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Five bitter greens to help your liver, and get that bile flowing (that's a good thing)

Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine have always suggested bitter greens to “cleanse the liver” and mainstream North American natural health practices are catching on. But, do they really?

The empirical evidence is mixed and technically, according to the Canadian Liver Foundation, the liver doesn’t need to be “cleaned,” but anything that contributes to a healthy lifestyle contributes to a healthy liver. What we do know is that greens, like dandelion, promote the flow of bile and stimulate its secretion. Bile is needed to break down fats in the body.

A healthy flow of this disgusting green stuff is needed for good digestion.

Good digestion of a super healthy vegetable is enough for me to suggest including it in your diet. You can try:

1. Dandelion greens

2. Arugula

3. Broccoli Rabe (Rapini)

4. Curly Endive

5. Radicchio

The bitterness comes from a specific phytonutrient and each plant has its own amount.

Some producers have bred the bitterness out in order to create a more palatable product, so think about finding the heirloom or organic varieties to get the most pucker for your buck.

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Consultant and private nutritionist in Toronto. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at

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