Our liver is one of our biggest and most important organs. It works around the clock to remove toxins from our blood and to detoxify all the substances that we ingest daily, such as food, drinks and medication. It also detoxifies the natural substances that we manufacture like our hormones to make them safe for our systems and to direct important nutrients to the right places while getting rid of excess as waste.
Alcohol, caffeine, sugar, processed foods, fried foods, lack of sleep, and generally an overindulgence in anything can put extra strain on our livers, leaving them sluggish and lethargic. As our livers struggle to cope with toxic overload during the holidays, we may experience symptoms like fatigue, digestive issues, headaches, and acid reflux, all of which can lead to more serious complications in the future if left unchecked.
Reduce the load:
Cut down on alcohol, sugar, caffeine, as well as refined, processed and fried foods.
Chemicals found in our environments can add to our toxic load. Air pollution, pesticides, chemicals found in some plastics and even in skin care products can increase toxins in our bodies. Try to choose organic foods where possible.
Take care when preparing fresh food. Wash lettuce, vegetables and fruit in clean water to remove chemical residues.
Stress can negatively impact the liver as well. Practice stress reducing techniques like meditation, yoga and doing more of the things that make you feel happy. Make sure you are getting enough good quality sleep too – 8 hours a night is a general guideline for adults.
More of the good:
Spinach, kale and other dark green leafy vegetables contain liver boosting nutrients, as do vegetables from the brassica family. Include broccoli, cauliflower and watercress in your diet.
Sour and bitter foods contain enzymes which are beneficial for the liver. Try using lemon juice and apple cider vinegar to make your own liver-loving salad dressings.
Exercise more. It’s been proven that movement helps to boost blood circulation, which is vital for the liver to carry out its cleansing process efficiently.
Herbs that have been used for supporting liver functions include milk thistle, dandelion, burdock and chicory root. Consult a medical herbalist to find out more about their uses.
Looking after your liver may be the single best thing you can do for your health this year!