Do you ever feel as though you want a health overhaul? Need to clear your skin? Feel blah? Low on energy? Focusing on your liver could be just what you need! And with the busiest part of the year ahead of us (parties, drinking and way too much pudding) there’s a few things that may be able to help you feel fabulous throughout the entire length of the silly season…
Our liver is pretty incredible. It sits just behind the ribs in the upper right hand side of your abdomen and it’s also the body’s second largest organ (after our skin) which makes it one of the most important, yet we hardly talk about it!
Why you should love your liver…
- It filters through everything we eat and what we absorb through our skin
- It regulates the fat we eat
- Helps balance our hormones
- It’s a natural detoxifyer
- Filters our blood
- Makes proteins and cholesterol
- Assists in our digestion too
It’s pretty amazing all the things the liver does… It even has an incredible ability to function even if part of it is diseased. It can also regenerate and create new liver tissue if needed. Your liver always has your back constantly battling bad guys so it’s our job to make sure we’re not overloading it. It’s main role is to get rid of toxins and metabolise drugs (things such as prescription medications, panadol, the pill, alcohol, caffeine) and when we take a lot of these substances daily (now that they’re so readily available to us) it’s easy to appreciate the strain and load your liver can take on at times.
Detoxification: the lowdown
The liver works tirelessly all day every day to detoxify the body and it does this via two phases. Phase I is where it takes fat soluble toxins, and phase II metabolises them through 6 difference stages to water soluble waste products which is then eliminated through the body. You can imagine, if the liver is overburdened with toxins, drugs, processed foods, chemicals and fats (such as trans fats which are not good for the body) these phases can get congested, stuck, pushed through the wrong route and be metabolised completely differently. Because the body is always naturally detoxifying, it can be confusing to know whether to take on cleanses, detox programs and gimmicky pills that promise to rev up your body’s ability to detoxify. The thing is, while many of these programs can be restrictive and expensive, many of the right ones incorporate foods and ingredients that your body can use to detoxify correctly, if it happens to be blocked.
Liver loving nutrients
Caring for your liver is so easy once you know how it functions and what can over burden it. The two major detox phases that take place use specific nutrients that allow it to do its job smoothly and healthily. Including these wholesome weapons into your body each day will have a cascade effect on your whole body. Not only will your liver love you, your whole body will be reaping the benefits.
Phase I liver loving nutrients:
- b vitamins: these can be found in eggs, bananas, yogurt, milk, wholegrain cereals, green leafy vegetables & animal protein.
- folic acid: I always liken folic acid to ‘foliage’ if it’s green and leafy, it will no doubt have folic acid in it. It can also be found in beans, legumes, citrus fruits and whole grains.
- glutathione: found in particularly fruits and vegetables such as asparagus, spinach, garlic, avocado, squash, zucchini, potatoes, melons, grapefruit, strawberries, and peaches.
- antioxidants: found in berries, beans, artichoke, prunes, apples and green tea.
- carotenoids: can be found in carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, kale, dark leafy greens and tomatoes.
- vitamin E: is in rich in foods such as sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, pumpkin, mango and avocado.
- vitamin C: citrus fruits, guava, pineapple, kiwi fruit, capsicum (peppers), strawberries, dark green vegetables, melons, papaya and brussels sprouts.
Phase II liver loving nutrients:
- glutamine: an amino acid found in meat, poultry fish, seafood, dairy products, cabbage and eggs.
- glycine: an amino acid the body can make on its own, glycine can be found in many high-protein foods such as fish, meat, dairy, soybeans, spinach, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, pumpkin, banana, kiwi fruit, cucumber and beans.
- taurine: an amino acid found in cheese, milk, oats, pork, dark chocolate, eggs, turkey, chicken and avocado.
- cysteine: an amino acid found in pork poultry, eggs, dairy, capsicum (peppers), garlic, onions, broccoli, brussels sprout, oats, granola, wheat germ, sprouted lentils.
- cruciferous vegetables: such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale and cabbage
So what are you waiting for! Love you liver today with a few little loving nutrients…