How To Get Your Liver Healthy
The liver is the body’s primary organ for filtration and detoxification. If the liver isn’t working properly, the entire body will feel the impact and your goals for weight loss and health will be impossible to reach.
A few weeks ago we talked about the first step in your weight loss and wellness plan – your gut being the gateway to health (see my blog on The Gateway to Health – A Healthy Gut). Once we prepare the gut with healthy bacteria, it will be able to do its job assisting in liver detox.
The liver could be the most important organ in the body. It weighs in at 3-5 pounds and performs over 500 functions of metabolism daily. The liver takes poisons, neutralizes them and if it cannot make them harmless it stores them. Some of the functions the liver performs include breaking down the food we eat into nutrients, converting inactive thyroid hormone (T4) to active thyroid hormone (T3), breaking down and eliminating hormones and store fat soluble vitamins.
Think of the liver as the central location much like a nurse triage station, where everything is evaluated as to its benefits and harmfulness and dealt with appropriately. Our livers are excellent at what they do however in this day and age the liver is so overloaded with incoming toxins that it often can’t work properly. I once heard a doctor say: “When you get a side effect from a medication think of that as your livers cry for help”. This is an excellent analogy when we think about what is happening to the liver as it gets overwhelmed with our toxic way of life. The same would be true of all side effects. The liver can’t do its job because it’s being overtaxed with excessive toxins from medications, alcohol, the standard American diet (SAD), our drinking water and our environment. In addition, many adults and children have developed fatty liver (see my blog Honey We’re Killing the Kids) which further prevents the liver from doing its job.
When the liver can’t do its job the toxins will accumulate in the body and make us sick in a number of ways. Just a few of the side effects of liver toxicity are hormonal imbalances, digestive problems, skin rashes, acne, fat around the belly, cellulite, elevated cholesterol, inability to lose weight, Type 2 Diabetes, immune dysfunction, depression and migraines. Chances are that just about everyone you know needs to pay attention to their liver health in order to obtain optimal wellness and lose weight.
So that brings us to step 2 in our weight loss and wellness plan – adding some natural ways to detox the liver. Some doctors and health professionals will recommend a 3 day cleanse but I actually want you to incorporate some detoxifying foods and drinks into your lifestyle on a regular basis so we maintain a healthy liver at all times.
First let’s look at what we drink. Water should be filtered and pure. Stop using plastic water bottles that you buy in the store and instead get a water filtration system or order filtered water to be delivered to your home. Take water with you when you go out in PBA free containers. Stop drinking sodas which are loaded with chemicals and artificial sweeteners. Avoiding dairy is also helpful. Replace cow’s milk with almond or coconut milk. Replace your fluids with liver detoxifying teas like green, dandelion, wu-yi and yogi. Teas are an excellent way to fill you up between meals too! For a deeper detox, try starting your day with a glass of lemon water and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
When you eat foods you should always be thinking to buy as much as possible “real foods” that are grown organically, without pesticides, hormones or chemicals. Avoid processed foods that are full of sugar, Trans fats, artificial ingredients and chemicals. To be on the safe side 98% of your grocery shopping should be done on the outside perimeter of the store. Load your plate with green leafy vegetables. Greens are incredible for detoxification. If you can’t eat enough greens try using a teaspoon of Spirulena each day in a shake or sprinkled on food. Try having greens blended with a juicer as a part of a shake. Lemon is excellent as a liver detox so adding lemon to your water and tea throughout the day works well. Other vegetables like broccoli and cabbage have great enzymes that help in the process. Avoiding alcohol as much as possible and of course medications is a given as these are very hard on the liver. Cooking with garlic helps as it activates liver enzymes necessary to flush out toxins. Other foods to add to your diet include avocado, walnuts and turmeric.
If you struggle with inability to lose weight, carry fat around the middle, suffer from any number of ailments, take prescription drugs, drink alcohol and eat processed food, chances are that you will benefit by cleansing the liver and detoxifying your body. If you feel you need to do a cleanse, there are a few good ones out there already so no need to re-invent the wheel. Check out Hungry for Change and Dr. Oz 3-Day Detox Cleanse for two possibilities. It certainly would be beneficial to take the time to do a cleanse especially if you have symptoms.
Once you get your liver in shape, your body should be ready to shed those pounds as you also feel better in all aspects of your health. Follow my tips on foods and drinks to consume and avoid to keep your liver in tip top shape and obtain your ultimate goals of weight loss and wellness.
Are you looking to transform your health? Mary works with clients all over the country developing personalized nutrition and exercise plans for weight loss and health. If you’re ready to get started on your journey to health and wellness contact her today!