Is there anything quite as sexy as a healthy liver? You may be thinking that I slipped on a banana peel in my kitchen; or perhaps I am feeling a bit “touched” right now from all the holidays, but I assure you that I am quite fine. It’s just that the liver is such an incredibly necessary part of a healthy body system, but people just don’t give it the love that it needs. Talking about your liver is about as goofy as telling someone you just met about the color of your poop. Um, yeah…it’s kinda weird!
The liver’s main function is to clear your blood of waste products, hormones, drugs and other toxins. It also aids in the digestion process by releasing bile salts to break down all those different foods that we love. It is an integral body system that is designed to work in harmony with all your other body systems. When your liver is not working correctly, it affects your health in all sorts of negative ways. Someone with liver problems may experience varying degrees of diarrhea, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, and even jaundice. More severe problems could be non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, alcohol-related liver disease, hepatitis, cirrhosis, and even cancer. The super cool thing about the liver is that it can actually regenerate itself, but that’s only if you don’t let liver troubles get too advanced. The tipping point is when healthy liver tissue is replaced with scarred, nonfunctional tissue. That is when any kind of regeneration will be difficult or nonexistent.
Personally, I like to think of the liver as a great big sponge. It is constantly working for you by digesting foods, making important proteins that that are secreted into the blood, and filtering out all the bad stuff that you ate, drank or were exposed to without even knowing about it.
Care and maintenance of your liver can be difficult, especially if you live a life that includes excessive alcohol, smoking, as well as all forms of drugs. Other problems come from too much soda, chemically treated produce, and meat and dairy products that were brought up on poor quality or genetically modified foods. We also live in a time where it is very customary to slather chemicals on our bodies, not giving a thought to what might actually be in the products that we are using. On top of that, many of us live in homes that are filled with toxic chemicals that we don’t even think about. Furniture and carpeting are made with incredible amounts of chemicals that makes them fire retardant. Every time you sit down, these chemicals puff up out of the furniture and settle in your house somewhere. These same chemicals can be found in your insulation and carpet padding as well, so you can’t help but be exposed to them. Unless you make the conscious decision to buy safe, non-toxic products, retailers are standing by, happily providing you with whatever toxic stuff their store happens to sell.
So what can a person do to keep their liver in optimum health? It’s not too hard to make changes that affect the health of your liver, but they take a commitment from you. The liver is an organ that works hard, so you have to think about it in terms of needing breaks throughout the day; and every now and then, you might think about giving it a day off of work.
- Upon rising, drink an 8-oz. glass of warm water with the juice of 1/2 to one full fresh lemon. Do it before your coffee and breakfast. This amazing concoction will help balance pH, aid in digestion and elimination, help your immune system, and it hydrate your lymph system. It is a simple thing that will take a few minutes of your time, but it will make a huge difference in your life.
- Reduce your alcohol intake. When alcohol reaches the liver, it produces a toxic enzyme called acetaldehyde, which can damage liver cells and cause permanent scarring. It also harms the brain and stomach lining.
- Eat liver friendly foods like broccoli, oats, salmon, almonds, blueberries, grapefruit, lemons, kidney beans, tea, soybeans, spinach, pumpkin, and vegetable juices.
- Add herbs to your foods. Milk thistle, dandelion root, burdock root, artichoke, and turmeric can all help to detox the liver assisting enzymes flush out dietary carcinogens.
- Drink your meals. Give your liver a break by drinking fresh juices for a meal, or even a day.
- Drink 6-8 glasses of fresh water each day.
- Take a detox bath. Add two cups of epsom salt and a few drops of essential oil to your very hot bath. Soak in it for 20 minutes, while you meditate and tell you liver to “smile,” because you love it! God bless!