Your liver is a multi-tasking super organ that takes on much of the “dirty work” of being human. Weighing in at just a few pounds, the liver nonetheless plays a huge role in keeping your healthy and well. You can help support your liver by making mindful choices about the food you eat, the medications you take, and the way you live your lifestyle. Give your liver some help, and it will give you plenty of support in return.
Functions of the Liver
One of the primary functions of the liver is to remove toxins from the blood. From actual poison, to excess medication or fats from processed food, the liver is where the body sorts out waste from much needed nutrition following digestion. When you eat a diet rich in fats, chemicals, alcohol, or other harmful substances in excess, this means your liver will have to work even harder at sorting out the good from the bad.
One of the ways that the liver carries out the cleansing process is by creating an important digestive liquid called bile. Bile, a yellowish, or even greenish substance, is what helps sweep toxins away from your bloodstream and into your waste. The liver creates between 700 to 1000 ml of bile every day, and two of the main functions of bile include breaking down excess fat and processing key vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E, and K.
And when the liver is not cleaning your blood and detoxifying your system, it’s also working hard to break down and store important nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and sugar. The liver, which also holds about 10 percent of the blood in your body at any given time, is capable of storing glycogen, a form of sugar that your body can use as a backup energy source when your glucose levels dip too low.
Simple Ways to Support Your Liver
Your liver is tasked with cleaning your system, breaking down vital nutrients, and storing those nutrients to ensure healthy body function. These are important jobs, but it’s easy for the liver to become overtaxed if your diet includes too much fat, processed food, or alcohol. And, while you risk major health problems if the liver starts to shut down, the liver is a “non-complaining” organ, which means that it’s rare to see any signs that anything is amiss until it is too late.
So, how can you best support your liver and ensure that this super powered organ stays in the best shape possible?
Start with your diet. Choose whole, or minimally processed foods, which include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and seafoods, and plenty of water. Keep a close eye on your alcohol consumption, and also stay on top of the number of over the counter or prescribed medications that you consume. Even certain foods that appear healthy, such as protein powders or bars, may put stress your liver since they contain a number of heavily processed ingredients that your liver must break down.
If a major shift in your diet feels overwhelming, start with 1-2 minimally processed days per week, and gradually work your way up to eating healthy, whole foods about 5 days per week.
You can still enjoy the indulgent foods you love, just stick to doing so only 1 or 2 days per week to give your liver a break.
In addition, recent research suggests that lemons can have a beneficial impact on liver function. Lemons have been shown to reduce inflammation and oxidation in the liver, which can help it stay healthy and functioning at its best. Enjoying a glass of hot water with fresh lemon before bed can help soothe our liver, while also delivering a potent does of vitamin C to our body, which can help boost our immune system and other vital body functions.
When you love your liver, your liver will love you right back. A healthy liver means efficient digestion, ample energy, and overall good health and vitality. Reduce the junk and feed your body the food it needs to stay well, and your liver will thank you for cutting it a much needed break!