Get a Healthy Liver by Avoiding Foods Bad for Liver

Updated on April 21st, 2020
foods bad for liver

The struggle with liver disease is real. Liver disease range from a fatty liver to a bile duct disease and Cirrhosis. A fatty liver is an inflamed liver that makes processing nutrients in the body difficult. Bile duct disease refers to the low production of bile juices, and Cirrhosis refers to the hardening of the liver.

Many foods bad for kidneys and liver increase the chances of liver disease. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases state that liver disease can be caused by obesity, high blood sugar, insulin resistance, hepatitis B and C and in some cases, pregnancy(1).

Do you know which foods can damage your liver?

Below is a comprehensive list of foods bad for liver disease(2).

1. Meat

Image: ShutterStock

What to Avoid?

Meats such as pork, beef, turkey, and red meat are high in saturated fats. Meats are also high in sodium, which exerts pressurize in your liver by creating excess fluid. Avoid animal fat foods that are hard on the liver.

What Is the Alternative?

Choose monounsaturated fats or lean cut meats for a healthy liver. Switch to fish such as salmon, trout, and herring, which are healthy and rich in omega-3 fatty acids. If you would like to indulge in poultry once in a while, go for the skinless option, cooked over a grill with minimum oi.

[Read: Best Vitamins For Liver]

2. Cheese or High-Fat Dairy

What to Avoid?

Food items such as cheese and butter are high in trans fats. Along with cheese, avoid high-fat dairy items such as full-fat milk and cream.

What is the Alternative?

Switch to low-fat options such as hummus. Hummus with pita makes a healthy snack. Replace high-fat dairy milk with slim milk or 1% fat. Do not be duped by the likes of almond milk. Though almond milk is a good option for a healthy person, however, anyone with liver disease must avoid almond milk as it is high fat and high protein.

3. Canned Vegetables

What to Avoid?

Canned vegetables are loaded with sauces and preservatives, which are high in calories and high in salt.

What is the Alternative?

Consume a rainbow of vegetables. From carrots, capsicum, cabbage, broccoli, and lettuce, these are all boons for people with liver disease.

[Read: Foods for Fatty Liver]

4. Fried Foods

Fried Foods

What to Avoid?

High in saturated fats, fast foods are a no and one of the worst foods for the liver.

What is the Alternative?

If you are craving crunchy food items, try grilled fish or grilled vegetables. Grilled vegetables can be tossed in vinegar in a salad with garlic to fulfill your cravings. Choose green leafy vegetables such as spinach or rocket leaves in your salads to increase the antioxidant food quotient.

5. Dry Fruits

What to Avoid?

Though consuming dry fruits is always a healthy snacking option. However, for patients with liver disease, certain dry fruits are not recommended. Dry fruits, which are naturally high in sugar or fat such as raisins, dried cranberries, cashews, and dried mango should not be consumed.

What is the Alternative?

Opt for dry fruit options such as almonds and walnuts. In case you are not fond of eating dried nuts, you can always slice them and add them to your salads along with a dash of flax seeds for a healthy liver.

[Read: Know About Liver Detox]

6. Soft Drinks

What to Avoid?

Soft drinks are high in sugar and high in fat. The presence of fructose makes it difficult for the liver to break down.

What is the Alternative?

Coffee is an excellent choice for people with liver disease. In a study conducted by NCBI, coffee has been recognized as a magical bean that reduces the risk of liver cancer and even reduces the replication of Hepatitis C cells in the body. Coffee reportedly aids in the resolution of numerous liver diseases(3).

7. Alcohol

Image: ShutterStock

What to Avoid?

When we consume alcohol, the liver stops all bodily functions and initiates processing the alcohol to remove from your bloodstream. This metabolization of alcohol is possible when alcohol is consumed in moderation. If one crosses the alcohol consumption limit, it can lead to a chemical imbalance and subsequent liver diseases.

What is the Alternative?

Keep yourself well hydrated, have green tea and coffee for a healthy liver.

8. Salt

What to Avoid?

High sodium levels in salt make it difficult for your liver to produce bile. Look for “no sodium” or “low sodium” mention on product packaging.

What is the Alternative?

You can choose rock salt in moderation and sprinkle it in strict limits over salads. Herbs and spices such as rosemary, garlic powder, oregano, and sage are good alternatives.

[Read:  Therapies for Liver Cancer Cure]

9. Items Made from Flour

What to Avoid?

Flour is usually made by using raising agents and salt(4). Both these ingredients are not suggested for consumption for liver patients. Subsequently, avoid bakery items such as cakes, pastries, and pretzels.

What is the Alternative?

Choose whole-grain foods items such as wheat flour as a healthy fiber-rich alternative.

10. Vegetable Oil

Vegetable Oil
Image: ShutterStock

What to Avoid?

It is recommended to avoid vegetable oils such as soybean oil, coconut oil, and palm oil. These are the types of plant oils and nut oils.

What is the Alternative?

Switch to healthier alternatives such as oil derived from kernels such as olive oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil, and sunflower oil. These oils require less bile to break down as the production of bile is a challenge in a patient with fatty liver.

Sample Diet Plan for Patients with Fatty Liver

1. Breakfast

 Option I

Oatmeal Made with Low-Fat Milk

  • Add sliced almonds and blueberries

Tea/coffee/green tea

Option II

Vegetarian sandwich (spinach and corn sandwich or cucumber and tomato sandwich)

Tea/coffee/green tea

[Read: Benefits of Eating Pork]

2. Lunch

 Option I

Green Salad

  • Add spinach, rocket leaves, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and lettuce
  • Use olive oil or kernel oil for dressing

Option II

Grilled Fish with Brown Rice

  • Use herbs and spices such as oregano, rosemary, and garlic powder instead of salt

3. Snack

Brown Bread/Multigrain Bread with Hummus

Vegetable soup

4. Dinner

Option I

Mixed bean salad

Fresh green vegetable soup (spinach, cabbage, kale, quinoa)

Option II

Whole-grain roll or wheat flatbread

The above-mentioned items are the worst foods for liver disease patients. Healthy alternatives such as oatmeal, green leafy vegetables, almonds, walnuts, low-fat milk, salads, blueberries, and low sugar fruits will help you maintain a balanced diet and raise antioxidant levels for a healthy liver.


1. Are eggs bad for the liver?

NCBI has studied the association of egg consumption with the liver. The study states that due to high dietary cholesterol levels in eggs, there are higher chances for people to develop non-alcoholic fatty liver as high cholesterol causes inflammation in the liver(5).

2. Are bananas bad for the liver?

Bananas are rich in potassium, and its consumption reduces the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver. Other fruits, such as kiwi and apricots, are also recommended.

3. What foods can damage your liver?

Foods high in fat and sugar disrupt the proper functioning of the liver as it interferes with the production of bile juice and detoxification of blood.

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