Chances are, if you are experiencing sluggishness or prolonged periods of digestive problems, it may be time to give your liver some love.
The liver is the largest gland in the body and is located on the upper right side of your abdomen just below the diaphragm. It is essential for many metabolic functions, bile production and the filtering of fats, alcohol, drugs and other toxins from the system.
The liver has a big job and is often taken for granted or ignored. Prolonged use of medications, excess consumption of fatty foods and alcohol and exposure to environmental toxins can cause liver congestion.
This can lead to chronic fatigue, severe unexplained skin eruptions or a yellowing of the skin, called jaundice.
Whatever doesn’t get processed through your digestive system is often left to the liver. That means that any long-standing digestive or elimination issues may impair proper liver detoxification, which can lead to more serious complications such as, cirrhosis.
When the liver is slow moving, it can create issues with digestion due to decreased bile production and reduced ability to process carbohydrates and proteins, a vicious cycle.
Do a gentle, liver cleanse once per quarter
Milk Thistle is one of the best herbal remedies for the liver. It’s a powerful yet gentle cleanse that works by clearing the liver of excess fats and toxins. Think of it as the liver’s liver. There are several cleanses available at health food stores but it is wise to discuss appropriate dose parameters with a respected herbalist or naturopath.
Eat a liver-friendly diet
Foods high in vitamins and minerals contain many nutrients necessary for proper liver function. Include organic vegetables, leafy greens, fruit and sulfur containing foods like garlic and onions in your diet.
Dandelion is the best liver-detoxifying green vegetable. The increased fiber aids the digestive system by lessening the load on the liver. Reduce (preferably eliminate) fried fatty foods, animal fats, alcohol and non-essential drugs or chemicals. The more fat, alcohol and chemicals the liver has to process, the less energy it will have to spend on the essential metabolic functions.
Adding freshly squeezed lemon to a glass of water each morning will stimulate the production of bile and get the liver working. Lemon water helps flush any remnants of toxins from the night before.
Jess’s Love Your Liver Tonic:
This tonic is full of vitamins, minerals and cleansing properties that support healthy liver function. This can be part of your daily health regimen or can be incorporated into a gentle cleanse.
1 bunch organic dandelion greens
1 bunch organic kale
1/2 lemon (include peel if juicing, exclude if blending)
1 small clove of garlic
1 small beet
1 small piece of organic turmeric root*
1 medium apple
Juice these ingredients in the order listed in a juicer and enjoy. If you don’t have a juicer, blend the veggies with 2 cups of filtered water and strain in a nut milk bag or mesh sieve, if desired.
*Turmeric root is available at most Asian groceries
Jess Lewis-Peltier, ‘The Holistic Yogini‘ is a naturopath, biochemist, herbalist and yoga teacher living in southern California. Facebook Jess and follow her on Twitter.
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