Maintaining a healthy liver is vital to sustaining overall good health. Various medical circles acknowledge that the liver is the second most important bodily organ after the heart. This is due to the fact that the liver performs a significant number of essential bodily functions that help facilitate the following:
(a.) blood circulation;
(e.) hormone regulation; and
(f.) formation of important compounds such as glycogen, urea, serum albumin and blood clotting factors
Damage to the liver may be aggravated by stress, poor diet, and over-medication, all of which have become common problems in today’s fast-paced lifestyle. A sluggish liver inevitably results from this and manifests itself through poor memory, fatigue, sleeping difficulties, thyroid problems, obesity and even emotional and mental distress.
Western and Eastern medical practices have both attached great importance to the liver. In the annals of Chinese traditional medicine for example, the liver is recognized as one of the organs heavily involved in the aging process. Nearly all longevity tonics used in Chinese medicine target the liver and the kidneys. This is due to the age-old understanding that a clean and healthy liver in tandem with healthy kidneys are keys to clean blood. Clean blood results in smoother circulation that further leads to a greater ability to carrying and delivering oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body.
A pro-active approach to helping preserve one’s optimum liver function and preventing the onset of ailments associated with impaired and damaged liver may be as easy as incorporating the right kinds of food into the diet. Here are some food items that may help contribute to a healthy liver.
This leafy green vegetable possesses extremely high amounts of chlorophyll, the substance that gives its dark green pigment. Chlorophyll is believed to help absorb the environmental toxins floating in the blood stream. These are also thought to help neutralize metals, pesticides and chemicals in the system, thereby helping in liver cleansing efforts. Other green vegetables are likewise great liver-friendly foods.
This popular everyday fruit has copious amounts of pectin, a chemical constituent that helps enable the body to clean up waste materials from the digestive tract. This, in turn, helps the liver better able to dispose of toxic load during the cleansing process.
This citrus fruit contains substantial amounts of vitamin C, which helps the body synthesize toxins into substances that can be absorbed by water and easily disposed off through perspiration and urination, thus helping lighten the liver’s load. Lemon also aids in stimulating the liver. Take this as juice, or spike your water with a slice for an alkaline drink.
Milk Thistle Tea
An infusion made from the seeds of the milk thistle plant is believed to help protect liver cells against toxins. The active ingredient of the seed is called silymarin and this substance has been found to possess hepatoprotective qualities that shield the liver from the ravages of different extraneous factors.
Including small helpings of this pungent herb into one’s savory dishes may help activate liver enzymes that may aid the body in flushing out toxins. Garlic contains substantial amounts of allicin, an antioxidant compound that may help in cleansing the liver.
Olive oil and other similar organic oils may be beneficial for the liver. When taken in moderate amounts (i.e. used as dressing in your salad), olive oil may help provide a lipid staging ground for absorbing harmful toxins in the body. This in turn, lifts some load off the liver during the cleansing process.
Enjoying one’s favorite ballgame or taking in a movie munching walnuts may be a great idea. These snack nuts have high amounts of the antioxidant glutathione, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, both of which are agents that help facilitate the cleansing actions of the liver.
This yellow spice, abundant in many Indian culinary delights like tandoori and biryani, contains the active ingredient of curcumin which is believed to help block the activity of a molecule responsible for inflammation-related ailments. It also helps assist enzymes that actively flush out toxic elements in the system.
Consuming moderate amounts of the foods listed above is a great way to keep your liver functioning properly. However, it is important to note that depending on eating these items alone does not a healthy liver make.
A holistic approach that incorporates a healthy lifestyle consisting of low to moderate alcohol consumption, ample exercise and physical activity, a low-pollution environment, a positive outlook and attitude in life, and an overall healthy diet are the important keys to making the liver, and indeed all vital organs of the body, in tip-top condition.