Are you ever amazed that you’re still functioning after years of exposure to bad diets, environmental toxins, medications, and chemicals on your skin?
The praise should be directed to your liver.
The liver is the second largest organ in the body. And for good reason, too. It does so much in terms of regulating and maintaining many live-sustaining tasks, including metabolic and hormonal functions. It’s also the body’s main detoxification organ, so you should be doing all you can to keep your liver in peak performing condition.
Want to love your liver every day? Keep these 5 principles in mind for liver health all year long.
1) Cleanse It – Flush Out the Toxins
It makes sense to clean out the main organ in charge of cleaning out the rest of you. A liver cleanse renews its potential to filter out toxins from food, personal care products, and the environment. Doing a liver cleanse removes the build-up of toxins in the liver and returns liver function back to optimal output. It’s like wringing out a saturated sponge to allow for continued absorption!
But the benefits don’t stop there. Liver cleansing also helps with the following:
Weight loss – The liver makes bile, which aids the digestive system in breaking down dietary fat. A clean liver promotes normal bile production for continued fat metabolism.
Increased Energy – Not all toxins are eliminated in total. Some can be transformed in the liver into useful nutrients that are released back into the body. But toxin build-up can impede the process of nutrient release from the liver. Periodic cleansing helps to ensure the proper supply of nutrients that support energy production.
Removing Liver Stones – Your kidneys and gallbladder aren’t the only organs susceptible to stones. Build-up from excess cholesterol causes bile to solidify into crystalline stones that block the liver and bile ducts. Blockages interfere with the liver’s ability to detoxify the body and release nutrients back into the body. Cleansing helps to keep the liver clear of blockages.
2) Eat It – Liver Friendly Foods
Not only are these foods considered healthy, but they also have liver-cleansing qualitites. And they’re common foods that can be found easily at most grocery stores year round.
Garlic – Even a little garlic activates liver enzymes that assist in flushing out the toxins.
Beets and Carrot – These root vegetables are high in plant flavonoids and beta-carotene which help to stimulate liver function.
Leafy Green Vegetables – You just can’t go wrong with this bunch. Yet another reason why we love them. LGVs are rich in chlorophyll, the green pigment, which flushes out toxins in the blood. It also neutralizes heavy metals, chemicals, and pesticides, thereby protecting the liver from further stress.
Grapefruit – Naturally high in vitamin C and antioxidants, grapefruit enhances the liver’s cleansing processes. Even a swig or two can boost the production of liver enzymes that flush out toxins.
Green Tea – This beverage contains catechins, antioxidants that support liver function.
Olive Oil – Use cold-pressed olive oil to take some of the stress off the liver. Olive oil, as well as hemp and flax seed oils, provide lipids that capture toxins and usher them out of the body, decreasing the load on the liver.
3) Grow It – Help from Intestinal Bacteria
The good microbes in your gut are proven to promote digestive health. These beneficial bacteria strains – probiotics – also support individual organs. New research suggests that intestinal flora can stimulate the enzyme responsible for drug detoxification – good news for those exposed to pharmaceuticals. Additionally, keeping harmful pathogens in check with probiotics may provide protection against non-alcoholic fatty liver.
Keep your intestinal flora in abundant supply with probiotic supplements and fermented foods. This is especially important if you’ve taking any antibiotics.
4) Support It – Supplemental Liver Nutrition
Eating a healthy diet alone may not give you all the liver-friendly nutrition you need to maintain healthy liver function. These supplements can help you keep your liver in tip-top shape.
Alpha Lipoic Acid – This antioxidant helps to decrease fibrous liver tissue associated with liver injury. It is fat soluble, so it can get through the cell membrane to deliver therapeutic aid. Alpha lipoic acid also helps to remove heavy metals from the body and enhances the effects of other antioxidants.
Antioxidants – During the first phase of detoxification in the liver, free radicals are created. These molecules are known for causing cell damage. Antioxidants help to neutralize free-radicals and limit their unruly behavior. Your antioxidant vitamins include vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Minerals with antioxidant power include selenium and zinc.
Milk Thistle Seed – This herb has had a lasting presence when it comes to healthy liver and gallbladder function. Milk thistle aids the liver’s detoxification efforts and helps to regenerate damaged liver tissue.
NAC – N-acetyl cysteine is an important precursor of glutathione, an amino acid that has strong antioxidant properties and helps to protect the liver from toxicity. Glutathione is most needed by those with an inflamed or fatty liver, as these conditions deplete glutathione levels. NAC helps to neutralize toxins and heavy metals that accumulate in fatty tissues of the body, including the brain and the liver.
5) Avoid It – Everyday Toxins that Harm Liver Function
Your liver is hard at work 24/7 filtering out toxins. Why not limit the additional stress by keeping tabs on these toxins before they do more harm.
Alcohol – We know that drinking responsibly is a must in avoiding accidents and collisions related to alcohol consumption. But monitoring how much and how often you drink is also good sense for your liver. Years of heavy drinking can lead to an inflamed liver. If inflammation progresses, it can lead to scarring of the liver and cirrhosis, at which point liver failure can ensue.
A healthy liver allows blood to easily flow across the tissue. Cirrhosis makes the liver stiff and dense, making blood flow difficult without extra pressure. And raised blood pressure – not good!
Drugs – It’s a broad category, so just stay away from them all if you can. Liver disease and liver failure are suspected consequences of regular drug use. This includes illicit drugs and the chemicals they are mixed with, as well as prescription and over-the-counter medications.
The liver plays a major role in processing drugs and medications, which adds more stress to the organ’s already full plate.
Sugar – Here’s one more reason beyond diabetes and obesity to watch your sugar intake. Eat natural sugars moderately, but really curb your intake of artificial sweeteners, such as high fructose corn syrup, which can be harmful to the liver. Keep in mind that the human body is designed to survive during lean times. Extra calories that are not used are packed away and stored as fat in case you encounter an episode of starvation. This includes empty calories from sugar, which seem to be hiding in the majority of processed foods.
Just like excessive fat intake, all that extra sugar can contribute to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.