Your liver must perform over 500 functions, making it potentially one of the most overburdened organs in your body. Our modern lifestyle, replete with air pollution, food additives and high amounts of stress ensure that the liver has plenty to do.
So, it’s no surprise that the liver can become sluggish, making it a factor in many health conditions, including: allergies, arthritis, asthma, bad breath, chronic fatigue syndrome, sugar cravings, depression, environmental illness/multiple chemical sensitivities, fatigue, fibromyalgia, headaches and migraines, hepatitis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, hypoglycemia, hormone imbalances, immune system disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, overweight or obesity, poor digestion, recurring nausea and/or vomiting, skin diseases and ulcerative colitis.
Of course, there are other factors involved in these conditions, so it is important to visit a physician if you suffer from any of them.
Perhaps the most impressive characteristic of the liver is its ability to regenerate itself. When this organ is provided with critical nutrients, a healthy whole foods diet and herbs to help it function, it can be restored to health in most circumstances. Strengthening the liver is one of the best ways to boost energy, balance weight and strengthen overall health.
Here are 15 ways to revitalize your liver:
1. Eat your fruits and veggies
The liver requires high amounts of vitamins and minerals to perform its many functions. Your diet should be high in fruits, vegetables and fiber-rich foods.
2. Avoid additives
Your liver must filter food additives. Eliminate processed foods, artificial food additives, colors and preservatives from your diet to give your liver a break.
3. Focus on fresh
Eat plenty of fresh carrots and beets, both of which are powerful liver cleansing and rebuilding foods. In addition, eat plenty of green foods. The chlorophyll, which gives plants their green color, helps cleanse the liver.
4. Befriend flax
Try to eat two heaping tablespoons of ground flaxseeds daily. They bind to hormone receptor sites, preventing excess hormones—including synthetic xenoestrogens from plastics and other chemicals—from floating around in your bloodstream. One of the liver’s 500 jobs is to filter excess hormones. By eating flaxseeds and flax oil, you helping this organ function more effectively. Flaxseeds can be sprinkled on cereal, toast and salads or blended into smoothies.
5. Consider the power of herbs
There are many great herbs that help strengthen the liver, including: milk thistle, dandelion root, globe artichoke, turmeric, slippery elm, greater celandine, balmony, barberry, black root, blue flag, boldo, fringetree bark, vervain and wahoo. I regularly use turmeric and milk thistle to help strengthen my liver. If you are pregnant, have a serious health condition or take medication, consult a qualified health practitioner before using herbs.
6. Limit sugar intake
Significantly reduce refined sugar and avoid synthetic sweeteners altogether.
7. Incorporate lecithin into your diet
Lecithin helps the liver metabolize fats and reduce cholesterol. It contains a substance called phosphatidylcholine, as well as essential fatty acids that help keep liver cells healthy and prevent fatty deposits from building up in the liver. Lecithin also helps reduce high blood pressure by allowing the blood vessels to relax and enable better blood flow. You can get lecithin in organic soy products like soy milk, tofu and miso, as well as organic eggs. Alternatively, take 4000 mg of lecithin in capsule form daily.
8. Commit to a multivitamin
Take a high quality multivitamin and mineral supplement to avoid any deficiencies. The liver depends on many nutrients to detoxify properly. Even a single nutrient deficiency can be harmful.
9. Ensure adequate vitamin C intake
In addition, take 1000 to 2000 mg of vitamin C daily, even if there is vitamin C in your multivitamin.
10. Consume sulfur-rich foods
Eat lots of garlic, onions and broccoli. These foods contain sulfur that is required to increase enzyme activity and boost liver cleansing. Without adequate levels of sulfur, the second phase of liver detoxification cannot keep pace with the first, meaning that many toxins can become more dangerous in your body.
11. Embrace small meals
Avoid eating large meals. Instead, eat small meals made up of plenty easy-to-digest foods.
12. Eat green
Eat steamed vegetables, raw salad greens, raw fruits and bitter greens. Bitter greens, especially, help to cleanse the liver.
13. Munch on nuts and seeds
Eat whole, raw, unsalted nuts and seeds for their essential fatty acids as well as their usable protein.
14. Remove these fats from your diet
Avoid eating heavy, fatty foods since they just create more work for the liver. Reduce consumption of margarine, shortening and commercial oils—or any foods made with them.
15. Avoid late-night snacking
Avoid eating for at least three hours before bedtime to allow the liver adequate time during the night to perform its many functions, unimpeded by other bodily processes like digestion.
Adapted with permission from