Soups for a healthy liver

Maintaining a healthy liver is key to many of the body's vital functions. There are certain foods you can eat to enhance your liver function. Stay warm this winter with these soup recipes that are particularly effective at keeping your liver strong and healthy.

 

1. Lentil Soup with Kale

This lentil soup recipe is simple to make and offers the nutrients you need to maintain your liver health. As lentils are rich in fibre, they help cleanse the liver and provide enough protein to keep it functioning properly and regulate nutrients throughout the body. Kale is also known to cleanse the liver of toxins.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups vegetarian broth
  • 1/4 cup French lentils
  • 1/4 cup wild rice
  • 1/4 cup regular lentils (red, yellow work well too)
  • 1/4 cup steel-cut oats or barley
  • 2 cups chopped kale

Lentil soup offers a rich combination of nutrients for liver health.

Directions

Bring the broth to a boil and pour in all of the ingredients, except the kale, stirring until thoroughly combined. Cover and simmer on low heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir in the kale and simmer for another 10 minutes before serving.

 

2. Liver-Reviving Minestrone

Soup If you're a fan of the classic Italian soup, you'll enjoy indulging in this tasty recipe that's meant to improve your liver health and provide many of the vegetables you need for your Five A Day. Meanwhile, the beans and pasta will ensure you stay satisfied and reduce unhealthy cravings.

Ingredients

  • 300g bacon lardons
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stick, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2.5 pints vegetable stock
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can cannellini or butter beans
  • 50g small pasta e.g. macaroni
  • 1 handful basil leaves, torn
  • 1 savoy cabbage, shredded

Try this tasty Italian soup for your daily serving of vegetables.

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the carrot, leek, bacon and onion. Simmer for about 8 minutes. Pour in the stock and add the tomatoes. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Add the cooked pasta and beans and leave to cook for 10 minutes. Mix in the cabbage and basil to the top layer of the soup so they are able to lightly steam. Serve once the basil and cabbage have cooked, but still have a slight crunchiness.

 

3. Red Pepper and Pear Soup

The sweetness of pears combined with the savoury flavour of red pepper create a unique and mouthwatering taste that make for a delicious soup. Pears also contain a compound called pectin, which assists the liver in digesting fats and controlling cholesterol.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 3 large red bell peppers, sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 2 Anjou pears, peeled and sliced
  • 1 (32-oz.) container fat-free chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt Dash of ground red pepper

This recipe is packed with flavour.

Directions

Melt butter with the oil over medium heat. Add the next four ingredients - up to the chicken broth - and saute for 8-10 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the chicken broth and the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil and cover, reducing heat to simmer for 25-30 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes. In batches, process the soup in a food processor until smooth and serve.

 

4. Miso, Beet and Asparagus Soup

Miso, a popular ingredient in Asian countries like Japan, and asparagus have a number of healthy effects, such as blood pressure management. Beets naturally cleanse and purify blood, which boosts liver function. Like pears, they also have pectin and other nutrients that are known for their cleansing abilities.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/3 cup onion of choice, diced
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup peeled, chopped beet
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 cup chopped asparagus (bases removed, tips left whole)
  • Fresh spring onions, chopped
  • Large handful flat-leaf fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. minced ginger
  • 5 cups water
  • Salt (about 1 tsp.), to taste
  • 3 Tbsp. miso paste of choice
  • A little minced jalepeno or chili pepper, to taste

This twist on traditional miso soup makes a great side dish.

Directions

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until they begin to brown. Stir in the spring onions and celery, along with half the parsley. Saute for another minute. Add water, ginger, carrot, beet, salt and pepper. Turn heat up to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove a ladle of hot water from the pot and pour into a small bowl. Add miso paste and stir until thoroughly combined and clumps are gone. Pour the dissolved miso into soup pot. Add asparagus and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat once asparagus is bright green and firm. Stir in remaining parsley and serve.

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