Supporting Your Liver

It can be easy to minimize the importance of the liver in our overall health because we can’t see it and we may not even recognize the signals our body is giving us that it’s overloaded.  Your liver works hard to process everything you breathe, eat, drink, and put on your skin, yes, even your personal care products like deodorant and lotion. In all it has about 500 functions!

The liver is such an important organ to support, and you can do this with food and herbs (and of course, don’t forget water).

9 signs your liver may be overloaded

  • Chronic acne, boils, and other skin eruptions/rashes
  • PMS
  • Facial hair growth in women
  • Digestive problems
  • Nausea, especially after eating
  • Alcohol &/or caffeine highly affect you
  • Constipation &/or diarrhea
  • Pale colored stool
  • Excessive allergies

Some foods to consider:

  • Beets are hepatoprotective (which means protects liver). They are great roasted, juiced, or even shredded and used in a salad with chopped green apples toasted walnuts with a little vinegar, honey, and salt dressing.
  • Carrots contain a lot of betacarotene, which reduces oxidative damage and inflammation. I always buy organic carrots and they can be bought in bulk, especially juicing carrots which means they aren’t very pretty and some are likely broken. I still grate or chop these and cook them.
  • Fresh fruits also contain antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin B. B vitamins can run low in a person with a compromised liver. Berries are especially helpful fruits – grow your own, forage in clean areas without pesticides/herbicides, or purchase from a local farm that does not spray their fruit
  • All organic leafy greens and vegetables will support the liver detox pathways. If you do not want to purchase organic, then at least stay away from Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen”

Herbs

  • Silybum marianum / Milk thistle seed: antioxidant, hepatoprotective, helps prevent toxins from entering and damaging liver cells as well as stimulates regeneration. This is the number one liver protecting herb and should be taken as freshly ground seed or in standardized capsule form.
  • Centella asiatica / Gotu Kola: a very popular herb in Ayurvedic medicine (India). It was studied in the 1970s and found to have some use to prevent cirrhosis. It’s also a great tonic for the nerves.
  • Taraxacum officinale / Dandelion: a very gentle herb for liver support and easy to access. It’s super simple to forage, dry, and use in an infusion.
  • Green tea: antioxidant and has been shown to protect the liver against damage from drugs
  • Turmeric, rosemary and celery seed are herbs you can usually find in your kitchen or kitchen garden and add wonderful aroma and flavor to your food.

A few things to remove or minimize

  • Smoking, excessive barbequing/smoking meat, smoke from a fire pit, fireplace, or woodstove (or a forest fire causing smoke in the air)
  • Plastics – water bottles, plastic storage containers – try relying on glass containers for food storage
  • Non-stick/teflon pots and pans
  • Toxic lawn and garden care products
  • Household cleaners
  • Personal care products (check EWG.org for lists of healthier options)
  • Decrease EMF & radiation exposure – WiFi, cell phone, microwaves, X-rays
  • Excessive alcohol
  • NSAIDs – especially acetaminophen

Other activities like baths, saunas, castor oil packs, and drinking water, water, water are other ways to support the work of your liver on a daily basis.

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