You might find yourself laughing when people make ‘liver’ jokes like this one, but your liver is no joke! In fact, it is probably one of the most important organs in your body.
Your liver is working non-stop, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, to process basically everything you eat, drink, breathe, or rub on your skin. Basically,anything that enters your body must go through security in the liver.
So What does the Liver Do, Exactly?
Other than processing virtually everything that enters your body, the liver plays a vital role in the following functions:
- Cleanses the blood: metabolizes alcohol and other drug and chemicals. Neutralizes/destroys poisonous substances.
- Regulates the supply of body fuel: Processes quick energy to keep the mind alert and body energetic. Produces, stores and exports fat.
- Manufactures many essential body proteins important to transporting substances in the blood, clotting of the blood, protecting against infections.
- Regulates the balance of hormones such as sex hormones, thyroid hormones, and cortisone and other adrenal hormones.
- Regulates body cholesterol
- Regulates the supply of essential vitamins and minerals such as iron and copper
- Produces bile which gets rid of toxic substances
- Aids digestion
So you can see why keeping the liver healthy is no joke! A tired and sluggish liver is a factor in many health conditions such as
- Bad breath
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Cravings for sweets
- And much more!
Thankfully, one of the most impressive facts about the liver is its ability to regenerate. This means, your liver is probably not a lost cause just yet. We share our top 3 secrets to keeping your liver healthy, because the liver check light shouldn’t ever go on! Through a healthy diet with the essential vitamins and minerals, an active lifestyle and by eliminating toxic items from entering your body, your liver can restore itself.
3 Secrets to a Healthy Liver
1. Maintain a healthy diet.
You should keep in mind the following tips to maintain a health diet for your liver:
- The liver requires high amounts of vitamins and minerals to perform well. Your diet should be high in fruits and vegetables and fiber-rich foods to get vitamins and minerals.
- The liver also filters food additives which enter your body through processed foods, artificial food additives, and colors and preservatives lurking in food. Therefore, you should avoid foods like this.
- Eat fresh carrots and beets. These are powerful liver cleansing foods.
- Eat plenty of green foods, because chlorophyll helps to cleanse the liver
- LoveYourLiver.Com recommends the following 12 superfoods for a healthy liver
- Tea (green or black)
- Kidney beans
- Vegetable juice
- Reduce the amount of saturated and trans fats you eat, and instead eat good fats (like avocados, nuts, coconut, etc.)
- Drink lots of water which helps the cleansing process
2. Stay active and get regular exercise.
There are studies that suggest that exercise itself can prevent fatty liver disease! People who are overweight have a higher risk of developing a fatty liver which can lead to fatty liver disease. Not only will exercise help you maintain a healthy liver, but you’ll feel better and more energetic by exercising regularly.
Aim to exercise 150-300 minutes (2.5 – 5 hours) a week. The following are some ideas:
- Tai chi
Make exercise something you enjoy by picking something you like and including your friends and family in on it! This could mean taking your partner, children or grandchildren on walks with you. Trying a new yoga class with a friend, or grabbing a green tea and going for a walk along the lake or Oceanside with a friend every Sunday (if you live near water). The possibilities are endless and there are ways to make exercise enjoyable and a part of your life.
Check out the following official U.S. physical activity guidelines for older adults here.
3. Avoid alcohol and other toxins and chemicals in the environment.
You knew this one was coming, didn’t you? Alcohol and your liver are not a good mix. Your liver can cope with drinking a small amount of alcohol. But it can only cope with small amounts at a given time. If you drink more than your liver can process, by drinking too quickly/too much, your liver will struggle to process the alcohol. Your liver can be become strained if you drink regularly and heavily, which can lead to alcoholic liver disease.
The United States alcohol guidelines recommends that if alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation. This is defined as 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men.
Try the following tips to limit your alcohol intake:
- Mix ½ a glass of wine with ½ a glass of sparkling water
- Mix your beer or stout with lemonade
- Switch to beverages with lower alcohol or alternate an alcohol drink with a non-alcoholic drink
- You should limit drinking alcohol to only a couple of nights a week
Other toxins to avoid:
- Large doses of iron
- Make sure your medications and supplements aren’t interacting with each other in a bad way (that could damage your liver)
- Large doses of Vitamin A (everything in moderation, right!)
4. Bonus Tip! Milk Thistle for Liver Health.
The final secret: Taking milk thistle supplements. Shh… don’t tell anyone about this secret.
What is Milk Thistle? It is a natural supplement that has been used for over 2000 years to detoxify and protect vital liver functions. It comes from a plant called “milk thistle”, also known as “St. Mary Thistle,”, “Holy Thistle”, and “Lady’s Thistle”.
Milk thistle is one of the most commonly used medicinal plants in the world! It is most commonly used for liver health. Not only does it help the liver perform properly and stay healthy, it also has several non-liver related benefits such as:
- Lowers cholesterol, which is good for heart health.
- Reduces the growth of cancer cells in certain cancers such as breast, lung, colon, cervical and renal cancers.
- Improves blood sugar levels
- Used as a therapeutic agent for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease
- Contains several anti-aging properties
- Reduces hot flashes and other related menopausal symptoms
These are just some of the liver benefits you can look forward to, as milk thistle is now available on AntiAgingCentral.com as Liver Detox