ESTIMATED READING TIME 4 MINUTES
It’s Love Your Liver Month! Is it fair to say you sometimes take your liver for granted? Your liver puts up with a lot before it starts to grumble. Because of this, it’s easy to underrate this amazing organ.
It’s time to change this because keeping your liver in tip-top health will benefit your overall health immeasurably.
Read on to discover how to show your liver some love!
You might not be aware your liver isn’t feeling 100%, but it will be sending you clues. For example, your skin health might suffer, with outbreaks of acne, psoriasis, dermatitis or eczema, as it takes over some of the detoxification work from your liver. You might find your hormones are unbalanced. If fat starts to accumulate in your liver, this can affect your blood sugar levels and encourage damaging fat to be laid down around your internal organs.
Other clues to a struggling liver can include headaches and migraines, waking up at around two to three o’clock in the morning for no apparent reason, constipation or IBS, high cholesterol, mood swings and anger. In fact, the effects of a sluggish liver are felt all over your body.
Apart from detoxifying harmful substances like environmental chemicals, alcohol and toxic substances produced within your body, your liver stores energy, helps digestion, regulates cholesterol and processes hormones. You can find out more about what your liver does for you here.
In all, your liver is responsible for over five hundred different tasks within your body. So it’s no wonder that from time to time it could benefit from a helping hand.
Thankfully your liver is capable of amazing powers of regeneration, given the chance. Springtime (it’s only around the corner!) is traditionally a time to nurture your liver. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, as winter gives way to spring, your liver’s energy becomes dominant.
Why not try some of these liver-friendly strategies this month?
Your liver depends on a good supply of B vitamins, and vitamins C, D and E. Vitamin D is scarce in the winter months, so a supplement is advised. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, cabbage and cauliflower contain plant chemicals especially beneficial for your liver. Meanwhile, garlic, onions and turmeric can help your liver to detoxify unwanted substances.
Switch to organic. This means you’ll be avoiding artificial pesticides and herbicides which all add to your liver’s workload. If you can’t afford to go completely organic, remember certain fruits and vegetables tend to concentrate chemicals more readily than others. These include strawberries, spinach, kale, apples, grapes and peppers.
Eating foods high in sugar and refined carbohydrates switches on fat production in your liver, contributing to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. According to the British Liver Trust, this condition may affect up to one in five people in the UK.
Fructose is a particularly problematic sugar for your liver to process. Although it forms a natural part of the sugar in fruits, it’s often extracted from corn starch, concentrated and used to sweeten fizzy drinks in the form of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). This is harmful to your liver and can trigger fatty liver disease 1. Watch out for this ingredient on labels, as it’s found in foods you might not expect. As well as fizzy drinks, biscuits, cakes and pastries, it’s added to some tomato ketchup, salad dressings and BBQ sauces.
Eat sources of liver-friendly healthy fats like avocados, oily fish, seeds and nuts, grass-fed butter and coconut oil.
Processed and convenience foods, as well as takeaways, contain a whole array of additives your liver needs to deal with, contributing to its already overloaded work schedule.
For many people, alcohol is the number one substance the liver needs to process. Why not give it a proper rest this month by saying no to alcohol? Even as little as three alcohol-free days per week will be appreciated by your liver.
Any chemical coming into contact with your skin or breathed into your lungs must be eventually processed by your liver. Reduce its workload by opting for natural household cleaners and personal care products.
Milk thistle, artichoke and dandelion are all herbs traditionally used to support and protect the liver. Your practitioner can advise the most suitable combination for you.
If you would like one-to-one help and support to maximise your liver health, why not book a consultation with one of our friendly and knowledgeable functional medicine practitioners? You will benefit from nutritional and lifestyle strategies, personalised to you, to make sure your liver is in tip-top shape. Take your first steps to better liver health today.
Do you need help formulating your health goals? Then book a free 15-minute discovery call to see if Functional Medicine is for you.
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