Healthy Liver, Thriving Life: Vital Tips for Liver Health

A healthy liver is vitally important. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the liver is labelled the ‘General’ of the body’s ‘Army’ of organs. This is because it carries out so many critical processes for good health.

The liver undertakes hundreds of essential jobs. For example, it detoxes and purifies the blood, converting the toxins into harmless substances. It also facilitates the removal of other toxins from the body. The liver converts the nutrients from food into substances the body can use. It then stores them ready to supply the cells when needed. A healthy liver plays a vital role in the body’s metabolic processes. It breaks down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. It also performs multiple other critical functions needed to keep all the ‘soldiers’ in the body working well by letting them know what to do and where to go.

In short, a happy, healthy liver is vital for a happy, healthy body. On the other hand, a sluggish, overworked, and malfunctioning liver will affect every other organ in the body and overall blood quality. Ensuring the liver has all the support it needs is critical to keeping well and having vibrant energy.

Easy ways to help support a healthy liver

A straightforward way to assist your liver function is to have a cup of warm water with freshly squeezed lemon juice added first thing in the morning. This drink will wake up the liver and help stimulate and flush it out. Then, throughout the day, drink plenty of pure water. The liver needs water to cleanse and purify the blood; dehydration can adversely affect this process.

Certain teas can also provide additional support. For example, peppermint tea helps with digestion and detoxing. Green tea, which is high in antioxidants, can help reduce lipid accumulation.

The herb milk thistle is renowned for general liver support and can be beneficial for inflammation and damage. Whilst it won’t protect against excessive drinking, a few drops of the tincture in a glass of water before and after a ‘party night’ can give added liver protection and may even help with that morning-after feeling.

Boost your glutathione levels

The liver naturally produces glutathione, which is considered the body’s master antioxidant. This antioxidant is so significant that many natural health practitioners now consider glutathione levels to be a better indication of general health than many more popularly used markers. Consequently, foods and supplements that boosts glutathione production can help promote a healthy liver and overall health.

Several studies have shown that curcumin has liver-protecting benefits and can enhance the body’s natural antioxidant system. These benefits, in turn, help increase glutathione levels, thereby contributing to liver detoxification and inhibiting damaging nitrosamine formation.

Some human and animal studies have found that eating sulphur-rich brassica vegetables may increase glutathione levels. Allium vegetables, including garlic, shallots and onions, can also boost the levels. Foods naturally high in glutathione, such as avocados, spinach, pears, and okra, may also be beneficial.

Eating your way to a healthy liver

‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ is an adage that has some roots in truth. Apples are a fruit that the liver loves. The malic acid opens the liver ducts, allowing the liver to flush toxins more efficiently. In addition, pectin helps the digestive system release toxins, thereby reducing the liver’s toxic load.

Washing fruit and vegetables thoroughly and avoiding pesticides and other toxins as much as possible is essential to avoid overloading the liver.

Some of the best foods for a healthy liver include cruciferous vegetables. These include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale. Other foods that support the organ and help improve bile flow include beets, artichokes, and dandelion leaves. Olive oil, although a fat, is a healthy one and has been shown to decrease the levels of fat in the liver.

Carrots contain beta-carotene, which is converted into the powerful antioxidant Vitamin A by the liver, where it is stored and ready to be used to support cell growth, immune function, foetal development, and vision. Ginger can also help repair liver damage, so a carrot and ginger juice would be a good combination for a healthy liver support drink.

Alpha lipoic acid can help support the liver. It has been shown to have a powerful antioxidant effect on fatty liver and induce liver regeneration by inhibiting apoptosis (cell death). Some studies have even shown it to affect liver fibrosis positively.

A good quality broad spectrum multi-vitamin and mineral supplement is also an excellent choice to help give the body, including the liver, the nutrients it needs, especially when there is limited access to fresh vegetables and fruit.

And finally…

A healthy liver will reap benefits from not being overloaded by alcoholic consumption, unhealthy fats, processed foods, and sugars. Plenty of fresh air, exercise, and quality sleep keep glutathione levels high and help the liver sustain a healthy body and mind.

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