Your liver is working hard to keep you healthy. Its role is to convert nutrients from our diets into substances that the body can use and to remove toxic substances and convert them into harmless ones. It is found in the upper abdomen right below the diaphragm and flows bile and blood through to the gallbladder. Blood from the digestive organs flows into the liver, carrying nutrients, medication, and toxic substances. This is how your liver removes alcohol from your blood and gets rid of byproducts.
Ten signs your liver is telling you it needs help:
- abdominal bloating
- pain or discomfort over the liver – (right upper abdominal area under the rib cage)
- excessive abdominal fat; pot belly; or a roll around the upper abdomen
- trouble digesting fatty foods
- had your gallbladder removed
- acid reflux/heartburn
- dark spots on the skin commonly referred to liver spots
- overheating of the body & excessive perspiration
- acne/rosacea or itchy, blotchy skin
- unexplained weight gain and inability to lose weight even with calorie restriction
Other signs to watch for include high blood pressure, fatigue, high cholesterol and triglycerides, mood swings and depression, sleep apnea or snoring and fatty yellowish lumps around eyes. These are signs you need to take action, detox and alter you diet and lifestyle to heal your liver.
These are all signs that your liver is blocked or clogged up with unhealthy fat – in extreme cased it’s called fatty liver. When this happens the cells that act as a filter become too swollen with fat and the liver cannot screen out or filter the many substances being passed through it. Remember the liver functions to clean out used blood and return it to the heart. If this situation is not reversed you end up with recycled toxins entering you heart via uncleaned blood. This can damage your heart and immune system and lead to rapid aging. All your hormones and any medications you take also are filtered through the liver.
The liver is necessary for metabolizing fat, as well as many other roles central to the metabolic processes in the body. Liver cells produce bile which is passed to the main bile duct, which carries it to the small intestine, where the bile is useful in the breakdown and absorption of fats.
The liver also helps to regulate the level of sugar in your blood by storing excess blood sugar as glycogen. So, as you can see the liver is pivotal in running the body, helping you digest and absorb nutrients. One sign of an unhealthy liver is if your ability to digest fats is significantly affected. But what do you do then? Well, there are a number of foods that support liver detoxification and help bring your liver back to top health.
Just a small amount of this pungent white bulb has the ability to activate liver enzymes that help your body flush out toxins. Garlic also holds high amounts of allicin and selenium, two natural compounds that aid in liver cleansing. It also contains arginine, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. Selenium helps the liver in the detoxification process by increasing the action of antioxidants. Arginine is an amino acid that relaxes the blood vessels which helps with blood pressure in the liver. Vitamin B6 acts as an anti-inflammatory in the liver, and vitamin C prevents cellular oxidation that leads to liver cell damage.
High in both vitamin C and antioxidants, grapefruit increases the natural cleansing processes of the liver. A small glass of freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice will help boost production of the liver detoxification enzymes that help flush out carcinogens and other toxins. Grapefruit is a sweet citrus fruit that packs a real punch when it comes to liver health. It contains vitamin C which is key to preventing cellular oxidation, and glutathione, which is involved in assisting the liver in the production of detox enzymes. There are 70 milligrams of glutathione in a single grapefruit, and it is used in several processes in the body, like tissue repair, and production of chemicals and proteins that the body needs.
Already considered a superfood by some, the avocado has more to offer than almost any other food. This nutrient-dense super-food helps the body produce glutathione, a compound that is necessary for the liver to cleanse harmful toxins, as well as vitamin C and vitamin E which act as antioxidants to neutralize free radicals and protect liver cells from damage. Additionally, the vitamin E and vitamin K serve anti-inflammatory purposes, helping to protect the liver.
Beets and Carrots
Both are extremely high in plant-flavonoids and beta-carotene; eating beets and carrots can help stimulate and improve overall liver function.
This liver-loving beverage is full of plant antioxidants known as catechins, a compound known to assist liver function. Green tea is a delicious, healthy addition to any diet. Just remember that green tea offers the benefits, not green tea extract. Some research suggests green tea extract may actually have a negative effect on liver health. Keep it simple and stick to the beverage to enjoy the benefits of green tea.
You might not regularly eat walnuts but you definitely should because they contain arginine, glutathione, omega-3 fatty acids, as well as being chalked full of antioxidants. The walnuts ample antioxidants neutralize free radicals, and they help protect against fat accumulation in the liver. It’s also important to eat walnuts because they assist in building strong cell membranes around the liver cells.
You might have heard of the magic of turmeric, but probably didn’t know it was also great for your liver. The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. It supports liver detoxification by rejuvenating liver cells and preventing toxins and alcohol from being converted into harsh compounds that damage the liver. It also helps increase the flow of bile, acting as a liver cleanser.
High in pectin, apples hold the chemical constituents necessary for the body to cleanse and release toxins from the digestive tract. This, in turn, makes it easier for the liver to handle the toxic load during the cleansing process.
So, if you plan on detoxifying your liver, the best place to start is with these foods. Your liver needs arginine, and glutathione as wells as a wide variety of nutrients and vitamins. Stick to a diet of these foods and your liver should be constantly detoxifying.
Other liver cleanse foods not listed above include artichoke, asparagus, kale, and Brussels sprouts. Eating the foods listed above is a great way to help keep your liver functioning properly. However, for best results, I recommend performing a liver cleanse. Performing a liver cleanse at least twice a year will eliminate any foreign substances that may be trapped in your liver.
Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.