Your liver is one of the most complex organs in your body. It helps with digestion and the regulation of cholesterol and blood sugar levels, bolsters immunity, and filters out toxins from your blood. Phew, that is a lot! Luckily, the liver is an extremely resilient organ and it can regenerate when it’s injured. But if detoxing this hardworking organ and giving it a spring clean is on your mind, a humble pantry staple might just do the trick. Enter the humble raisins!
We know raisins as a succulent, sweet treat but it’s hardly a guilty pleasure. As a source of vital nutrients like as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin B, C, and E, raisins ply our body with the good stuff and helps it stay shipshape.1 But there are 3 specific ways in which it can help protect and cleanse your liver. Here’s a look!
1. Can Counteract Damage By Free Radicals
We all know that free radicals can damage your DNA and cells. They have also been implicated in the process of liver injury caused by medicines, alcohol, and excess iron intake.2 Free radicals are not only present in environmental toxins such as pollution, tobacco, and alcohol but are also produced naturally by your body during the process of converting food into energy. So, it may not be possible to avoid them entirely. You can, however, protect yourself from them and even reverse the damage caused by them to some extent with antioxidants – and that’s where raisins come in.3 Studies show that raisins are a rich source of phenolic antioxidants. In fact, one study even found that raisins have a greater antioxidant capacity than fresh grapes.4
2. May Protect Against Damaging Effects Of Alcohol
Raisins contain a flavonoid known as quercetin which has been found to scavenge free radicals.5 One study also found that this flavonoid can protect the liver against the toxic effects of alcohol. During this animal study, when test subjects were given ethanol for 10 days continuously, it resulted in cell death and fibrosis, which is the initial stage of liver scarring. But treatment with quercetin was found to have a protective effect on the liver.6 So while it’s best to avoid excessive drinking, raisins may be able to guard your liver from damage caused by the occasional drink.
3. May Shield Against Harmful Food Additives
Raisins also contain vitamin C, another powerful antioxidant nutrient that can protect your liver.7 An animal study found that monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is widely used as a food enhancer, caused liver injury in rats. But when vitamin C was consumed before MSG was administered, it had a protective effect against its toxicity. The antioxidant property of vitamin C is thought to be responsible for this beneficial effect.8
Eat Raisins Every Day And Drink Up Raisin Water
According to ayurveda, consuming a handful of raisins daily is good for your liver and can help with conditions such as an enlarged liver or spleen. Or you could soak raisins overnight in water and have the soaked raisins and the raisin water in the morning. This should help improve digestion as well.9
|↑1||Basic Report: 09298, Raisins, seedless. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑2||Poli, G. “Liver damage due to free radicals.” British medical bulletin 49, no. 3 (1993): 604-620.|
|↑3||Antioxidants: What You Need to Know. American Academy of Family Physicians.|
|↑4||Parker, Tory L., Xiao-Hong Wang, Jorge Pazmiño, and Nicki J. Engeseth. “Antioxidant capacity and phenolic content of grapes, sun-dried raisins, and golden raisins and their effect on ex vivo serum antioxidant capacity.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 55, no. 21 (2007): 8472-8477.|
|↑5, ↑7||Bell, S. J. “Overview of antioxidants: emphasis on raisins.” Internet Journal of Nutrition and Wellness 10, no. 1 (2010).|
|↑6||Chen, Xi. “Protective effects of quercetin on liver injury induced by ethanol.” Pharmacognosy magazine 6, no. 22 (2010): 135.|
|↑8||Ayman, E. L., Hosam Eldin Hussein Osman, and Maha Hasan Daghestani. “The effect of vitamin C administration on monosodium glutamate induced liver injury. An experimental study.” Experimental and toxicologic pathology 65, no. 5 (2013): 513-521.|
|↑9||Tirtha, Swami Sadashiva. The Ayurveda Encyclopedia: Natural Secrets to Healing, Prevention, and Longevity. Sat Yuga Press, 2007.|