Caring For Your Liver
Did you know that the liver is the largest and most complex organ in your body and performs over 500 tasks? Today we look at its role and what you can do to take care of it.
Some of the 500 functions performed by your liver include:
- Neutralizing toxins so they can be eliminated from the body;
- fighting infections;
- manufacturing proteins and hormones;
- controlling blood sugar;
- cleansing your blood.
We read about the importance of detoxing to help our bodies get rid of the many internal and external toxins that accumulate in our bodies daily and which, if allowed to accumulate, can be extremely detrimental to our health. These tips are not about detoxing but rather about looking after your liver day-to-day, in order to achieve long-term health.
1. Cut out late night snacks. Your body works in a daily cycle and between around 11pm and 3am, your liver is engaged in its regenerative cycle. If the body is digesting food during this time, both your sleep and the liver's detoxification processes will be disrupted. It is ideal to aim for a 10 hour gap between dinner and breakfast.
2. Know your fats. We need plenty of healthy fats in our bodies, but unhealthy trans-fats, such as those derived from fried and processed foods can be incredibly harmful. If you are unsure of what constitutes good and bad fats, please feel free to browse the articles shown here to enhance your understanding.
3. Reduce toxin intake. You can cut your liver's workload by reducing the amount of toxins that you expose it to. Try to eat organic foods, if your budget allows it; switch to filtered water; choose glass containers over plastic and look for non-toxic skin-care products.
4. Increase your fibre. You can support your liver by eating plenty of foods that are high in soluble fibre. This fibre binds to toxins and carries them out of the body. Try to include plenty of fresh vegetables, chia seeds, flax, fruit, beans and oats to make the most of this toxin disposal system.
5. Be a herbivore. Many herbs have properties that will help your liver. Milk thistle has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help your worn out liver to regenerate through the growth of new cells.
6. Zest for life. Lemon zest contains a phytonutrient called d-limonene that helps the liver to detoxify. Add some lemon zest to a smoothie or a salad dressing to make sure you don't miss out on this important nutrient.
7. Cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and broccoli, play an important part in the liver by supporting the sulfation pathway, which removes excess estrogen.
8. Pick your protein. Try to make a portion of high quality protein part (but not all) of every balanced meal. Sustainable fish, lean meats and pulses are all good sources of healthy protein.
9. Seeing green. Green herbs and vegetables are fantastic for supporting your liver. Parsley, coriander, dandelion and rocket are perfect additions to any salad or soup.
10. Introducing Choline. Many people won't have heard of this essential micronutrient, but it helps to transport triglycerides (fat) away from the liver and is absolutely vital for normal liver metabolism. Good sources of choline include eggs, soy, lecithin and avocado.