With the constant bombardment of a huge array of chemicals ranging from food, water, cleaning products, gardening products, cosmetics, skin care products, perfumes and personal hygiene, the importance of supporting liver function cannot be underestimated in the world we live in today. And we haven’t even mentioned drugs and alcohol yet!
It is absolutely essential to look after our liver as it performs many roles within the body. It produces bile to aid in the digestion of fats, regulates cholesterol and triglyceride levels, converts many drugs and natural medicines into a useable form, processes toxins, waste products, drugs and hormones so that they can easily be excreted from the body and stores glucose in the form of glycogen to be used for energy, just to name a few!
One of the main causes for liver dysfunction is alcohol. If we consume too much alcohol or consume it too quickly, our liver cells struggle to process it. When alcohol reaches the liver, it produces a toxic enzyme called acetaldehyde which can damage liver cells and cause permanent scarring. The liver also requires water to do its job effectively. Alcohol acts as a diuretic in the body and as such, dehydrates and forces the body to find water from other sources. Regular and heavy drinking over time can strain or upset the way alcohol is metabolised which can lead to alcoholic liver disease.
One of the first things we can do to ensure optimal liver function is to reduce the chemical load on the body. The worst offenders in our diet include fatty foods, alcohol, caffeine and artificial additives such as colourings, flavourings and antioxidants (not the naturally occurring ones). Avoid as much as possible, highly processed foods, those than contain excessive sugar, fats or artificial additives. Where possible use organically grown food but if this is not easy to access, make sure you wash it well. Consume plenty of fruits and vegetables which are high in naturally occurring antioxidants. Also include a variety of whole grains, nuts and seeds in your diet which are high in B vitamins and many minerals. Drink plenty of filtered water to help your body flush out toxins.
Reduce chemical exposure by reducing chemicals around the home. Instead of using a vast array of cleaning products which contain toxic chemicals, choose more natural options such as bicarb soda or vinegar. Also avoid using pharmaceutical drugs as much as possible and do not combine the use of Paracetamol and alcohol. When it comes to choosing your cosmetics, toothpaste or any personal hygiene product, always choose the natural options as your skin can easily absorb the toxins contained within the products.
Three final simple tricks to optimise liver health:
- Start each morning with 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar with a glass of water to kick-start your liver function, detoxification and stimulate digestion for the day.
- Supplement with chlorella which is a type of algae containing a high nutrient level. It promotes alkalinity within the body and has the ability to bind to toxins such as heavy metals and chemicals and pulls them out of the body.
- Have lots of turmeric as it supports liver detoxification. It is also a great anti-inflammatory, lowers cholesterol, is anti-carcinogenic and an antioxidant.