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The liver is a vitally important organ responsible for multiple metabolic and digestive functions. One of the most important roles of the liver is to detoxify the body by converting toxins into less harmful forms and eliminating them from our body. An under functioning liver can manifest as symptoms including digestive issues, irregular fat metabolism, hormonal imbalance, malabsorption of nutrients, a weakened immune system and can cause neurological effects such as fatigue and poor concentration. It is therefore so important to love our livers and give then the tools they need to keep us healthy and happy. Here are a handful of ways you can love your liver daily
- Eat foods from the Brassica family. Think broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, collard greens, cabbage, kale and bok choy. Compounds found in these vegetables, most notably broccoli and Brussel sprouts, have the ability to boost the detoxifying enzymes in our liver.
- Include garlic in your meals. Garlic is a power house of beneficial compounds for the body. It has the ability to enhance phase II liver detoxification and increases the synthesis of the important liver antioxidant glutathione.
- Ensure you are eating enough protein – essential amino acids obtained from protein are vital for optimal liver function and detoxification pathways.
- Add liver loving herbs and spices such as sage, turmeric, rosemary and cumin to your cooking to boost phase I and phase II liver detoxification. It’s an easy and delicious way to give your liver a helping hand.
- Increase dietary fibre to improve gastrointestinal function and reduce the load on the liver. The gastrointestinal system is an important elimination system. If it isn’t excreting toxins effectively then those toxins are reabsorbed to be dealt with by the liver. Along with dietary fibre, probiotics and prebiotics will also promote healthy functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.
- Prioritise your sleep. I talk about sleep time and time again because it is just so important to our health. A study in the Journal of Anatomy found that sleep deprivation is linked to oxidative stress of the liver and metabolic disease. Aim for roughly 8 hours of sleep a night.
- Reduce your chemical load. We are exposed to a scary number of chemicals on any given day and our livers are left to clean up the mess. Chemical exposure comes from multiples sources including cosmetic and beauty products, cleaning products, chemical pesticides in our food, medications, food packaging and the list goes on and on. Try to minimise this exposure as much possible by choosing natural personal care products, using BPA free drink bottles and food containers, and buying organic fruit and vegetables. If you are stuck on where to start, websites like EWG offer fantastic guides on everything from healthy cleaning products to chemical free insect repellants.