frozen)
Hot dogs, sausage, lunchmeat
Tomato sauce or paste
Instant hot cereal or oatmeal
Potato chips, pretzels, rice cakes, crackers, popcorn
Refined white flour pasta, bread, and white rice
Oils high in trans fat or partially hydrogenated oils (palm oil, coconut oil)
Breading, coating, and stuffing mixes
Full-fat dairy products
Bread, biscuit, pancake, and baked good mixes
Pastries, cake, cookies, muffins, doughnuts
American, Parmesan, Swiss, blue, feta, cottage cheese, cheese slices or spreads
Pudding, custard, or frosting mixes
Table salt, sea salt, mixed seasonings
Ketchup, soy sauce, salsa, salad dressing, steak sauce
Bouillon cubes, broth, gravy, and stock
Caffeinated tea, coffee, and soft drinks
How long does it take to lower liver enzymes
It normally takes within 2 to 6 weeks of abstinence of Alcohol and eating a good diet.
Diet for reducing a fatty liver
Dr. Juan Gallegos: Yes. Most of the time when I see patients in my clinic who have chronic liver disease, my main recommendation for them is, first, abstain from alcohol because we know alcohol has a direct toxic effect on the liver. So, if somebody already has liver disease, we strongly recommend that they abstain from alcohol so as not to damage the liver even further. In regards to any particular change in their diet, I do recommend that they try to eat healthy. Meaning, have adequate portions of fruits and vegetables, trying to limit their simple sugars, like a lot of flour, and bread, things of that nature. The other main thing, especially in patients that have very advanced liver disease, something we call cirrhosis, is to limit their salt intake because increased salt intake can lead to complications of liver disease or worsening of those complications, such as fluid build up in the abdomen, which we call ascites, or swelling of the legs and arms. They might surprise you. We recommend patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease drink three cups of coffee per day, eat four tablespoons of olive oil a day and follow a Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes eating primarily plant-based foods and healthy fats.
Alcoholic liver disease diet
Alcohol did not affect activities of the liver enzymes ALAT and ASAT. There was a slight increase in GGT after 3 weeks’ consumption of beer as compared to no-alcohol beer consumption which was not correlated with the decrease in CRP (Spearman’s r=−0.007, P=0.98). In women only both GGT and ALAT activities were slightly increased. These increases in liver enzyme activity were not correlated with the decrease in CRP (Pearson’s r=0.52, P=0.16 and Spearman’s r=0.02, P=0.96, respectively).