What Foods To Avoid If Alkaline Phosphatase Is High

What Foods To Avoid If Alkaline Phosphatase Is High

If you’ve recently had blood tests that show elevated alkaline phosphatase (ALP) levels, you might be wondering what this means and how to bring those numbers back down to a healthy range. One important factor is your diet. In this article, we’ll dive into what foods to avoid if alkaline phosphatase is high and how making some simple changes to your eating habits can support your liver health and overall health.

Alkaline Phosphatase

First, let’s do a quick recap on what alkaline phosphatase actually is. ALP is an enzyme found in your liver, bones, intestines, and kidneys. It plays a key role in breaking down proteins and helping your body absorb nutrients. When alkaline phosphatase levels are within a normal range, it’s a sign that these organs are working as they should.

What Causes Elevated Alkaline Phosphatase Levels?

So what causes elevated alkaline phosphatase levels? There are a few different reasons why your ALP might be higher than normal:

  1. Liver diseases like hepatitis, cirrhosis, or a blocked bile duct
  2. Bone disorders like Paget’s disease or bone tumors
  3. Pregnancy (ALP levels often rise in the third trimester)
  4. Certain medications
  5. Vitamin D deficiency
  6. Hyperthyroidism or hyperparathyroidism
  7. Celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease

If your doctor finds that you have high alkaline phosphatase levels, they’ll likely want to do some additional testing to pinpoint the underlying cause. Treatment will depend on what’s causing that elevation. In some cases, making dietary changes can help support your body’s natural healing processes.

Foods to Limit or Avoid

While you’re working with your healthcare team to get to the bottom of your elevated ALP levels, there are some dietary changes you can make to support your body in the meantime. Here are some of the top foods to avoid if alkaline phosphatase is high:

1. Fatty & Fried Foods

Foods that are high in unhealthy fats, like saturated and trans fats, can be tough on your liver. When you eat a lot of fatty foods, it can lead to fat buildup in your liver cells. Over time, this can cause inflammation and liver damage. Some examples of fatty foods to limit include:

  • Fried foods like french fries, fried chicken, and doughnuts
  • Fatty meats like ribeye steak, lamb chops, and pork belly
  • Full-fat dairy products like whole milk, cheese, and butter
  • Processed snacks like potato chips, crackers, and microwave popcorn
  • Fast foods and takeaways

Instead, opt for healthy fats like olive oil, avocados, nuts, and fatty fish. These foods provide anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids that are much easier on your liver. When cooking, choose lighter cooking methods like baking, grilling, or sautéing instead of deep-frying.

2. Processed & Packaged Foods

Processed foods are often loaded with refined sugars, unhealthy fats, and artificial ingredients that offer little nutritional value. Regularly consuming these foods can contribute to inflammation, weight gain, and an increased risk of fatty liver disease.

Some processed foods to avoid include:

  • Sugary cereals and granola bars
  • Candy and baked goods
  • Soda and other sugary drinks
  • White bread and pasta
  • Processed meats like hot dogs, bacon, and sausage
  • Pre-packaged meals and snacks
  • Instant noodles and soups

Focus on filling your plate with whole foods instead. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins provide the vitamins, minerals, and fiber your body needs to thrive. When grocery shopping, stick to the perimeter of the store where the fresher, less processed foods tend to be.

3. High-Oxalate Foods

Oxalates are naturally occurring compounds found in many plant foods. If you have high alkaline phosphatase levels due to a liver or bone disorder, your body may have a harder time breaking down and eliminating oxalates. When oxalates build up, they can form crystals that contribute to kidney stones and other health issues.

Some high-oxalate foods to limit include:

  • Spinach and Swiss chard
  • Beets and beet greens
  • Rhubarb
  • Okra
  • Potatoes
  • Almonds and peanuts
  • Soy products
  • Chocolate and cocoa powder
  • Black tea

If you’re concerned about oxalates, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian. They can help you create a meal plan that limits high-oxalate foods while still ensuring you get all the nutrients you need. Cooking and draining vegetables can also help reduce their oxalate content.

4. Alcohol & Caffeine

Both alcohol and caffeine can be hard on your liver, especially if consumed in excess. Alcohol is processed by your liver and can lead to inflammation, scarring, and fat accumulation over time. Similarly, high caffeine intake may stress your liver and interfere with its ability to detoxify your body.

If you have elevated ALP levels, it’s best to limit or avoid alcohol and caffeine until your numbers are back in a healthy range. Swap alcoholic drinks for sparkling water or herbal tea, and choose decaf coffee or tea instead of regular. If you do drink, do so in moderation – no more than one drink per day for women and two for men.

Foods to Enjoy for Liver & Bone Health


Now that we’ve covered what foods to avoid if alkaline phosphatase is high, let’s talk about what you should be eating more of. Here are some top picks for supporting liver health and lowering alkaline phosphatase levels:

1. Leafy Greens

Leafy green vegetables like kale, collard greens, and mustard greens are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Aim to include a serving or two of leafy greens in your diet each day. Try tossing them into salads, sautéing them as a side dish, or blending them into smoothies.

2. Cruciferous Veggies

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower contain compounds called glucosinolates that support liver detoxification. These veggies are also high in fiber, which can help eliminate toxins and keep your digestive system running smoothly. Aim for at least 3-4 servings per week.

3. Berries

Berries like blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are loaded with antioxidants that help protect your liver cells from damage. They’re also a great source of vitamin C, which plays a key role in collagen production and bone health. Add a handful of berries to your morning oatmeal or yogurt, or enjoy them as a sweet snack.

4. Fatty Fish

Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats have anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce liver fat and improve insulin sensitivity. Aim to include fatty fish in your diet at least twice a week. Grill, bake, or pan-sear your fish and pair it with roasted veggies for a nutrient-packed meal.

5. Garlic & Onions

Garlic and onions contain sulfur compounds that help activate liver enzymes and flush out toxins. They also have antibacterial and antiviral properties that can help ward off infections. Use garlic and onions liberally in your cooking to reap their liver-supporting benefits. Add them to stir-fries, soups, stews, and sauces for an extra flavor boost.

6. Turmeric

Turmeric is a bright yellow spice that contains a powerful compound called curcumin. Curcumin has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may help protect your liver from damage and reduce the risk of liver disease. Add turmeric to curries, stir-fries, or even your morning smoothie. You can also take a turmeric supplement, but be sure to talk to your doctor first.

Other Tips for Lowering Alkaline Phosphatase Levels

In addition to tweaking your diet, there are a few other lifestyle changes you can make to support healthy** alkaline phosphatase levels**:

  1. Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps flush toxins from your body and keeps your liver functioning optimally.
  2. Exercise regularly: Physical activity helps maintain a healthy weight, reduces inflammation, and supports liver health. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.
  3. Limit alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption can damage your liver over time. If you drink, do so in moderation – no more than one drink per day for women and two for men.
  4. Manage stress: Chronic stress can take a toll on your liver health. Incorporate stress-busting activities like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing into your daily routine.
  5. Get enough vitamin D: Vitamin D plays a key role in calcium absorption and bone health. Talk to your doctor about getting your vitamin D levels checked and whether you may need a supplement. You can also boost your vitamin D intake by spending time in the sun, eating fatty fish, or taking a cod liver oil supplement.


What’s considered a high alkaline phosphatase level?

The normal range for alkaline phosphatase can vary depending on your age, gender, and the lab running the test. In general, though, an ALP level above 140 units per liter (U/L) is considered high for adults. Your doctor can give you more specific guidance based on your individual results.

Can I start an alkaline diet to lower alkaline phosphatase?

While not specifically designed for liver health, an alkaline diet emphasizes many of the same nutrient-rich foods we’ve discussed here, like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. It may be a good starting point, but be sure to work with your doctor or a dietitian to create a plan that meets your specific needs. You can find lots of helpful alkaline diet info here:

Should I take supplements for liver health?

Some nutrients that may support liver health include vitamin E, vitamin C, and zinc. However, it’s always best to get these nutrients from whole food sources when possible. If you’re considering taking supplements, talk to your doctor first. Some supplements can actually be harmful to your liver in high doses.

When should I be concerned about high alkaline phosphatase?

If your alkaline phosphatase levels are only slightly elevated, it may not be cause for concern. However, if your levels are consistently high or increasing over time, it’s important to follow up with your doctor. They can help determine the underlying cause and develop a treatment plan.

Can exercise help lower alkaline phosphatase levels?

Yes, regular exercise may help lower alkaline phosphatase levels by supporting liver function, reducing inflammation, and promoting a healthy weight. Aim for a mix of aerobic exercise like brisk walking or cycling and strength training exercises like lifting weights or doing bodyweight exercises. Always listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard, especially if you have an underlying health condition.

The Bottom Line

If you have high alkaline phosphatase levels, making some simple changes to your diet may help bring those numbers back down into a healthy range. Focus on limiting fatty and processed foods while filling your plate with liver-supporting nutrients like leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, and fatty fish. Don’t forget to stay hydrated, manage stress, and get regular exercise too!

Remember, everyone’s needs are different. Be sure to work closely with your healthcare team to determine the best course of action for your individual situation. With the right diet and lifestyle changes, you can get your ALP levels back on track and support your overall health!

Disclaimer: This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Always consult with your doctor before starting any new diet or workout plan, especially if you have underlying health conditions.


  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/high-alkaline-phosphatase
  2. https://www.webmd.com/diet/alkaline-phosphatase-diet
  3. https://www.medicinenet.com/alkaline_phosphatase/article.htm
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2739076/
  5. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/alkaline-phosphatase

Molly Winter

About the author

Molly Winter, RDN & CPT, is passionate about helping you achieve optimal health through balanced nutrition and enjoyable exercise. With years of experience and a wealth of knowledge, she provides practical advice and delicious recipes to make healthy living sustainable. Join her on this journey to a healthier, happier you!

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