The liver is one organ in the human body that will regenerate itself. It’s the body’s second largest organ (next to the skin) with many important roles, over 500 important jobs to be exact.
Some of its most important functions are metabolizing hormones and medications, cleansing and filtering the blood, breaking down toxins and fighting infections. Basically if your liver is overloaded you may not effectively loose weight when you are trying or cleanse your blood properly which can lead to feeling sluggish and unwell. A healthy liver is a rich burgundy colour.
The liver becomes sluggish when too many fatty foods are consumed, not enough exercise and stress is not managed.
In a small Swedish study, 18 trim, healthy adult volunteers who restricted their levels of physical activity to no more than 5,000 steps a day and ate at least two fast food meals every day for four weeks showed clear signs of liver damage. They also put on weight.
Reduce the Risks:
The Canadian Liver Foundation suggests the following for liver maintenance and health. Seeing as we can’t live without our “live”rs it is important to consider the following:
- * Choose a healthy lifestyle.
- * Eat a well-balanced diet that is low in saturated fats and high in fiber.
- * Introduce exercise into your routine. Even simple things like walking, roller lading or riding your bike are great ways to get out there.
- * If you are overweight, lose weight gradually. Crash diets and losing weight really quickly will be very hard on your whole body, including your liver.
Essential Liver Needs:
Certain vitamins and minerals play a crucial role in the overall health of the liver.
- * B-vitamins (in a complex form) are particularly important to ensure the liver naturally cleanses. It helps to manage stress hormones from the adrenal glands, which results in less hormones being metabolized by the liver.
- * Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that loves the liver and helps keep toxins at bay! In addition Vitamin C keeps our immune system well supported.
To Cleanse or Not to Cleanse:
Whenever cleansing any part of the body its important to know how that organ works and to have an overall idea of the imbalances in own body.
An approach that is not drastic or one that requires the assistance of a professional is always suggested to ensure the toxins find a safe pathway out of the body.
Cleanses work differently for each person – we are each unique and require different nutrition and vitamins/minerals. For example a major lifestyle and diet overhaul may not be something your body (physical and emotional) can cope with initially however small baby steps may be more achievable which can lead to huge results long term.
Unburden the Liver Safely:
- * Milk Thistle: Targets the liver, our major detoxifying organ, and also works on a cellular level. Milk Thistle can be taken in tea or tincture form for maximum results and should be used under the supervision of a health care practitioner.
- * Dandelion root: Acts as a cleansing tonic for the liver, gallbladder and digestive tract. Also known for its blood cleansing abilities and diuretic effect (in larger quantities). Effective juiced, as tea or eaten in salads. Start slowly with it to avoid strong detoxifying side effects.
- * Nettles: Known as “stinging” nettle, this herb detoxifies the digestive system, cleansing and riding the body of waste. Nettles are high iron and vitamin c. Leaves can be cooked, dried for a gentle tea.
Of course nothing can beat the simple and natural detoxifying effects of pure water. Add some lemon for an extra boost for your gallbladder! Eating smaller meals that include organic vegetables and fruits without chemicals lessens the burden of an overworked liver.
According to Paul Pitchford in his book Healing with Whole Foods, “Sprouted grains, beans, and seeds, fresh vegetables and fruits stimulate liver energy flow. Foods that harmonize the liver also include complex carbohydrates and honey, used sparingly, is especially helpful since it has detoxifying effects, mixed with apple cider vinegar it has an even stronger effect.” 
((Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussel sprouts contain various compounds such as indoles, thiols and sulphur compounds which enhance the liver’s detoxification pathways.))
The liver is a complex and sturdy organ that withstands alot: from chemicals to hormones to bacteria, don’t you think its time your liver deserves some extra love?
Tania Heinemann, Registered Nutritionist (RNCP, RHN), has a passion for educating people about nutritional healing starting from the inside through her Nutrition Practices in Cambridge and Waterloo, ON. www.yellowood.ca