Better than milk thistle seeds? Researchers say white water lily protects your liver

Maintaining a healthy liver is one of the best ways to achieve optimal health. One way to keep it healthy is to supplement your diet with natural compounds that protect the liver from damage. A study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine examines the European white water lily (Nymphaea alba L.) and its merit as a natural source of hepatoprotective compounds.

Your liver performs many functions, many of which put it at the receiving end of harmful substances or bad habits. Whether it’s indulging in too much fat and sugar, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, or not drinking enough water, such stimuli can impair liver function and result in one condition or another.

The European white water lily is known to contain compounds and natural chemicals that are good for the liver. Its flowers and rhizomes have antioxidants and hepatoprotective properties, as well as cytotoxic effects that are effective against liver cell carcinoma.

Its leaves, however, have not been looked into. The researchers in the study above collected aqueous ethanolic extracts from the leaves. They put these through several tests to determine factors such as polyphenolic content. They tested the extracts’ hepatoprotective activity on Wistar rats with CCl4-induced hepatotoxicity. The researchers compared two doses (100 mg/kg and 200 mg/kg) with silymarin, a natural treatment for liver conditions, over five days. They employed a series of tests meant to gauge various aspects of liver functionality.

They found that the leaf extracts contained 53 compounds, including nine hydrocarbons, two sterols, and 11 fatty acids. The extracts were found to have improved liver function by a considerable degree. Other signs of reduced liver damage were also noted.

Because of their findings, the researchers concluded that the European white water lily has hepatoprotective properties that are comparable with silymarin. In addition to these, white water lily extract also had antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that make it even more effective in treating liver concerns.

Foods you can eat for a healthier liver

Taking care of your liver begins with eating the right food. Here are some food items you can include in your diet if you want a healthy liver:

  • Coffee – This beverage will not just brighten your morning, it will also make your liver much healthier. Studies suggest that drinking coffee reduces the incidence of liver conditions, such as cirrhosis. It also promotes healing in those who already have a liver condition. Coffee has potent anti-inflammatory properties and helps increase the levels of the antioxidant glutathione, which protects the liver from damage.
  • Grapefruit – This citrus fruit contains two liver-friendly antioxidants: naringenin and naringin. They lower the risk of hepatic fibrosis and decreases the amount of fat in the liver, all while promoting the faster burning of fat. Too much fat leads to a number of liver conditions, so this effect helps keep your liver free from disease.
  • Grapes – Whether in fruit or juice form, grapes offers many benefits for your liver. They contain several plant compounds, such as resveratrol. Grapes decrease inflammation, protect from damage, and boost antioxidant levels to promote liver health.
  • Cruciferous vegetables – Mustard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, among others, contain plenty of fiber and antioxidants that protect the liver from damage. Studies suggest that consuming these vegetables can reduce oxidative stress and help prevent liver failure.
  • Nuts – These are rich in antioxidants – vitamin E, for example – and other plant compounds. Studies indicate that people who ate fewer nuts had a higher chance of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
  • Fatty fish – These are excellent protein sources because they also contain omega 3-fatty acids that are great for liver function. However, you need to be careful about your omega 3 to omega 6 ratio as too much of the latter may lead to liver disease. It is essential that you consume more of the former.

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