Top Tips for a Healthy Liver!
You may never have thought about it, but your Liver does much more than take the strain when you have a drinking binge; it processes hormones, extracts toxins from your blood, deals with fats, and filters out wastes to get them out of your body.
When the Liver gets overloaded with too much work, it can become sluggish and not function as it should be, and this can lead to a whole host of health problems, and make you feel unwell and tired.
If you have had your gallbladder removed, it is even more important to keep your liver healthy - and the gallbladder generally fails because the liver itself is not working well. A liver detox is a smart move for most people who suffer from illnesses, but it's always a good idea to detox under the supervision of a health professional such as myself.
When your Liver is not functioning well, you may be experiencing symptoms such as Diarrhoea or Constipation, Hormonal problems (in women this may be PMS and painful heavy periods, in men this may include low testosterone levels and low libido), Bloating, abdominal pain and bloating, difficulty losing weight, especially around the abdomen - and knock on effects of this include nutrient deficiency - otherwise known as malnutrition - because your digestive system is not able to absorb nutrients from your food well anymore. Here is an article from the World Journal of Gastroenterology with more information!
If you don't want to go for a full detox, there are things you can do in the meantime - things you can eat and drink to improve your liver health. Take a look at this handy list for some ideas.
FOODS TO IMPROVE LIVER FUNCTION & DIGESTION
- Apples contain pectin which can bind to heavy metals and help them to be excreted. Stew some apples to soothe a sore tummy.
- Beetroot, carrots, red onions and eggplant contain flavonoids and beta- carotene which are potent antioxidants– they improve your overall health too! Antioxidants are also found in berries and other fruits. Include some in your daily diet!
- Garlic and Onions contains allicin and the mineral selenium, which are both antioxidants. They assist in the removal of heavy metals from the liver. You can also obtain your daily requirement of Selenium from just 2 Brazil Nuts each day!
- Eggs, brown rice and whole grains, broccoli and spinach contain B-complex vitamins, which improve liver function and promote liver decongestion.
- Vitamin B12 helps to metabolise fats and improves liver health. This one is especially important if you are vegetarian or vegan as you will likely need to take a supplement. High dietary sources of B12 include Clams, herring, organ meats, salmon, sardines, swiss cheese, egg yolks, meat.
- Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, bok choy, kale, radishes, and turnips contain glucosinolates which help the liver produce enzymes for detoxification. Grapefruits are rich in antioxidants and help in natural detoxification of liver. Radishes have also been shown to aid in breaking down gall stones (high daily consumption of!).
- Bitter vegetables such as bitter gourd, dandelion greens, mustard greens and chicory promote the production and flow of bile. Squeeze a lemon quarter into a glass of water and drink before or during your meals to improve bile production and overall digestion. Apple Cider Vinegar also has this effect - add a teaspoon to water, and increase up to a tablespoon as your palate can handle it!
Here are some more suggestions for those playing at home;
Tips for a healthy liver:
- Eat organically produced foods as much as possible to avoid toxic chemical residues. Avoid artificial flavourings and preservatives.
- Avoid damaged fats such as hydrogenated fats found in many processed foods.
- Coconut Oil is excellent for cooking, and is gentle on the liver.
- Make sure your nuts and seeds are really fresh - a 100g mix of nuts each day is an excellent source of Vitamins and Minerals.
- Avoid excess saturated animal fat like sausage, bacon, salami, hot dogs, high fat dairy products like whole milk, ice cream and cheese - or don't consume these things daily and cut back as much as you can.
- Alcohol is best avoided if you are detoxing your liver, as it is known to be detrimental to overall health but especially liver health.
Liver detoxification is a crucial part of improving your digestive health. It is somewhat of a speciality for a Naturopath, as one of our main philosophies is that everything begins with the gut - and this includes the Liver.
If you would like to talk to me about your own gut health, you can send me a message HERE!