Be a Liver Lover

Be a Liver Lover

When we stress our bodies by overindulging in food and drink, our livers must work harder to get rid of the waste. This vital and regenerative organ also works constantly to cleanse the body of pollution, drug residue, and heavy metals.

When we stress our bodies by overindulging in food and drink, our livers must work harder to get rid of the waste. This vital and regenerative organ also works constantly to cleanse the body of pollution, drug residue, and heavy metals.

The three main functions of the liver are to regulate, synthesize, and secrete hormones important for maintaining the body’s normal state of well-being. The liver also stores nutrients such as glycogen (energy), vitamins, and minerals. Further, it helps to purify, transform, and eliminate waste and toxins.

Here’s how to keep your liver healthy.

Keep this organ working at its best by taking steps to eat and live well. Then occasionally throughout the year, in spring or fall, take a week or 10 days to fast or focus on therapeutic herbs and foods, to help the body cleanse.

Begin by Taking Charge

Listen to your body. Pay attention to good health habits. Drink plenty of water between meals, eat when hungry, and eat smaller meals more frequently. Instead of overloading on fatty, deep-fried, sugary, and processed foods that cause your liver to labour, choose simple fruits and vegetables and a small salad of raw vegetables.

Take a good multivitamin that is high in vitamin B and contains optimal amounts of trace minerals. Ensure adequate vitamin C and zinc intake, and take calcium and magnesium nightly to maximize benefit. Use omega-3 fish oil and sprinkle healthy oils such as olive, safflower, and sunflower on your salads. You can also cook with organic coconut oils or even ghee (clarified butter). Last but not least, continue to read alive magazine for recipes and information about ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Cleansing is Key

Your liver will let you know you need to cleanse by sending out signals via poor digestion, constipation, and the other signs listed in the accompanying sidebar. Moodiness, depression, foggy brain, impaired concentration, and poor memory also point to a sluggish liver, as do allergic conditions like hay fever, hives, skin rashes, and asthma. Hypoglycemia, unstable blood sugar levels, dizziness, and light-headedness are also often symptoms of a liver problem.

Cleansing is a deliberate choice we make to enhance daily elimination and rebalance the body. Remember, just as renovating your house can disrupt your comfort for a short time, cleansing can cause temporary headaches, more frequent bowel movements, and sometimes a bit of tiredness and aches. These temporary inconveniences are signs that the liver is detoxifying. If you hold fast, you will achieve satisfying results. Dr. Bernard Jensen, author of Dr. Jensen’s Guide to Diet and Detoxification (McGraw-Hill, 2000), describes an 11-day detoxification regime consisting mainly of liquids, fruits, and vegetables that leads the body through what he calls a “healing crisis” that in the end results in optimum health.

Herbal Help

Herbalists use cholagogues (bile enhancers) to cleanse the colon. Black radish is one of my favourites; I love it because it really helps other liver herbs such as milk thistle and dandelion to do their job efficiently.

Other supplements that can help with liver health include vitamin C (4 g to 20 g daily), vitamin D (1,000 mcg), calcium and magnesium (350 mg each), a liver supplement that contains black radish, milk thistle, dandelion, and turmeric, and plenty of water. Kelp, zinc, and omega-3, -6, and -9 can also be helpful.

We all need cleansing from time to time. I recommend that you visit your natural health store to search out top-notch cleanses with the help of a natural product adviser.

Your Liver, in Detail

  • By volume alone, the liver is the largest, densest internal organ of the human body, weighing from 2 kg to 4 kg.
  • The liver is located in the upper right-hand quadrant of the abdominal cavity.
  • The liver produces bile, which is stored in the nearby gall bladder. Bile enters the duodenum and helps to break up fats. Bile also regulates peristalsis, the waves that cause the intestines to process and move food and waste through the digestive tract.
  • The liver performs several roles in the regulation of carbohydrate metabolism. It creates glycogen used as a pure energy source by the muscles. The liver also helps break down insulin and metabolize testosterone and estrogen.
  • The liver is involved in cholesterol synthesis and assists with the production of triglycerides (fats), coagulation factors of the blood, and various types of fibrinogen, protein structures that the body uses to heal cuts and reduce inflammation.
  • The liver breaks down hemoglobin and deposits the dead blood cells into the bile for transport out of the body via the large intestine (in the stool).
  • The liver stores copper, folate, iron, and vitamins A, B12, D, E, and K.
  • It is also responsible for immunological effects and acts as a sieve for various antigens carried out of the system for delivery out of the body via the large intestine.

Five Ways to Say “You Love Me”

  1. Avoid taking unnecessary medications. (Too many chemicals can harm me.)
  2. Don’t drown me in beer, liquor, or wine. (If you drink alcohol, have two or fewer drinks per day.)
  3. Bug sprays, paint sprays, and all those other chemical sprays you use can harm me, too. Be careful what you breathe.
  4. Use caution and common sense regarding intimate contact. (Hepatitis viruses live in body fluids, including blood and seminal fluid.)
  5. Since everything you eat must pass through me, pay special attention to nutrition and your diet to keep me healthy.


Signs You Need to Cleanse

  • poor digestion
  • abdominal bloating
  • nausea after a fatty meal
  • constipation
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • excessive flatulence
  • excessive bad breath
  • coated tongue

A Traditional Chinese Look at the Liver

In Eastern medicine the liver is seen not as physical organ but as an energetic process that translates its function to the body as a whole. Symptoms become warning signs, not diseases to be named. For example, the energy process attributed to the liver governs the sinews and joints. Therefore, a stagnant liver, as it is known, may cause aching shoulders or other painful joints. An overheated liver may cause skin irritation, itching, and other skin ailments. Concoctions of bitter herbs, such as dandelion and gentian, are taken to cool the liver.

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