Our liver is responsible for over 500 different functions. Unfortunately, modern lifestyle is overstressing this vital organ. What happens when our liver is overstressed? It dramatically increases our chances for developing chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Unfortunately, people suffering from liver dysfunction often have blood tests that appear as if everything is normal.
Ways to Boost Liver Function
Proper functioning of the liver requires eating high quality (organic if possible) food and water. The liver requires high amounts of vitamins and minerals from the diet for optimal function and detoxification. Studies show that organic fruits and vegetables have greater amounts of antioxidants and minerals compared to their conventional counterparts. Additionally, organic foods haven’t been exposed to liver damaging radiation, pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones. Nearly 900 million pounds of toxic pesticides are applies to our food every year. Green leafy vegetables (especially bitter greens), carrots and beets are powerful foods that help with liver cleansing.
- Avoid processed and refined foods. These products contain added sugars, trans fats, artificial chemicals and dyes that contribute to fatty liver disease and NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis). Fatty liver is becoming increasingly more common, even in our youth.
- Avoid sugar. Sugar is toxic to the liver.
- Avoid the overconsumption of grains. When eating, consume only whole grains.
- Eat healthy Omega 3 fats and avoid toxic trans fats and refined, processed, heated Omega 6 vegetable oils.
- Don’t overindulge on protein. Eating high quality protein is essential, but too much of it burdens the liver and can actually cause cellular damage.
- Cut back on caffeinated products like coffee and tea. Instead, drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day. Most herbal teas are naturally caffeine-free.
Steer Clear of Harmful Substances
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and illegal drugs. Also, never mix acetaminophen with alcohol. The combination can potentially cause acute liver failure.
- Minimize the use of chemicals. Most plastics and many commonly used household products (cleaners, bug sprays, sunscreens, shampoos, lotions, perfumes, colognes) contain toxic chemicals. Always buy non-toxic, natural versions when possible.
- Many over-the-counter (OTC) drugs can do more harm than good when not taken according to directions. OTC meds, like NSAID’s (anti-inflammatories and pain relievers), can cause significant damage to the liver when taken over a long period of time. Also, almost every type of prescription drug burdens the liver and should only be used when non-toxic efforts have failed.
An efficient, well oxygenated liver will burn fat faster and reduce the chances of getting liver disease.
What to Feed Your Liver
- Antioxidant-rich fruits – antioxidants help protect the liver from free radicals. Fruits high in antioxidants include berries, pears, grapefruit, oranges, apples, prunes and cantaloupe.
- Milk Thistle – helps repair damaged liver cells, keeps new cells from being destroyed and helps reduce inflammation of the liver. Note: Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not consume milk thistle.
- Astragalus – has immune strengthening properties and has been shown to protect against chemical related liver damage, due to one of its key active ingredients called saponin.
- Artichoke – has the ability to help the liver regenerate. It stimulates and increases bile production, helping remove the toxins and unfriendly bacteria in the bowels. Sulphur-rich foods help to detox the body from environmental toxins, prescription drugs, poor dietary choices, and alcohol. Examples include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts.
- Green, Leafy Vegetables – green veggies are rich in vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that provide powerful support to the liver. All greens are high in plant chlorophylls which help to cleanse environmental toxins in the blood stream. It’s important to eat bitter leafy greens like arugula, endive, chicory, and dandelion. Bitters stimulate bile production in the liver, helping to remove blood and organ waste.
- Turmeric – contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory and potent antioxidant that protects the liver from damage. Turmeric stimulates bile production in the liver, improving the body’s ability to digest fats.
- Beets – rich in betaine, which helps prevent fat from being deposited in the liver and converts fat into energy. Beets also purify the blood and assist the liver in the removal of heavy metals.
A healthy liver makes for a healthy you!