Articles/Detoxification/Education

Top Tips to Support Your Liver

Top Tips to Support Your Liver

Top Tips to Support Your Liver

Top Tips to Support Your Liver

The first thing that comes to most people’s mind when you mention the liver is ‘liver detoxification’ and 5-day green juice cleanses. A proper liver detoxification protocol comprising phase 1 (detoxification) and phase 2 (elimination) can support the clearance of toxins from our body, however there are simple dietary and lifestyle changes we can implement daily to help support a healthy liver. For more details on specific detoxification head over to our recent article “Do we really need to detox?”.

What does our liver do?

Our liver is the largest internal organ located under the right side of your ribcage. The liver has many roles within the human body and is responsible for: 

  • Metabolising fat, carbohydrates and protein for energy
  • Producing cholesterol for cellular health and synthesis of hormones
  • Making bile required for the breakdown of dietary fat and cholesterol
  • Converting amino acids into proteins such as hormones
  • Storing fat-soluble vitamins, iron and copper
  • Removing environmental chemicals, toxins, hormones, alcohol, drugs/medications and waste product (urea) from the body (3). 

So as you can see, it’s really important that it’s functioning to the best of its ability!

What factors contribe to sub optimal liver health? 

Our diet and lifestyle can place a huge load on the liver, resulting in poor liver health such as cirrhosis (healthy liver tissue is replaced by scar tissue) or other liver diseases. Factors contributing to poor health include genetics, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet, fat accumulation in the liver, poor immunity, infections and exposure to environmental toxins. The good news is, the liver has the ability to regenerate itself, even when only 25% of healthy liver tissue remains (1). By understanding what we can do daily to support optimal liver health, we can ultimately reduce our risk of long-term liver issues.

How do we know if our liver needs some love? 

There are a few strategies used to determine whether your liver needs some tender loving care, including:

  • Blood test results: your hepatic function panel comprising total protein, albumin, globulin, bilirubin, ALT, ALP, AST and GGT can be assessed via a blood test at your doctor. Results outside a normal reference range suggest sub-optimal liver function (2). 
  • Symptoms such jaundice of the skin and eyes, abdominal pain, leg and ankle swelling, fatigue, itchy skin, bruising, changes to your urine and stool colour, nausea and loss of appetite (3). 

Top tips to support the liver

Here are my 6 top dietary and lifestyle tips for supporting your liver: 

1. Engage in regular exercise:

Engaging in regular exercise can help maintain a healthy body weight and reduce the risk of fatty liver disease. 

2. Eat a balanced diet comprising of wholesome foods: 

Support liver function by cutting down on refined sugars, carbohydrates and processed/packaged foods. Add plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, seeds, nuts and healthy oils to your plate.   

3. Support detoxification through: 

  • Consuming 2 cups/day of cruciferous vegetables and dark leafy greens. These are rich in sulfur containing compounds and support detoxification (broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, Brussel sprouts, kale, cauliflower, collard greens).
  • Drinking 2 litres/day of filtered water to flush out toxins and extra salt from the system. Tap water contains chemicals such as fluoride and chlorine.  
  • Add garlic and turmeric to your meals. The key compound in turmeric, curcumin, assists the enzymes responsible for flushing out dietary carcinogens in the liver and garlic contains numerous sulfur-containing compounds that activate liver enzymes responsible for expelling toxins from the body.
  • Incorporate resistant starch to your meals e.g.cooked and cooled white rice, white potato or sweet potato. Their dietary fibre content can assist the breakdown and elimination of toxins in the body. 

4. Reduce your alcohol consumption: 

Regular consumption of alcohol is detrimental to your liver as it destroys the liver cells and adds to scarring of liver tissue. 

5. Add supportive supplements to your routine: 

  • Milk thistle or dandelion tea at 1-2 cups/day to promote liver activity. 
  • Diatomaceous earth (fossil shell powder) at 1 tablespoon/day in your smoothie to absorb harmful toxins. 

6. Reduce your toxin exposure: 

Avoid toxins present in processed foods, soaps, shampoos, make up, skin care, cleaning products, plastic containers, pesticides and aluminum cans. Consider a few swaps at a gradual pace.

 Avoid toxins present in processed foods, soaps, shampoos, make up, skin care, cleaning products, plastic containers, pesticides and aluminum cans. Consider a few swaps at a gradual pace.

If you’re needing some further support to improve your liver or overall health, please book in for a complimentary 15-minute consultation with one of us here at TNN. 

References:

  1. Michalopoulos K, 2007. Liver regeneration. Journal of Cellular Physiology. 213, 2, 286–300.
  2. Lavalle J, 2013. Your Blood Never Lies: How To Read a Blood Test for a Longer, Healthier Life’. Square One Publishers, New York, part 3, p. 149. 
  3. Woreta T, Unknown. Detoxing Your Liver: Fact Versus Fiction, Hopkin Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/detoxing-your-liver-fact-versus-fiction. Accessed 30 September 2019. 


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