Body detox and the Liver
As the liver is the main detoxification organ in our body, if we do not take care of our liver, it can give rise to a host of health problems such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis. The liver checks through every substance that enters the body and removes any toxins from the substances like cigarette smoke, alcohol, artificial food additives, contaminants in water we drink and air we breathe in, and chemicals produced in the body from emotional stress. All these chemical assault force the liver to work harder than it’s designed to handle and once it becomes overburdened or when it is not well looked after, the toxins start to accumulate and bring disaster to our body.
The liver is a special organ that receives a double blood supply and can grow back parts that are damaged by illnesses or injuries. Among its over five hundred functions, the liver can convert food and their protein and carbohydrate elements into essential nutrients, create metabolic enzymes from protein, change toxins into harmless chemicals, and provide quick energy (from extra blood and glycogen) at any time.
In addition, it also produces bile, an important fluid that aids in the detoxification process by transporting toxins in our bodies for removal. The liver will first break down substances that can damage body tissues and cells, as well as clean out parasites, fungi, viruses and allergens from our blood. Once these toxins are disintegrated, the bile carries them to the intestines where they are absorbed by fiber and then excreted. This is one of the explanations why diet high in fiber is important for an efficient body detox process.
However, our present lifestyle and diet include foods with chemicals or preservatives, and exposure to many other dangerous toxins, which means a lot of filtering work for our liver. This causes the liver to not being able to identify certain man-made toxins, which are then kept inside the body and subsequently result in health problems. At the same time because of the sheer work the liver is undergoing, some toxins do not get properly eliminated. Research has also discovered that an over-worked liver can actually change a toxic substance into an even more harmful toxin!
Signs of a compromised liver include muscle and joint pain, sluggishness, feeling tired after having meals, changes in one’s own mood, headaches, high cholesterol, hormonal imbalances, headaches, allergies, skin disorders, depression, constipation and many other physical ailments.
Because an overworked liver does not efficiently remove poison from the blood, these toxins tend to escape through the skin, which result in rashes, itches, acne and psoriasis. Also, being an important part of the body’s immune system, when the liver becomes sluggish, one can experience a higher frequency of flus, sinus, colds as well as suffer from asthma and chemical sensitivity. Furthermore, the liver helps regulate metabolism so one can expect to have a balanced weight if the liver is healthy.
Liver diseases like cirrhosis, hepatitis and jaundice kill more than 35,000 Americans per year. People who stay in over-polluted areas or have jobs that involve solvents, pesticides or industrial chemicals can be at risk from suffering these diseases. Others who drink alcohol regularly or use recreational drugs, steroids, hormone replacement therapy and aspirin can overburden their livers.
Diet also plays an important function in maintaining a healthy liver. If your diet contains or lacks the following, your liver health may be compromised:
- too much refined carbohydrates, processed foods, improperly absorbed protein;
- alcohol, fried foods, sugar;
- little vegetables;
- insufficient fiber;
- absence of essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals; or
- eating quickly or when stressed.
You can take the following steps to help your liver stay healthy and work at its optimum level.
- Drink as much pure water as possible.
- Eat more green vegetables, especially bitter greens. They contain nutrients that help in overall detoxification. Try to include a salad dressing of olive oil and lemon juice for liver health.
- Include more raw and steamed vegetables such as cabbage, daikon radish and broccoli – they have anti-cancer and liver-supporting phytonutrients.
- Cook dishes with fresh herbs like dill and rosemary – ensure that your food also contain essential fatty acids.
- Buy more organic than processed food.
- Exercise more regularly.
- Have more fresh organic fruit so as to reduce sugar intake.
Altogether, if you care deeply for your liver, detox your body with a liver cleansing program once in a while and you will feel so much better and healthier!