Your liver. You need it to live…but do you know why? The main purpose of your liver is to clean your blood, digest your food and rid your body of toxic substances. We want our liver to get rid of things as quickly as possible, but how quickly that happens can largely depend on your lifestyle choices.
Here is how your liver works: Raise your arm and have your palm facing you. From your elbow to your palm is the ‘stuff’ your body wants to get rid of, and is the vessel to take it to your liver. Your liver is your palm of your hand. Ideally, your liver will detoxify the waste and excrete it out your fingers. But sometimes there are blockages in your liver that stop things from leaving so quickly. And when the liver can’t get rid of things quickly enough and is being overworked, it will slow down and recycle things into the blood. The items that are recycled into the blood are estrogen and cholesterol. If this is happening often or for a long period of time, hormone imbalance and high blood pressure can be the result.
A big sign about how well your liver is working is through a fatty liver test with your doctor. If you liver enzymes are high. Elevated liver enzymes often indicate inflammation or damage to cells in the liver.
Another important thing to keep note of is your bowel movements. You should be having well formed, easy to pass bowel movements one to two times per day.
Signs that you liver might need some extra love include: fluid retention, skin breakouts, sore/red/stingy eyes, waking up between 2am – 4am and being extra hot, lumpy breasts that swell around your period, PMS, always being really hungry, not hungry for breakfast and always craving coffee in the morning, digestive issues, increased body fat and cellulite in ‘new’ places, poor energy, more short tempered than usual.
Now that we understand the basics of the liver, what can you do to make it function optimally for your body? Here are a few things that can negatively affect your liver:
- Over-the-counter medications
- Over prescribed medications
- Trans Fats
- Refined sugar
From a nutritional point of view, there are lots of things we can add to our diet to help. Nutrient dense food is really important for liver health. Salmons, berries, beets, spinach and quinoa just to name a few. Here is a list of specific foods we should be adding to our days for optimal liver health:
- Beetroot juice
- Phytoestrogens like flaxseed and whole organic soy
- Dandelion tea
- Nettle tea
- Coffee (in balance)
- Brussel sprouts
- Fatty fish such as salmon
- Olive oil
- Supplements to include:
- Vitamin E
- Milk thistle supplement
So there you have it. Like with any nutrition changes you are taking on, it is always a good idea to speak with your doctor or health care practitioner to ensure it is right for you!
Interested in learning more? Check out some of my nutrition programs here!