Most people don’t tend to spare any thought to how hard their liver is working, it might only be something that crosses your mind after a few too many drinks. However, the liver is the largest detoxification organ, working every minute of every day to detoxify substances that enter the body and by-products of natural biochemical reactions. Efficient detoxification is far more important and critical to great health than most people realise.
Some signs your liver needs a little bit of love and attention can include; fluid retention, acne, cellulite, waking between 2-4 am, premenstrual syndrome, painful periods, high cholesterol, or poor energy.
These kinds of problems can arise when the liver becomes too congested and overworked. Several things that clog up your liver are; alcohol, trans fats, caffeine, some medications, excess sugar, and environmental toxins like substances in the air and chemicals in our food like pesticides and artificial ingredients.
While the liver is very good at doing its job, it can start to struggle when it has to deal with too many of these liver clogging substances. When this happens it will start to prioritise what is most important to detoxify.
The liver knows that if alcohol, caffeine or certain medications start to build up in the blood they can cause life-threatening problems, so the liver detoxifies these things first and will recycle other ‘less harmful’ substances like sex hormones and cholesterol with the idea that it can detoxify these substances later. But when we expose the liver to these liver clogging substances every day it can’t keep up and it keeps recycling these substances. When hormones or cholesterol are recycled back into the blood time after time, the levels in the blood can become elevated. Elevated sex hormones can cause problems with menstruation, hormonal acne, mood balance, and elevated cholesterol puts you at a higher risk of heart disease.
The first step you can take to loving your liver is to reduce or eliminate the substances that put a strain on it. Firstly, look at cutting back your alcohol intake to no more than 5-6 drinks a week, and if you are experiencing any of the liver symptoms I mentioned above then I suggest eliminating alcohol. Reducing or eliminating caffeine is extremely helpful too, replace with water, herbal tea, and vegetable juices.
To reduce your exposure to artificial ingredients try to eat as much real food as possible and avoid processed foods. By eating mostly (or all) real food you will naturally reduce your intake of sugar and trans fats, and increase your nutrient and fibre intake.
There are a few vegetables which specifically support the liver. Brassica vegetables and beetroot both contain nutrients which support the detoxification processes of the liver. Brassica vegetables are; cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Brassica vegetables contain an enzyme which helps increase the rate of one of the liver detoxification pathways, helping to process substances more effectively. I encourage you to try to include at least two servings of brassica vegetables each day. If you don’t think that you can include 2-3 servings of green vegetables each day then it might be worth including a green drink each morning, this is an easy way to make sure you are giving your body what it needs. My favorite green powder is RAW Greens – not only does it contain lots of green vegetables, but it also has herbs that support liver detoxification.
Beetroot contains Betaine, an antioxidant which encourages the liver cells to excrete toxins rather than storing them. This helps to move the rate of detoxification along too. There are several herbs and nutrients such as; vitamin E,B and C, zinc, sulforaphane, diindolylmethane, and milk thistle that can help support the liver — make sure to follow the advice of a practitioner when using these nutrients.
I hope you can understand the importance of liver health and seriously consider reducing your intake of liver congesting substances. The health of your liver has such a knock on effect on your digestion, sex hormone balance, skin health, and energy. So don’t take it for granted, make sure you are doing what you can to help it along. Because regardless of what you do diet wise it is already under massive amounts of pressure that it wasn’t designed to handle.
Our liver was never designed to filter out toxins in our water supply, the chemicals absorbed through our skin from skincare and makeup, pesticides in our food or chemicals from pollution. So do what you can when you can to treat it well.