Information: Nutritional and Herbal Support for Liver Detoxification
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At this time of year, there’s one poor organ that cops a flogging — your liver.
Today I want to share with you why your liver is so important and some simple tips on how to care for your liver every day.
One of the reasons you can have good health and hopefully live to a ripe age — still with your marbles and mobility — is the concept of your body’s four filters. Similar to the fuel filter in your car, if one of your body’s filters clogs up then you will feel sluggish and like you’re lacking energy and vitality.
These four filters are — in order — our gut, liver, immune system and kidneys. Our health is like a domino effect: when one part falls down, the rest follows like a cascade. That’s why as a Naturopath, I almost always start with healing the gut first when anyone is suffering poor health.
I’ve written a lot about the gut though, so today I want to concentrate on the liver.
As you get older, your liver starts to show signs of stress:
coffee makes you feel anxious or jittery
alcohol doesn’t have the same impact as it used to
difficulty sleeping — particularly between 1 to 3am when your liver is repairing
increased allergies like asthma or eczema
more sensitive to chemicals and perfumes than you used to be
fatigue and stiffness on waking
aches and pains
anger, depression and anxiety
What causes liver stress?
Your liver performs more than 500 unique roles in the human body, one of which is to filter and detoxify your blood. It removes compounds from your body including hormones, alcohol and toxins that would otherwise cause harm, so it’s vitally important to have a healthy liver.
We live in a toxic world and are exposed to a huge range of toxins on a daily basis. These toxins need to be broken down and safely excreted, otherwise they can do damage to your body. They include:
environmental toxins from living in developed cities
pesticides and chemicals on our food
cosmetics and hair colours
soaps and shampoos
food additives and preservatives
volatile organic compounds from carpets, paints, cooking utensils, etc.
Healing your liver
As your liver is responsible for digesting fats, one of the best things you can do to help make your liver’s job easier is to consume less fatty foods. This will allow your liver to focus wholly on eliminating toxins and other nasties from your bloodstream, without adding extra work! There are also a number of other ways that you can improve liver function, including:
Drink less alcohol — it goes without saying, but by reducing your intake of alcohol, you immediately ease the burden on your liver. While alcoholism is more common among men, women are more susceptible to the adverse effects of alcohol on the liver. In fact, it takes as little as two standard drinks a day for women to develop liver problems. If you can’t cut back, talk to your doctor about getting professional help.
Lemon water — every day, I drink the juice of half a lemon in water upon waking. This encourages your liver to produce bile (which is essential for breaking down food) and is a good source of the antioxidant, vitamin C. Antioxidants protect oxidative damage of the liver by the very toxins the liver is required to process.
B vitamins — these are a great way to help improve your liver function. You can get these by eating legumes, vegetables, whole grains or Naturopathic supplements.
Increase your intake of green veggies — dark leafy greens are wonderful for your liver function as they contain folate, vitamins C and K, calcium, potassium and magnesium. I recommend kale, swisschard and broccoli!
Eat organic — as mentioned, some veggies and fruits are best consumed organic due to the pesticides that are commonly used in their production. We call these the dirty dozen. These include leafy greens like kale, berries like blueberries and strawberries, apples, cucumber, zuchinni… basically, if you eat the skin, it’s best to buy organic.
Try to avoid plastics, chemical cleaners and body products – there are a number of natural, organic and plant-based products these days that do a great job.
Herbal medicine — there are many herbal medicines that can help support your liver function and get you back to feeling well again. Ask your Naturopath for advice on the best herbal medicines for your individual needs.
Have you been living with a health condition for years that hasn’t responded to conventional medicine effectively? Or are you simply not feeling your best?
Click here to download our free guide with tips and steps you can take to feel well again, naturally. This guide covers everything you need for healthy living - diet, sleep, stress and supplements.
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