To help put in perspective just how important the liver is to your health is a hard task, in short everything we eat, breathe and absorb is then detoxified and broken down by the liver. Just from this one statement you could imagine how hard the liver is working so we can start to understand why we need to look after it.
Besides the major task of detoxing the body it also helps manage blood sugar levels by turning the carbohydrates we eat into glucose, so our body can use it as energy. When we have too much glucose it is then stored as glycogen which can then be used later on, so our body is always fuelled.
A range of causes can prevent the liver from performing its major tasks. The main causes include;
- Fat accumulation – such as obesity
- Alcohol misuse
- Viral infections – such as hepatitis
- Iron and copper accumulation
- Toxic effects of medication
- Conditions leading to liver cell and/ or bile duct damage.
So what is the best way to support our liver?
- Removal of triggers
As you already know water is the most important thing for our health and is a key intervention when we think about our health and wellbeing as it not only going to hydrate us, but it also promotes blood circulation so the body can dissolve nutrients. In addition an adequate intake of water encourages metabolism, promotes secretion of bile and also aids the process of digestion, absorption, and excretion of waste.
A well-balanced diet is critically important for liver health. For your daily dietary intake you do not want to restrict ourselves too much, to avoid deficiencies, but always ensure everything in moderation. You need to make sure you are consuming enough fruits and vegetables daily, especially for liver health. Try bitters foods like;
- Citrus fruits
- Brussels sprouts
By eating these bitter foods, it encourages the production of gastrin, a hormone which controls digestive functions such as the product of stomach acids, pancreatic enzymes and bile. Bile is a digestive juice which helps break down fat in food, allowing us to absorb fat soluble vitamins like Vitamins A, D, E and K.
Other foods to consider are fatty fish, nuts, seeds and coffee. They play a role in the function of the liver. In certain studies coffee has shown to decrease the amount of abnormal liver enzymes. The addition of omega 3 fatty acids from fish, nuts and seeds have also shown to reduce inflammation in the liver as well as decrease ‘bad’ fat levels.
Besides hydration and diet you should look to reduce the consumption of triggers, like alcohol, processed sugars, fried foods, salt, red meat, and refined carbohydrates like white bread, rice and pasta as they contain high levels of saturated fat which allows fat build up in the liver and also cause spikes in blood sugar levels.