With stampede right around the corner and summer patio parking part of the usual weekend routine it’s a good idea to pay some loving attention to a very important organ, your magnificent liver.
The liver itself has over 500 functions, some major ones being toxin neutralization, producing bile for fat digestion, metabolizing nutrients through the hepatic portal vein, maintaining the homeostasis of blood glucose as well as involvement in hormone functioning. This is a lot of work for one organ and this is on a good day! Add the extra work of detoxifying toxins from alcohol, the environment, and chemicals from our foods and our poor liver loses its cool and will eventually start getting exhausted.
When our livers are overburdened we may have problems with our blood sugar, with digesting fatty foods or cruciferous foods, yellowing of the whites of the eyes, extreme fatigue and sometimes pain in the right upper abdomen might be experienced.
Now, I’m not saying that our livers aren’t strong and sturdy! They have impeccable regeneration techniques that allow them to completely regenerate every seven years. However more and more now, the liver gets put with the grunt work of neutralizing every new chemical and carcinogen found in our bodies and it never hurts to lend a helping hand.
Here are 5 simple things you can do on a daily basis or as a 3 week gentle cleanse that will not only encourage healing of the liver but as a ripple effect, healing of your entire body.
1. Drink filtered lemon water
I feel like it’s old news that lemon water is good for your liver but time and time again I will remind people that it not only flushes toxins out of the liver but it helps clear the skin and increase HCl production in your stomach. To add to this it’s refreshing and delicious. My recommendation is a half lemon (organic if possible) squeezed in a glass of tepid water first thing in the morning. The other portion of this tip is filtered water particularly because of the numerous amounts of residual chemicals and inorganic minerals floating around in our tap water.
2. Eat organic (more vegetables, less meat)
By spending the extra money on organic food you are not only decreasing the toxic load on your body, you are putting money towards saving the planet. It is not news to describe the pesticide usage on conventional food and the less than optimal standards of meat production. If you are interested in learning greater detail on this topic please pick up the book “The End of Food’ by Thomas F. Pawlick. As far as this goes for your liver, the more nutrients your body can receive from food the better, and the less toxic load you put on your body via food the better off you’ll be in the long term.
3. Decrease your alcohol consumption
I know, we were all hoping I wouldn’t say it. I’ll make this brief. Drinking alcohol is like punching your liver in its lower lobe. Sometimes a gentle ‘love tap’ is acceptable, playful, and even fun for both parties if it releases stress and tension. However I would say that often it’s pretty easy to let the good times take hold and our livers end up trying to complete it’s usual 500 functions with a black eye and some missing teeth.
4. Take milk thistle or a herbal blend containing milk thistle
Milk thistle is a natural herb that helps our liver with detoxification and neutralizing toxins with its antioxidant effects. Milk thistle (silymarin) has anti-inflammatory properties and it is often used in the treatment of alcoholic hepatitis and alcoholic cirrhosis(1). Furthermore, in studies on the effects of fatal amounts of acetaminophen the use of silymarin increased survival rates (2). Other supplements that can be used to benefit the liver include dandelion, artichoke, and n-acetyl-cystine (n-a-c).
5. Use toxin free cleaning products and beauty products
Lastly, we have to remember that what we put on our skin is as important as what we put in our mouths. The skin can also absorb chemicals that then are transported through the blood to the hepatic portal vein in the liver where they will need to be neutralized and flushed out (if they can be). Using homemade products as much as possible is easier than you think; begin replacing your windex with vinegar & water solution, replace your Vaseline with coconut oil etc. There are unending amounts of resources online and through workshops offered at natural health food stores. Stores like Rivas Eco Store are there for all of your questions.
Let’s be honest, its kind of easy to forgot about the marvelous liver. We throw whatever we want in our bodies and don’t think about changing anything until a symptom occurs. I’m here to say, prevention is key! Doing some small things on a daily basis as a preventative measure is much easier than trying to do a million things as a treatment plan. You don’t have to do all these things every day but a little goes a long way. Increased liver health means a happier, healthier and stronger you!
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to book in for a holistic nutrition session with me.
Madison Isenor RHN
Liver Love Juice
1 inch ginger
1 granny smith apple
a few stalks of dandelion greens
My apologies, you’ll need a hefty blender or a juicer for this one. Alternatively they make a similar blend at community natural foods downtown 🙂