The liver is the most extraordinary organ. It is the body’s second largest organ after the skin. If you cut a piece of the liver off, it will actually regenerate itself! This simply amazes me.
This incredible organ has so many important functions, such as producing bile for the digestion of fats; assisting the immune system by clearing bacteria as well as storing certain vitamins and minerals. The most widely known function of the liver though is DETOXIFICATION.
Detoxification and elimination is a vital process to get rid of “pollution” from certain foods we eat, pesticides and herbicides, pollution in the air we breathe, chemicals we put on our skin and home care products. All these things in our modern world need to be processed and eliminated by the liver.
There are also substances that the body makes itself, like estrogen and cholesterol, in both men and women that must be changed and detoxified by the liver before leaving the body. As you can see, the liver has a very big job to do and plays a pivotal role in our overall health, energy and performance.
When we overload our liver with too many ‘toxins’, the process of detoxification is compromised. This in turn affects hormone balance and energy levels, disease prevention and whether you burn fat or store it.
The main liver loaders include:
· Sugars including fructose and sucrose
· Trans fats
· Synthetic substances like medications and pesticides
· Infections such as glandular fever, Epstein Barr virus
I hate being the fun police, but I just ask you to think about how things like caffeine and alcohol affect you. In our heart of hearts, we know when we are having too much. Does coffee make your heart race? Or perhaps you can’t go to the bathroom without it? Are you dependent on that glass of wine or two at the end of each day? Start to get in touch with how these are really affecting you and how you might be able to cut back on things like caffeine, alcohol and sugar. If you feel like you simply cannot live without coffee/alcohol/sugar, then it’s probably time you have a good two week break!
Decreasing or removing the liver loaders in your life will significantly improve your health and vitality. As much it is necessary to limit or remove certain food and beverages when it comes to liver function, I’m all for adding foods in to your diet!
Here are some simple tips to add in to your everyday life:
· Wake up with a glass of warm water and ½ lemon or 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. This stimulates the liver, assisting the removal of toxins, aids digestion and alkalizes the body.
· Eat your brassica veggies! Load up on broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussel sprouts. They provide nutrients essential for the liver detox pathways.
· Greens, greens, greens – Green veg are needed to provide antioxidants used by the liver in phase 1 detoxification. Add a couple of handfuls of greens to every meal. Spinach in smoothies, sautéed kale with eggs, silverbeet in stir-fries, snack on celery and cucumber sticks.
· Spice up your food with cayenne pepeper, turmeric and cinnamon! These are all great liver cleansers.
· Drink plenty of water and herbal teas – try lemon & ginger, green, licorice or lemongrass. Aim for 2-3L of water and herbal tea per day
· Add carrot and beetroot to your meals and smoothies; or make a juice with beetroot, carrot, lemon and ginger – the ultimate liver cleansing juice. Yum!
Love you liver and in return, it will give you the very best of health, vitality, recovery and performance!
LIVER CLEANSING ABC JUICE
· 1 small apple
· 1 beetroot, cut into quarters
· 5 carrots
· 2 small lemons
· knob of ginger
Juice all ingredients and serve immediately