Feeling stressed, impatient and easily irritated lately? Maybe an overworked liver is to blame!
The human liver is a miraculous organ. It is known to serve over 500 functions in our bodies! The liver is responsible for producing digestive enzymes, converting glucose to glycogen, producing urea, developing certain amino acids, filtering harmful substances from the blood (like alcohol) storing certain vitamins and maintain a healthy blood glucose level. Another very important role it serves is detoxification.
Traditional Chinese medicine suggests that the liver helps control our emotions. It has direct control of our Qi, our inner life force. When toxins, metabolic waste, pesticides and pollution build up, the liver may become sluggish, and liver stagnicity may arise. This can contribute to a myriad of chronic symptoms leading to disease progression.
With that being said, regular detoxification is crucial to keep our physical AND mental energy flowing in a harmonious manner. If we consciously select food to help cleanse and purify our bodies we can help to ensure strong liver function for decades to come. I recommend doing a cleanse once or twice a year, but incorporating liver supporting foods daily.
Foods to strengthen the liver:
- Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage. These vegetables are very powerful detoxifiers of the liver. They contain chemicals that neutralize certain toxins and also glucosinolates that help the liver to produce enzymes it needs for its detoxification.
- Drinking freshly squeezed lemon juice in a cup of warm filtered water first thing in the morning helps to cleanse the liver and promote detoxification. It also stimulates bile production, cleanses the stomach and bowel and stimulates bowel movement.
- Fruits with the highest levels of antioxidants are prunes, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, plums, oranges, pink grapefruit, cantaloupe, apples and pears. Antioxidants help to protect the liver from the high levels of free radicals that are naturally produced during the process of detoxification.
- Artichokes increase bile production. One of the jobs of bile is to remove toxins through the bowel, as well as unhealthy micro-organisms.
- Bitter leafy salad greens like dandelion, chicory, and endive also are good for liver function. The bitterness of these foods helps to stimulate bile flow.
- Garlic contains allicin which is a sulfur based compound needed by the liver for effective detoxification. Garlic helps the liver rid the body of mercury, microbes, and some food additives.
Aim to have at least a couple of these foods incorporated into your daily routine, and you will be well on your way to a cleaner body and more harmonious emotional state of wellbeing! – Article provided by Holistic Nutritionist, Susan Carlson BSc.RHN