Taking Care of the Liver
The Liver is one of our largest internal organs and one of the most underestimated organs. It does so much for us, from detoxifying to purifying blood to regulating our metabolism.
Although the liver is wonderful at healing and self-recovery, it does take a great deal of abuse in our everyday lifestyles. Some of the choices can be fairly obvious (like eating non-organic food, living in a polluted area, drinking water containing flouride) but many other choices (like skin care products, household cleaning products, or prescription medication) can create further damage which we might not even be aware of, and cause a sluggish, tired Liver.
How to tell if you have a sluggish Liver?
A liver that is tired, congested and overworked can produce a number of symptoms that are often thought to be caused by a hormone imbalance. Common symptoms of a sluggish liver are:
- weight gain
- anger or irritability
- periods of general depression, headaches or body aches without an identifiable cause
- inability to properly balance hormones in the absence of other contributing fertility health issues
- poor digestion, nausea after meals (especially after eating fatty/oily foods) and constipation
- skin issues – irritation, some liver spots, acne, itching, swelling with bags under the eyes, slight yellow hue.
- fatigue without having overexerted oneself
Main factor to liver sluggishness is eating a diet low in fiber that lacks fresh whole vegetables and overeating dairy, fatty meat such as bacon, oils, alcohol and refined sugars. Repeated use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics and tranquilizers, and exposure to environmental toxins and chemicals also contribute to poor liver health.
Foods to Nourish the Liver
If you identified with any of the symptoms above and you’d like to detox and nourish your Liver, try incorporating nutrient dense foods and drink filtered water daily.
Some foods you can start adding to your diet for better Liver health are:
- Fresh vegetables – specifically dark green leafy vegetables and sea vegetables, chlorophyll-rich foods that boost liver health, function and soak up environmental toxins from the blood stream. Such amazing greens would include arugula, dandelion greens, mustard greens, and spinach. Some sea vegetable examples would be kelp, kombu, wakame, arame, etc
- Fiber – which absorbs excess bile, promotes regular elimination including elimination of excess hormones – whole grains, beans, and legumes (black beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc).
- Sulphur-rich foods – They have the ability to activate liver enzymes that help your body flush out toxins. Try eating more garlic, onion, cage-free eggs, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli or cauliflower.
- Enzyme/probiotic-rich foods – fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut or kefir. A 2013 meta-analysis of studies on probiotics and NAFLD found that using probiotics can improve a number of important factors for patients with the disease.
Foods to avoid:
- Refined Sugars
- Refined Grains
- Fried, Greasy Foods
Supplements to Boost Liver Health
The Liver is capable of eliminating most toxins in the body and sending it to the kidneys to be urinated out. However, when the Liver isn’t at optimal health, the conversion of toxins is slowed down, which means it recirculates in the body.
Several herbal supplements known to give the Liver a boost in converting nutrients and removing toxins are:
- Milk Thistle – It helps rebuild liver cells while removing toxins from the body that are processed through the liver. Milk thistle is effective at naturally reversing the harmful effects of alcohol consumption, pesticides in our food supply, heavy metals in our water supply, pollution in the air that we breathe. Besides supplement form Milk Thistle is also available in tea form! It does not have much flavour on it’s own so its nice to pair it with another tea of your choice.
- Dandelion Root – Has protective effects that are likely due to the amount of antioxidants found in dandelion root as well as its ability to prevent damage caused by free radicals.
- Chicory Root- chicory extract is rich in antioxidants and able to hunt reactive free radicals. Therefore, it boosts the defense system of the body while also cleansing the Liver.
- Turmeric – Studies show that the polyphenols in turmeric may be helpful for reducing the risk of fatty liver while decreasing stress at the cellular level. Add it to your cooking or have Golden Milk! (Want to learn how to make Golden Milk at home? Follow this easy recipe: Easy Vegan Golden Milk | Minimalist Baker Recipes)
- Some other options for cleansing the Liver are all natural botanical detox supplement kits. Some really good ones are:
– Wild Rose Liver D-Tox – A 15-day Liver detox program made out of all natural herbal supplement that includes a meal plan with all types of dietary recommendations. https://wildroseproducts.com/products/liv-rejuv-program
-Liver Cleanse by Thorne – A unique herbal formula that can enhance the liver’s function and detoxification. https://www.thorne.com/products/dp/liver-cleanse
– Liver SAP by NFH – Contains a blend of high-quality herbll extracts and nutraceuticals that support and enhance liver function, protect against hepatotoxicity, and aids in the regrowth of damaged hepatocytes. https://www.nfh.ca/products.asp?id=150
**Always consult with your Health-Care Practitioner prior to use any of the products mentioned above**
If you would like to learn more about how to take care of your Liver health or overall health you can book an initial consultation or a free 15 minute consult by calling 604-873-9355 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lidia Pamies
Student of TCM & Receptionist at Yinstill