Love Your Liver
Keeping in line with our spring cleaning topic of the month, we’re focusing on your liver this week!
Located in the upper right part of your belly under your ribs, the liver is the heaviest organ in the body, as well as one of the largest. It performs more than 400 different jobs!
Its main duties are to process nutrients from food, make bile (which is imperative for the absorption of fat-soluble substances like vitamins A, D, E, and K), remove toxins from the body, and build proteins.
And, did you know that it’s one of the most important organs in your body when it comes to keeping your weight down?
Because the liver functions as a filter to cleanse the body of toxins, metabolize protein, control hormone balance, and produce immune-boosting factors, when your liver is sluggish, every organ in your body is affected.
You can NOT live without a liver; it is a constantly working powerhouse that can regenerate its own damaged cells!
It is not, however, indestructible.
When overwhelmed with toxins or lacking essential nutrients, the liver’s performance can be significantly compromised.
Hormone imbalances may develop, and fat may accumulate in the liver and just under the skin, or in other organs. Toxins may build up and get into the bloodstream.
The following are just some of the potential symptoms of an overburdened liver:
- Inability to lose weight
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Frequent headaches or migraines
- Acne; psoriasis; eczema; oily skin; rashes
- Excessive gas
- Sugar cravings
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Frequent or continual fatigue
- Sluggish metabolism
- Sleep disorders like insomnia
- Bad breath
- Poor or inadequate digestion; heartburn; acid reflux; bloating after eating
- Constipation; diarrhea; irritable bowel syndrome
- Allergies to foods and chemicals; environmental sensitivity; chemical intolerance
- Low immune response; recurring colds, fevers, and excessive mucus
Creating wellness should be an everyday priority for your family. It’s very important to tend to your liver daily, as opposed to the once-a-year cleanse that I often hear people talk about.
When we choose habits that protect our liver on a daily basis, we can expect to perform and feel our best!
It is important to establish a solid “healthy liver” foundation with your children and teach them to take care of theirs as well.
However, while eating a diet filled with nourishing whole foods is imperative to liver health, it’s not the only thing you have control over when it comes to your liver.
For example, smelly plug-in “air fresheners” do NOT freshen your liver.
Our bodies hate those toxic chemicals, and the liver is the one that faces the burden of clearing the body of them.
So, I’ve put together an action plan you can use to improve your liver health this spring. (Don’t miss the sign-up at the bottom for a more detailed version of this plan!)
Love Your Liver Action Plan
Reduce the following items that stress the liver
- Caffeine from coffee, chocolate, cocoa, tea, some soft drinks, and kola nut
- Over-the-counter medications (like Advil, Tylenol, and other cold remedies) and prescription medications. Look for more natural remedies.
- Sugar! Sugar taxes the liver and the immune system.
- Trans fat or trans fatty acids and hydrogenated oils, which impede your liver’s ability to burn fat. (Hydrogenated oils are commonly found in breads, cereals, and most processed foods.)
- Artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners (Equal, Sweet’N Low, Splenda)
- Artificially scented home fragrance plug-ins, trash bags, and candles
- Traditional cleaning products, bleaches, and bug sprays
(Not eating adequate amounts of fiber can also put pressure on the liver. Fiber helps remove toxins from the body. I suggest you get the majority of your fiber from gentle sources like fruits and vegetables.)
Introduce these foods and supplements that reduce liver stress
(Hint: Whole foods with lots of fiber are excellent!)
- Vegetables from the cabbage family (e.g., broccoli, brussels sprouts)
- Milk Thistle
- Marshmallow Root
- Liver Support Teas
De-Stress Your Life
- Practice yoga
- Take regular Epsom salt baths
- Nurture spiritual connection
- Prioritize your life (Do your actions match your goals?)
- Get out in nature regularly
- Take several deep cleansing breaths throughout your day – clear your lungs and relax your body
Recommended Book: The Liver Cleansing Diet by Dr. Sandra Cabot