The liver is an amazing vital organ. It performs over 500 functions in the body and drives many of the critical systems in the body. It’s a power source, pharmacy, chemical factory and natural detoxification system and it works 24 hours a day.
Specifically, it is part of the digestive process: producing bile, providing us with energy, fighting
infections, influencing our immune function, helping our blood to cot, regulating our hormones, cleaning our blood, metabolizing everything we digest, regulating cholesterol and helping our bodies to absorb essential minerals and vitamins. The liver has to process everything we eat, drink, breath in and put on or near our body. The average women uses 34 products while getting ready in the morning many full of toxic substances that the liver has to process. For example, if you use perfume or cologne you are absorbing approximately 48 chemicals. If you eat processed food full of additives and preservatives you are putting a straining on your liver. If you eat non-organic food, unhealthy vegetable oils, or have a diet high in sugars and low in whole foods, you are putting your liver at risk every single day. If you are taking drugs, (over the counter, recreational or prescribed) and/or are partaking in alcoholic beverages you are putting your liver and health at risk. Our liver can only take so much. A recent study provides upsetting evidence of the damage being done to this vital organ. The UK study, presented evidence that non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is on the rise among teenagers and young adults and is so bad many of the participants displayed fibrosis a precursor to cirrhosis. Fatty liver is a public health crisis and a manifestation of metabolic syndrome, a condition that leads to many fatal health issues. Fatty liver is when an abundance of lipids or fats are found in the liver and is closely associated with obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. It affects 20 to 40 per cent of the population. We are even seeing young children with liver disease due to poor diet and an abundance of sugar. . Symptoms of fatty liver disease are mild until the later stages so many people don’t
know they have it until it is its more dangerous stages. You might experience fatigue,mild abdominal discomfort, and maybe nausea. Some people experience weight loss and a decrease in appetite. Of course, jaundice and fluid build up are late stage symptoms and require immediate medical attention. Fatty liver can eventually lead to cirrhosis of the liver and is linked to an increase in liver cancer.
The good news is that the liver is really, really good at rejuvenating itself so it is not too late to reverse liver damage as long as it is not to advanced. Here are some tips for improving your liver function:
* Reduce your use of over the counter pain pills. Tylenol contains acetametaphine which can
damage the liver. Don’t exceed recommended doses and never mix with alcohol. Other
prescription drugs are also dangerous. Speak to a health care professional.
* If you diabetic or prediabetic control your sugar levels by eating foods low on the glycemic
index. A low carbohydrate and a diet high in healthy fats can help. Fatty Liver Disease is not caused by good fats, it is a result of too much sugar and toxins.
* Avoid alcohol.
*Avoid sugar. (see previous posts)
*Avoid toxins especially endocrine disrupting chemicals such as BPA found in plastics, and
*Try a ketogenic or Mediterranean diet both high in healthy fats and detoxifying vegetables.
*Avoid packaged goods that contain refined vegetable oils, artificial foods, chemicals and
preservatives, sweeteners and dyes. Avoid pesticides and herbicides by buying organic. Factory farmed meats and fish should also be avoided.
* Foods that decrease inflammation while also aiding the body in the use of insulin are
recommended. These would be monounsaturated fats like olives, olive oil, avocados, and nuts.
Consume foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids- wild caught fish, chia seeds, and walnuts. Foods high in anti-oxidants particularly Vitamin E like sunflower seeds and almonds should be included in your diet as they help in the repair process. The liver loves bitter foods like arugula, mustard greens, dandelion, and artichokes.
* Drink green tea rich in catechins.
*Consider supplementing with vitamins E, C, and D. Garlic, cinnamon, ginger, quercetin,
curcumin, prebiotics and probiotics help keep inflammation at bay, aid digestion and help with insulin resistance all important to rejuvenate the liver.
Incorporate some of these tips for caring for your liver into your life and your liver will thank you for many years to come. Never take your liver for granted.
Susanne Jakubowski is a holistic nutritionist, yoga teacher, Thai Yoga Therapist, and cancer survivor.