Bitter greens, herbs and vegetables stimulate bile production in the liver, increasing your ability to digest fat.
When you first start a Ketogenic diet, it is important to assist your body adjust to the increase in fats as best you can naturally by increasing bile production from your liver.
Bile acids are essential for your digestion and absorption of fats and fat-soluble vitamins, as well as aiding your digestion of proteins and starches. Bile production is largely based on the foods we eat. Certain foods can increase bile production.
Yes, there are some supplements that are recommended dependant on individual health concerns, however the consumption of as many bitter herbs, bitter greens and vegetables as you can on a daily basis will naturally increase your hepatic cell production of bile and may be enough for a somewhat healthy person to not need high potency herbal supplements
Below is a list of bitter greens, vegetables & herbs to increase bile production from your liver.
Asparagus- boosts the two liver enzymes of Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) responsible for metabolizing alcohol out of the body. The leaves of asparagus also have therapeutic value, as they are also high in ADH and ALDH. Make sure to eat fresh asparagus, particularly in its raw state to help boost the enzymatic activity of this vegetable.
Arugula Rucola, or rocket, are all different names for one member of the brassica family that is most often consumed as a leafy green vegetable. Full of folate, vitamin C A &K, arugula greens are also rich sources of certain phytochemicals such as indoles, thiocyanates, sulforaphane, and isothiocyanates. Together, these compounds have been found to counter carcinogenic effects of estrogen and thus may offer protection against prostate, breast, cervical, colon, ovarian cancers by their cancer-cell growth inhibition, cytotoxic effects on cancer cells. However there is one nasty aspect to Rocket- It is actually a plant that accumulates a lot of nitrate. In a vegetable survey published in 2008 as part of an EFSA opinion, average nitrate levels varied from a low of 20-30 mg/kg in Brussels sprouts and peas to a high of 4,667 mg/kg in Rocket
Celery – full of flavonoids for eye health and a vast array of vitamins & minerals including Vit A, K, B vitamins, folate, phosphorus copper, magnesium, potassium and more, it is the phthalide within celery which is known to help lower blood pressure and also reduce LDL cholesterol by increasing bile acid secretion.
Daikon Radish- technically considered a cruciferous vegetable, and therefore has many of the same benefits in its leaves as those other popular vegetables. The combination of antibacterial and antiviral activity with the expectorant properties make Daikon juice ideal for clearing up respiratory issues if you have excess phlegm or mucus in your respiratory tracts. A rich source of Calcium and Vitamin C, Daikon juice has also been shown to possess similar enzymes to those found in the human digestive tract, including amylase and esterase. These can facilitate more efficient digestion of complex carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into more easily manipulable compounds for the body. This can reduce constipation and increase nutrient uptake efficiency in the gut.
It doesnt stop there- Daikon radish has been shown to help aid in the relief of migraines by opening up constricted blood vessels. And last but not least- Daikon is an excellent substitute for chips!
Endive- commonly known as Escarole or Frisée – As seen in the picture at the top right of this page, these leafy vegetables are all a variety of lettuce, however they are all very different, in taste and individual phyto-chemical & nutritional profile. Lettuce contains inulin and fiber content which helps reduce glucose and LDL-cholesterol levels in diabetes and obese patients. It is recommended to always alternate your lettuce to obtain maximum benefit. The more diverse our plant foliage in our gut, the more diverse out gut microbiome and in turn the stronger our immunity
Jerusalem Artichokes – are totally different, JA’s look like tubers as seen here below
Globe Artichoke Jerusalem Artichoke
Rapini and broccoli rabe are not the same vegetable but are very close cousins. In most grocery stores, the names are used interchangeably because the flavor is nearly the same.
Broccolini is NOT the same as baby broccoli, though it may look like it. It’s actually a cross between regular broccoli and Chinese broccoli with long stems, larger florets, and less leaves. It has a sweeter taste that’s more similar to regular broccoli.
Broccoli Rabe is in the same family as turnips, which explains why the leaves look so similar to turnip or mustard greens. It has long stems, smaller florets than broccolini, and larger leaves (all of which are edible). The flavor is pleasantly bitter.
Mizuna -herb- aka Japanese mustard greens. Not just full of Vitamins A,K & C. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, Japanese mustard greens contain plant compounds called glucosinolates, which are precursors to isothiocyanates. These phytochemicals, also found in other cruciferous vegetables, may reduce your risk of developing cancer by blocking certain detrimental enzymes, according to an article published in the journal “Drug Metabolism Reviews” in 2000. The amount of isothiocyanates you absorb decreases if you cook the mustard greens, so eat them raw for the greatest cancer-protection benefit.
Milk thistle has actually been used for over 2,000 years.
Milk thistle benefits work by drawing toxins out of the body that can cause a range of symptoms and diseases — including cancer development, high cholesterol, diabetes, kidney stones, gall bladder disorders, negative effects of chemotherapy, alcohol use, skin damage and much more.
As a herb that’s considered a “hepatic, galactogogue, demulcent and cholagogue,” milk thistle is able to promote healthy digestive function by helping with enzyme formation, increasing bile production, decreasing inflammation and soothing the mucous membranes throughout the body.
Radicchio – a variety of chicory leaf, is super powerful in its healing abilities.
Lactucopicrin (intybrin): Apart from being responsible for radicchio’s bitter flavor, lactucopicrin may be effective as an anti-malarial agent, possesses sedative and analgesic effects and may even decrease hunger pains.
Inulin: This substance could help balance the body’s blood sugar levels and reduce risk for cardiovascular diseases like strokes and/or heart attacks. Furthermore, the combination of inulin and some polysaccharides could stimulate the growth of beneficial gut bacteria like Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, and potentially prevent harmful bacteria growth. Inulin is also known to motivate discharge of pancreatic juices, which could aid with food digestion and blood glucose level control. It also promotes bile production that supports normal cholesterol levels and helps improves heart health and liver health.
Red Radish– raw in salads. As a root vegetable, they absorb nutrients directly from the earth in which they are grown. They also absorb toxins. Be sure to choose organic root vegetables. The health benefits of radishes are truly impressive. They are good for the liver and stomach, the kidneys and bladder, the lungs, the cardiovascular system, and the immune system. They purify the blood and eliminate waste, detoxify the body, and are an anti-congestive. They are used to treat and prevent cancer, jaundice, constipation, urinary tract and kidney infections, skin ailments, and more.
Tatsoi-Chinese flat cabbage. Rich in antioxidants, Vitamins B1 B2 B6 Vitamins A, C and E, Tatsoi also contains beta carotene for eye health and calcium! Especially helpful for a ketogenic diet, given its potassium and magnesium content
Watercress- full of vitamin K and calcium for strong bones and teeth, high in vitamin B, C and A, this little forgotten marine plant is also pack with Manganese. Mn is a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase, SD is considered to be quite possibly the most powerful antioxidant our body