Our liver is by the most important metabolic and detoxification organ in our body. It helps to metabolize all the fats, carbohydrates and proteins we eat. This breakdown of compounds we ingest, gives us our energy, our vitamins and minerals needed by our cells.
Since the liver breaks down everything we ingest it produces a lot of free radicals; which are byproducts of this metabolic process. So the liver needs us to supply a sufficient amount of protective anti-oxidant compounds to neutralize these toxic chemicals. These include hormones, drugs, alcohol, pesticides, carcinogens and other poisons which then need to be excreted.
What does our Liver do for us?
- It breaks down all the toxins from the blood that we inhale, eat, drink or use on our body.
- It produces bile, which helps us digest our food and cholesterol which helps our cells function, our muscles work and keep hormones in balance.
- The liver extracts, converts and stores all our vitamins, minerals, and sugars and releases it when our body is in need of it.
- Liver filters up to 2 quarts of blood a minute, when it is in good working order. If your liver is in overload you need to detox all those toxins.
Signs of liver problems:
- Fatigue, brain fog, abdominal pain and fatty liver disease
- Flu like symptoms, possible hepatitis A,B, or C
- A substance build-up of bilirubin, a byproduct of the liver filtering system when it is not working. It can cause yellowing of the skin and eyes.
What to do to help your Liver Function Better:
- Eat Healthy
- Be active daily
- Consume Vitamin E; it is associated with 51% lower risk of liver cancer. Eat almonds, olive oil, spinach, avocados.
- Be mindful of amount of drugs taken since the liver has to try to eliminate them. Milk thistle is a great liver cleanser.
- Keep inflammation and blood congestion reduced in the liver by using herbs that will keep the bile and blood flowing thru liver vessels. For example, dandelion root, turmeric, and burdock root are a few herbs that will lower the heat and dampness per TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine).
Other helpful suggestions for the liver include the high anti-oxidants compounds. There are many foods considered to be high super anti-oxidant foods. Look also at the ORAC score (oxygen radical absorbance capacity), the higher the level the higher in anti-oxidants and the most effective at neutralizing free radicals.
Here is a partial list:
Cinnamon, red beans, blueberry, cranberry, artichokes, blackberry, raspberry, apple, pecans, almonds, cherry, strawberry, broccoli, cauliflower, avocado, onions, garlic, all greens (spinach, kale, collards), pomegranate, peppers, citrus fruit, cacao, red wine, green herbs (cilantro, basil, parsley, sage), red and orange veggies like sweet potato and squash.
Organic foods do contain higher levels of anthocyanin’s and flavonoids, both very potent anti-oxidants! When you can afford them, buy organic instead of conventional! You do not want all those conventional sprayed pesticide chemicals in your body, and it’s extra work for the liver to detox these!
Keep your liver, your star organ working properly and it will help prevent you from disease, boost your immune system and keep circulating healthy blood.
The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods by James Duke, PhD
The One Earth Herbal Source Book by Alan Keith Tillotson
Cindy Burrows, B.S., M.T., Herbalist , is a Natural Health Consultant helping individuals start health programs to improve their life, wellness and happiness. Cindy is a speaker, writer and entrepreneur of several businesses. Contact her at [email protected]