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My Liver Is My Bestie

Why should we take care of our liver?

We hammer the s#@t out of it without a second thought, yet it plays a vital role in carrying out hundreds of functions within the body. The most important of these would have to be the removal of toxins.

She’s a big beast! The liver is the body’s second largest organ and is located in the right upper abdomen.

Detoxification alll dayyy errryyydayyy…

Detoxification is an essential 24/7 process of transforming and removing harmful substances from the body. 

Although resilient, if the liver gets hurt the elimination of toxins becomes difficult. Therefore, when toxins cannot be safely excreted they begin to accumulate, impacting our health.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs she needs some loving:

  • low energy and tiredness
  • irritability/bad temper (‘liverish’)
  • frequent headaches
  • anaemia
  • skin imperfections
  • rashes
  • inability to shift body fat
  • poor sleep
  • darkness under the eyes
  • high blood cholesterol
  • digestive concerns (including constipation, bloating and abdominal pain)
  • hormonal imbalances –  premenstrual syndrome (PMS); clotty menstruation

Signs you have a happy liver pal:

  • increased energy
  • clearer skin
  • menstrual cycle regularity with reduced PMS
  • healthy sinuses
  • less infections + robust immunity
  • fewer digestive complaints
  • improved bowel function
  • fresher breath and improved oral health
  • a positive mood + sharper mind

So many reasons to take good care of your liver, right?!

Liver loaders

The Medical Medium Anthony William says that the liver gets bogged down by toxins, and the over-consumption of protein and fat.

“Liver Loaders” to be reduced or avoided where possible:

  • alcohol
  • caffeine
  • ‘trans fats’
  • refined sugars
  • synthetic substances (pesticides, medications, skin-care/cosmetics)
  • household chemicals (air fresheners, perfume/cologne, hairspray, scented candles, hair dye, and conventional makeup/cleaning products/laundry detergent).
  • eggs and dairy feed pathogenic viruses and bacteria; encouraging liver toxicity

You don’t necessarily need to be exposing yourself to liver loaders – the liver can still become ‘junked up’.

Recirculating cholesterol, oestrogen, and poor digestion/constipation/dysbiosis can congest the liver if the process to remove these substances is compromised. Over-eating also places a burden on the liver.

Help a liver out

What we choose to eat impacts the liver’s ability to do its job – it is important to choose mostly whole foods, including plenty of plant foods, so the liver get the nutrients it needs. Specific foods and herbs further aid the liver, particularly bitter ones.

Dr Libby’s favourites:

Turmeric…

Assists in the metabolism of cholesterol and oestrogen so it is not recycled within the bloodstream. 

Dandelion root…

Very bitter and can be used as a coffee substitute. Helpful in maintaining effective bile flow within the liver. 

St Mary’s Thistle (milk thistle)…

An excellent anti-inflammatory. It aids the lymphatic system and assists in healthy cholesterol balance. Stimulates bile production and defends the liver from long-term damage caused by alcohol and synthetic substances such as medications. Milk Thistle also helps to regenerate damaged liver cells.

Brassica vegetables…

These are: broccoli, broccoli sprouts, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale. Containing unique substances which get converted into the potent detoxifier and anti-cancer superstar, sulforaphane. These support optimal functioning of the liver, mostly via effective oestrogen metabolism. This is beneficial for the prevention of disease, improved thyroid function, greater energy, efficient use of body fat as a fuel, clearer skin and improved mood.

Leafy green vegetables…

Your liver loves phytonutrients and leafy greens are packed full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Do your liver and entire body a favour and make them part of your daily diet.

Other foods to support the liver:

The Medical Medium makes recommendations in his book Liver Rescue (and on his blog), regarding food and supplementation to assist the liver. Foods to include in a liver-loving-diet: apples, apricots, ginger, asparagus, dulse/kelp, bananas, berries, celery, and tomatoes.

The Medical Medium is also a proponent of fruit breakfasts, or fruit through to midday, excluding all fats, for gentle liver cleansing. This could be as a fruit mono-meal, fruit salad, smoothies made with water/coconut water, or fresh pressed juices.

A TCM perspective

Traditional Chinese Medicine utilises a body clock – times of day that correspond with the body’s organs. 1am-3am is the liver time. If you are consistently waking between these hours it is time to focus on your liver health. It is crucial to sleep soundly during these hours so the liver can do its work, preparing for a big day of toxin-clearing ahead.

My experience

After 10 plus years of chronic eczema on my hands, I now only get it mildly on occasion – usually August/September when the pollen starts or in times of significant stress. I credit a year of eating a high carb (high fruit) low fat, whole food plant based diet with getting my chronic eczema under control. This alongside active liver and gut support via herbs and supplements.

Superfeast faves

Schizandra is the ultimate.  It not only gently cleanses the liver; but improves skin condition, relieves stress, supports sound sleep, and aids the respiratory system. You can buy Schizandra here.

MSM is an organic sulphur compound beneficial for gentle liver cleansing, skin, hair, nails and joints. You can purchase MSM here.

Reishi supports and protects the liver, promotes restful sleep, supports the cardiovascular system, improves energy levels, and relieves stress. You can buy Reishi here.

Other favourites

Three supplements that assist the liver are N-acetyl cysteine, glutathione and milk thistle capsules.

NZ made Harker Herbal tonics – Intestinal Cleanse + Liver Tonic are a beautiful pair – although some struggle with the bitterness of the Intestinal Cleanse!

Artemis and Heke Herbals both have excellent liver teas; loaded with much-needed minerals.

Emotional release

Do not underestimate the emotional component of nursing the liver back to health. Discovering healing modalities to free yourself from anger, resentment and that feeling of being “stuck”, will help significantly. Yin yoga has been a huge support for me.

You’ve got this!

I know how life-enhancing it has been for me since I began consciously nurturing my liver, and I wish you the very best in your liver-loving journey. Remember to seek the advice of your health care practitioner before commencing any supplements or making major dietary changes. 

Always a pleasure,

Hannah xx

 

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