By Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND
Liver health and your overall health go hand in hand with each other. The state of your liver has a huge influence upon how well you live, look and feel. If you liver is not healthy you will not be either.
The liver is the largest organ inside the body and it filters over one litre (32oz) of blood per minute. The liver has more than 200 functions and plays a role in nearly all body functions such as digestion and conversion of nutrients, eliminating waste, producing bile for fat digestion, energy and nutrient storage, controlling cholesterol levels, monitoring natural hormonal balance, producing immune factors to fight infections, detoxifies the blood by filtering toxins such as alcohol, medications, pesticides, environmental chemicals, dead cells, cigarette smoke, air pollutants and natural waste from digestion and respiration.
More than 2,000 Australians die each year from chronic liver diseases, cirrhosis and cancers of the liver, gall bladder and bile ducts. An interesting Japanese study showed eating vegetables provided a protective effect against liver cancer.
Liver dysfunction, which is different than liver disease, is when the liver has not yet sustained permanent or sufficient damage to cause major impairment of its normal functions. This can include mild to moderate fatty liver. A dysfunctional liver is working at a reduced capacity, and is overloaded, fatty, toxic or sluggish. This will have a significant negative influence on health.
Symptoms can include pain or discomfort under the right ribcage, indigestion, bloating, intolerance to fatty foods, fatigue, chronic skin itching, poor concentration, intolerance to heat, gallstones, elevated LDL cholesterol, fat around the upper abdomen (liver roll), weight gain, sugar imbalances and cravings and allergies. If you have a number of these symptoms concurrently it may be your liver causing these symptoms. Here is a link to an extended list of symptoms.
So with all this information about the liver, how can we take care of such an AMAZING organ! Fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices all provide an astonishing amount of nutrients that support its natural detoxification pathways. If you take care of your liver it will take care of you! The liver is the most restorative regenerative organ in the body. Let food be your medicine as plant foods are the most important foods for a healthy liver.
Simple guidelines for liver health
• Juice and eat a few serves of raw fruits and vegetables daily such as a salad
• Avoid artificial sweeteners, colours, additives, preservatives, refined sugar and white refined carbohydrates, alcohol and hydrogenated processed oils such as margarines and fried foods.
• Eat foods as they exist in nature as much as possible
• Eat organic where possible (this is not necessary just a better option)
• Keep well hydrated to assist with the elimination of toxins through the natural pathways such as the kidneys, liver and skin.
Recommended fruits and vegetables include cabbage family, beetroot (beet), fennel, onion family, dark green leafys and a wide variety of dark coloured fruits and vegetables. Cabbage family vegetables contain a phytonutrient called sulforaphane which has been shown to increase the activity of the liver’s detoxification enzymes. These enzymes are well known for their ability to clear a wide variety of toxic compounds. Culinary herbs and spices for liver health include rosemary, turmeric, dandelion leaves and ginger. These can be easily added to juices or any reboot meal suggestions.
Liver Juice Recipe
– 2 Cabbage Leaves (any variety)
– 1 Beetroot (Beet)
– 1 Lemon
– 2 Kale or Spinach Leaves
– 1 Carrot
– 1 Apple
– Knob of turmeric or Knob of ginger