The liver is the second-largest organ in your body (your skin is the largest) and it performs a number of essential functions. Keeping it healthy is especially challenging these days, due to poor food choices, environmental toxins, heavy metals and other substances that can seriously damage your liver or at least decrease its healthy function.
What The Heck Does The Liver Do?
The liver has multiple functions, many of which impact your ability to use nutrients, lose fat and build muscle.
The liver helps to regulate both hormones and blood sugar, stores the nutrients your body uses to make glycogen (fuel), filters chemicals like drugs, environmental toxins, metals and other things that don’t belong in your body. The liver also produces bile to allow you to metabolize fats, produces several important enzymes to help digest food and also creates the proteins used to make new blood cells.
A poorly-functioning liver or one that’s bogged down with fats, toxins and wastes, can result in anemia, fatigue, inflammation, obesity, gallbladder disease, hormonal imbalances and malnutrition.
3 Steps To Keeping Your Liver Healthy
There are three important keys to improving and protecting the health of your liver.
- The first is to avoid the overconsumption of alcohol. One cocktail or two glasses of beer or wine should be a maximum for women. Too much alcohol creates a great deal of stress on the liver, actually damaging the liver’s cells and causing a hardening or scarring known as cirrhosis.
- The second key is to take it easy on the unhealthy fats. Fried foods, processed foods containing trans-fats and even too much of the healthier fats put too much demand on the liver for bile production and can lead to gallbladder disease. The liver produces bile and the gallbladder stores it. Without your gall bladder, your ability to break down fats diminishes dramatically.
- The third key to liver health is detoxification. This doesn’t just refer to periodic detoxing, although that’s a good practice a few times a year. What I’m talking about mainly is eating plenty of the foods that are known to help the liver cleanse itself of the things that can hurt it (and the rest of your body).
6 Food Categories That Detox Your Liver
Here are some of the foods known to support liver detoxification:
Garlic and other alliums like onions and chives contain selenium and allicin, which activate enzymes in the liver and also help it to flush out toxins.
Beets, sweet potatoes and carrots are high in plant-flavonoids and beta-carotene that are known to help improve overall health and function of the liver.
Green tea is loaded with catechins, which help the liver function properly.
Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts contain the building blocks of glucosinolates, a compound that binds with toxins, metals and carcinogens and carries them out of the body via urine and waste.
Leafy greens like Romaine, kale, mustard greens, chard and spinach are loaded with chlorophyll, which are unique in that they help the liver to neutralize heavy metals, pesticides and herbicides.
Organic, cold-pressed oils such as flax seed oil, olive oil and avocado oil support the liver by providing a lipid base for the absorption of toxins in the body. This takes some of the workload away from the liver.
Watching alcohol intake and avoiding unhealthy fats, will do wonders for your liver health. Getting rid of toxins and wastes will also help you to lose fat, boost your energy and give you clearer, more youthful skin.
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