As published on Watchfit
The liver performs many essential functions related to digestion, metabolism, immunity, and the storage of nutrients within the body. These functions make the liver a vital organ without which the tissues of the body would quickly die from lack of energy and nutrients. The liver plays an active role in the process of digestion as it produces bile and filters out and destroys wastes and harmful substances such as toxins, bacteria and by products from the metabolic processes in the body.
The health of our liver in many ways determines our overall health and it is therefore crucial that we look after our liver – if you place your right hand over the area under the ribs on the right side of your body it will just about cover the area of your liver. Although the liver is the only organ that is able to regenerate if it is even moderately impaired a host of symptoms can occur such as gas, bloating, skin problems, low energy, poor sleep etc,
- A few of the Liver functions include:
- Processing digested food from the intestine
- Controlling levels of fats, amino acids and glucose in the blood
- Combating infections in the body
- Clearing the blood of particles and infections including bacteria
- Neutralising and destroying drugs and toxins
- Breaking down food and turning it into energy
- Manufacturing, breaking down and regulating numerous hormones including sex hormones
As mentioned the liver is able to regenerate but constant exposure to toxic substances can cause serious and sometimes irreversible harm. The source of toxic substances is listed below:
- Alcohol: drinking large amounts can lead to inflammation in the liver
- Sugar: can cause as much damage to the liver as alcohol
- Processed and Packaged foods: contain additives, fillers and chemicals
- Over-the-counter pain relievers: Tylenol, aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen can damage your liver, especially if taken frequently or combined with alcohol.
- Prescription medications: Some medications are linked to serious liver injury as well as certain antibiotics and anabolic steroids.
- Chemicals: Chemicals you may be exposed to can cause liver injury such as chemicals in your cleaning products, the dry cleaning solvent carbon tetrachloride and a group of industrial chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls.
In Chinese medicine the liver is known as the green organ, one of our most powerful allies in cleansing the liver is leafy greens. These can be eaten raw, cooked, or juiced and are extremely high in plant chlorophylls which suck up environmental toxins from the blood stream and offer a powerful protective mechanism for the liver.
There are a number of other foods that support the liver:
Garlic: activates liver enzymes that help your body flush out toxins; it contains two natural compounds allicin and selenium, that aid in liver cleansing.
Grapefruit: High in vitamin C and antioxidants which increases the natural cleansing processes of the liver.
Beets and Carrots: Both are extremely high in plant-flavonoids and beta-carotene and can help stimulate and improve overall liver function.
Green Tea: full of plant antioxidants known as catechins, a compound known to assist liver function.
Avocados: helps the body produce glutathione, a compound that is necessary for the liver to cleanse harmful toxins.
Apples: High in pectin, apples aid the body in cleansing and releasing toxins from the digestive tract. This, in turn, makes it easier for the liver to handle the toxic load during the cleansing process.
Olive Oil: Cold-pressed organic oils such as olive, hemp and flax-seed are great for the liver, when used in moderation. They help the body by providing a lipid base that can suck up harmful toxins in the body.
Cruciferous Vegetables: broccoli and cauliflower increase the amounts of glucosinolate in your body, these natural enzymes help flush carcinogens and other toxins out of our body.
Lemons & Limes: contain high amounts of vitamin C, drinking freshly-squeezed lemon or lime juice in the morning helps stimulate the liver.
Walnuts: high in the amino acid arginine, walnuts aid the liver in detoxifying ammonia. They are also high in glutathione and omega-3 fatty acids, make sure you soak the nuts first.
Turmeric: the liver’s favorite spice, add this detoxifying goodness into your next stew or veggie dish for an instant liver pick-me-up.
There are some specific supplements that have been specially developed to help nourish the liver. Supplements that contain key ingredients chosen for their antioxidant, bitter, and soothing properties, all of which help to keep the liver in good condition.
If you would like help choosing the right foods and supplements and getting started on a specific programme to get your liver healthy or keep it healthy connect with me by clicking here, I can help create a bespoke plan for you, and get you started straightaway.