With the silly season just around the corner, it’s more important than ever to take extra care of your liver!
What’s the liver all about anyway?
The liver is responsible for detoxifying and breaking down substances such as alcohol, drugs, metabolic waste and chemicals, so that they can be excreted by the body. The liver is also responsible for metabolising proteins, carbohydrates and lipids into biologically useful materials for the body. It plays an active role in the digestive process via the production of bile, which is produced by hepatocytes.
How will you know if your liver is not doing so well? You will likely be experience one or more of the following symptoms!
- Hormonal imbalances
- Lack of appetite
- Light coloured stool
- Alcohol intolerance
- Sensitivity to fruit and fatty foods
- Depressive mood
- Abdominal bloating
- Bad breath
- Skin complaints
What can I do to make sure my liver survives this Christmas (and beyond)?
Below are a few examples of liver specific naturopathic herbs. Be sure to visit a Naturopath so that you’re prescribed an individualised herbal formula specifically for you!
Silymarin, the active constituent of milk thistle acts as an antioxidant in the body, by reducing lipid peroxidation and free radical production, it may also inhibit the binding of toxins to the hepatocyte cell membrane receptors as it acts as a toxin blockade agent.
Beneficial for liver, gallbladder and kidney function. Dandelion promotes liver detoxification by encouraging bile production, which helps to alleviate congestion and inflammation.
A major hepatoprotective herb! Schisandra helps to promote enzyme production, improves antioxidant activity and boosts circulation in the liver. It is indicated to enhance phase 1 and 2 liver detoxification and beneficial in the treatment of chronic liver damage.
DIET & LIFESTYLE
Kick start your day with the juice of half a lemon in a glass of warm water. This promotes the detoxifying process by encouraging bile production in the liver.
These are essential in the detoxification in the liver! Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, rocket, bok choy, brussel sprouts, horseradish, kale, collards and watercress are some examples of cruciferous vegetables. These vegetables have a high glucosinolate content and when this is broken down through chewing and digestion, an enzyme called mironase is activated, converting the glucosinolates into indole-3-carbinol. It is the indol-3-carbinol that gives these vegetables their strong detoxification effect.
Loaded with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, leafy greens help to detoxify and repair the liver while increasing levels of glutathione, a peptide consisting of amino acids that play a variety imperative roles in the body.
Reduces inflammation, improves liver function and detoxification, promotes blood circulation and protects the liver against oxidative stress.
Cleaning and detoxification of the liver can be helped simply by increasing your water intake. Adequate hydration is essential for most liver functions and is required to dissolve various nutrients and to encourage blood circulation.
Daily exercise is imperative when it comes to liver health and detoxification! When you move your body, your blood flow improves and oxygen is delivered to all the major organs, such as your liver. This is vital for the repair and detoxifying process of the liver.
Written By: Emma Brooker
Naturopathy combines traditional herbal medicine with nutrition to help you heal and thrive.