What does the liver do?
The liver performs thousands of functions every minute of the day, just to keep you alive. The most well-known function is to filter the blood, which helps maintain energy levels and enables thought and concentration. The liver also metabolizes fat, breaks down unhealthy cells and bacteria, and generates warmth (body temp) and energy you require. However, did you know that your liver is also responsible for maintaining hormonal balance, especially eliminating excess estrogen, and manufacturing essential proteins necessary for healthy immune function?
How can I recognize a problem?
The liver performs many important jobs within the body, and keeping it functioning optimally is key to a long and healthy life. When function has been compromised and the liver requires attention, there are usually warning signs which include the following:
- Fatigue, unpleasant moods
- Abdominal bloating, reflux, heartburn, gallbladder problems
- Unexplained weight gain, inability to lose weight even when dieting
- Abdominal fat, a “pot belly” and/or "liver roll" (upper abdominal fat)
- Indigestion and/or intolerance of fatty foods
- Fatty yellowish lumps often near the eyes (xanthelasma)
- Overheating of the body, excessive sweating
- Body odor, bad breath, coated tongue
- Red itchy and/or dry eyes, itchy skin or rashes
- Acne or rosacea on face, brown liver spots on skin
- Redness of the palms of the hands, hot or burning soles of feet
- Headaches, especially associated with nausea
- Discomfort or pain over the liver (right upper abdominal area)
- High blood pressure, cholesterol and/or triglycerides
What causes these problems?
The first step is to uncover how these symptoms came about and to understand what lifestyle habits are contributing to them. Some of the most common causes of an unhealthy liver or sluggish liver are within your direct control and include:
- Chemically sprayed crops
- Eating packaged foods with refined oils and high amounts of sugar
- Too much alcohol and caffeine
- Prescription medication or antibiotic use
- Drug use and unprotected sex
- Low-quality animal products
- High stress levels and hormonal imbalances
- Air pollution and environmental toxin exposure
- Using chemical household and beauty products
What can I do?
When the above and other poor conditions persist, the results can lead to fatty liver disease. So what can you do to prevent or reverse these conditions? Below are several all-natural steps you can take to stop and reverse a liver damage.
1. Eat an Anti-inflammatory Diet. A low-sugar, low glycemic index, low-toxin diet that’s filled with nutrient-rich, high-fiber foods is crucial for supporting your liver. High amounts of antioxidants and fiber can even reverse liver damage and disease.
2. Properly Prepare Your Food. Also important is properly preparing the foods you eat in order to reduce the presence of toxins, antinutrients and carcinogens that damage the liver. Antinutrients are types of natural toxins found in foods like grains, beans, nuts and seeds. While they help the actual plants protect themselves from rodents or bugs, the human body has a hard time digesting them so they can interfere with the liver’s ability to absorb nutrients and metabolize proteins. Soak and sprout your grains, nuts, beans/legumes and seeds before eating them to make their toxin levels lower and nutrient availability higher.
3. Eat Organic Crops and Grass-Fed, Cage-Free or Wild Animal Foods. The quality of your diet is very important, because crops sprayed with chemicals, farm-raised fish or factory-farm-produced meat/poultry are more likely to carry toxins, antibiotic residue and added synthetic hormones that the liver then needs to remove. In addition, the healthier the animal, or the fresher the produce, the more nutrients (like omega-3s or antioxidants) are available when you eat them.
4. Use Liver-Boosting Supplements. Several powerful herbs known to give the liver a boost in converting nutrients and removing toxins are:
- Milk thistle: n excellent source of the antioxidant called silymarin, which prevents depletion of glutathione in the liver and also fights liver disease.
- Holy basil: contains essential oils that help combat bacteria, heavy metals and even strains of fungus.
- Dandelion root: offers a natural diuretic effect. This means it helps balance fluid levels and boosts the liver’s efforts to quickly eliminate toxins, strengthening the immune system, helping with blood sugar balance and relieving indigestion.
- Bupleurum: a medicinal root used for fighting infections and improving digestion problems like acid relfux, diarrhea and constipation. It improves adrenal gland function, reduces the effects of stress and boosts immune system function.These herbal supplements help the liver properly metabolize foods, eliminate waste and even balance hormones.
5. Maintain Intestinal Hygiene. Keeping your colon clear of lodged toxins and excess stored debris is important in keeping your liver flowing and releasing bile. In addition to proper diet and hydration, regular colon hydrotherapy and a periodic cleanse program will assist digestion and elimination, and help keep you liver functioning properly.
6. Reduce Stress and Practice Forgiveness. High amounts of chronic stress — which can be caused by emotional issues, relationship problems, and holding on to guilt, anger or shame — all promotes inflammatory response in your endocrine, digestive, reproductive and immune systems and worsens liver damage. A damaged liver blocks healthy emotional flow, produces frustration and causes anger which all have physical implications: brain fog, rib pain or fullness, dizziness, headaches, cramping, joint or tendon problems, menstrual problems, low libido, hormone imbalance, blurry vision, and digestive disorders. It’s important to let go of built-up anger and keep positive energy moving by avoiding conflict and stressing over small things.
7. Move Your Body More
Because the liver stores and processes your blood, circulation is important for allowing its cleansing effects to unfold. The body can become stagnant and more susceptible to disease when blood isn’t flowing, but during physical activities, the heart pumps more blood. The liver is then better able to release blood to your brain, organs, tendons, joints and muscles. Exercise helps oxygen-rich blood and nutrients reach reproductive and digestive organs, helping bring on a healthy, more pain-free menstrual cycle and more regular bowel movements.
Sources: liverdoctor.com, draxe.com