The liver is one of the most amazing organs we have. Aside from its super healing powers, it’s the body’s main detoxifier and the second largest organ in the body (second only to the skin).
Taking care of your liver can provide a multitude of benefits, such as improved immune response and improved digestion. On the flip side, an unhealthy liver can lead to many problems and may result in symptoms such as lack of energy, brain fog, difficulty with weight loss, mood swings, and poor digestion.
If you think it’s time to start taking better care of one of the most important and powerful organs you have, try some of the following tips:
Limit or Avoid: Alcohol, Sugar, Pesticides and Harsh Chemicals
It’s a well-known fact that alcohol damages the liver. If you want to live a lifestyle your liver will love, eliminate or reduce your intake of alcohol to an average of one drink per day.
Though the research is mixed on this particular topic, many doctors believe that sugar is toxic to the body. According to Dr. Robert Lustig of the University of California, San Francisco, high sugar intake has been "linked to changes in metabolism, increased blood pressure, liver damage and interference with hormone signaling."
Pesticides and other nasty chemicals
Chemicals that are toxic to pests are toxic to your body. They not only make your liver work overtime, they can also cause long-term damage. Though it’s impossible to live completely toxin free, reducing your intake of (or exposure to) these poisons will be extremely beneficial to your liver and overall health. It’s best to choose organic when possible.
Consume: Milk Thistle, Fiber, Garlic, Coffee and Spices
Dr. Andrew Weil, physician and founder of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, has described milk thistle as “an herb that protects the liver from toxic injury and stimulates regeneration of the liver.” Milk thistle is most easily consumed via a high-quality supplement. It can be taken on its own or in combination with other supplements. My personal practice is to take a high-quality supplement daily that contains milk thistle and other liver-loving ingredients.
Consuming adequate amounts of fiber will help your body’s elimination process, which in turn helps your liver remove those nasty toxins.
You can help ensure that you’re getting enough fiber by increasing your intake of fresh vegetables. If you need an extra kick, add some chia seed or a little psyllium husk to your smoothie. Just remember to get plenty of pure, filtered water to aid in the elimination and detoxification process.
Garlic is truly a super food. It offers endless benefits, one of which is its detoxifying and protective effects on the liver.
Coffee can be a controversial topic, but it’s been shown to have a protective effect on the liver. According to a study conducted by Arthur Klasky, MD, coffee reduces the risk of liver damage in people at high risk for liver disease. When it comes to coffee, be sure to always choose organic, as nonorganic coffee beans are often heavily sprayed with pesticides. And don’t go overboard, either!
I’m a huge fan of using spices — not only for the major flavor enhancements they bring to food, but also for the many health benefits they provide. Coriander, for example, has been shown to help with liver detoxification.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Research has shown a direct link between obesity and an unhealthy liver, specifically a condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
If you’re concerned about your health, it’s best to see seek assistance from a qualified professional. Just remember, you always have the power to make choices that will benefit your health.