Did you know that the liver has been identified to have over 500 functions? It sits in the upper right portion of your abdomen and is the only organ that can regenerate once a portion of it has been removed. Are you convinced that your liver has super powers yet?
It’s vital roles include detoxification and metabolism; clearing the blood of medications and other toxins and producing bile which helps remove waste and break down fats during digestion. It also aids in the regulation of glucose, insulin, blood pressure, estrogen, testosterone and cholesterol production and removal. When the liver becomes sluggish, it cannot perform these roles properly and symptoms arise such as weight gain that is difficult to lose, and digestive complaints such as abdominal pain, bloating, nausea and indigestion. You may feel fatigued, brain fog, angry or irritable. You may have dark circles under your eyes, skin rashes or acne and/or struggle with insomnia.
So, in the spirit of this detox season, please join me for the next 30 days and give your liver the love and attention it needs to help you look and feel your best. The goal is to pick one item daily for 30 days to support your liver.
Here are 30 ways to love your liver:
- Reduce dietary portions and skip frequent snacking. This gives the liver a break from processing sugar and fat and prevents excess fat storage.
- Chew your food completely to stimulate digestive enzymes. Aim to chew each bite until pulp consistency. Chewing stimulates digestive enzymes therefore aiding digestion.
- Take an herbal product shown to enhance liver detoxification. These herbs include milk thistle, dandelion root, burdock root and artichoke leaf and berberine HCL to name a few.
- Eat broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, arugula and/or collard greens.
- Omit alcohol. Alcohol can damage or destroy liver cells. Liver damage can lead to the buildup of fat in your liver (fatty liver), inflammation or swelling of your liver (alcoholic hepatitis), and/or scarring of your liver (cirrhosis). For people with liver disease, even a small amount of alcohol can make the disease worse.
- Avoid unnecessary medications. Be sure to check with your doctor before discontinuing your prescribed medications and stay within the upper limit when dosing over-the-counter products such as acetaminophen.
- Eat organic foods, especially thin-skinned fruits and vegetables, reducing your exposure to pesticides and chemicals
- Increase your water intake. Aim to drink half of your body weight in ounces daily and protect your liver from processing a backlog of toxins.
- Make a salad with your favorite leafy greens. The chlorophyll content absorbs toxins from the bloodstream and stimulates the flow of bile.
- Schedule an appointment for a colonic. Keeping your colon healthy and bowels moving regularly prevents the liver from reprocessing toxins that are meant to be excreted as waste. Consider a coffee implant for extra liver stimulation and detoxification (needs a prescription).
- Exercise. Pick an activity that you love and go do it knowing you are excreting toxins from your lungs as you breathe and through your skin as you sweat. This takes some of the burden off the liver.
- Avoid smoking and wear a mask when exposed to chemicals.
- Eat apples because they contain pectin and other compounds to eliminate toxins from the digestive tract. And because they’re delicious.
- Sip on green tea. Green tea contains catechin, an antioxidant known to improve liver function and fat infiltration.
- Evaluate what goes on your skin. This includes makeup, lotions, and sunscreen. Avoid harsh cleaning chemicals and insecticides that are often sprayed on trees and shrubs.
- Avoid red meat and dairy products.
- Schedule an appointment to have blood work taken to include cholesterol and triglycerides, blood glucose and liver enzymes. High five if you’ve already done this recently!
- Assess your supplements. Make an appointment with your naturopathic doctor to make sure the products you’re taking won’t interact with other supplements or medications. Keep a list handy with names and doses or consider bringing your supplements in a bag to your next appointment.
- Enjoy a craniosacral therapy session. It helps by balancing your nervous system, increasing blood flow to your organs and decreasing inflammation. Craniosacral therapy helps to release restrictions and frees up the flow of your organs-allowing them to perform their roles adequately.
- Apply a castor oil pack over your liver (with heat). Castor oil has been shown to increase circulation to tissues and organs under the skin. It is also absorbed into lymphatic circulation which can improve digestion and immune function.
- Increase your fiber intake and aim for 25-30 grams per day. Most adults in the United States only get half of this amount. Adequate fiber aids digestion and decreases re-circulation of fats and toxins.
- Schedule an Decongestive Lymphatic therapy (DLT) session. This therapy supports proper fluid balance throughout the body, enhances immune function and provides a powerful means of detoxification.
- Drink dandelion root tea, and consider using as an alternative to coffee. Dandelion can stimulate bile excretion, aid digestion, improve appetite and have laxative effects.
- Write in a journal for 20 minutes. See what emotions are coming up for you and allow your story to simply unfold on paper.
- Make an appointment for hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy can help you modify behaviors that no longer serve you, lose weight and manage stress.
- Sip on licorice root tea. Licorice root has been shown to protect the liver with its anti-inflammatory activity and its enhancement of antioxidant defense. Consult with your doctor if you have high blood pressure before taking for longer than a 3-month period.
- Drink 16 ounces of lukewarm water with lemon in the morning when you wake up. This helps purify and detoxify the liver by stimulating the production of bile to aid in digestion.
- Take 5 minutes (or more!) to focus on your breath. When breathing is irregular or shallow, your liver cannot adequately transmit blood to the heart. Accumulated blood in the liver causes inflammation. Try this: Inhale for the count of 4, hold your breath for the count of 4, exhale for the count of 4, hold your breath for another count of 4. Continue to repeat this cycle.
- Enjoy beets! Challenge yourself to a new recipe or drink a jar of beet juice. Beets help thin the bile and allow it to move more freely through the liver and intestines.
- Place a hand over your liver throughout the day to connect with it and create awareness.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.
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