7 Ways to Re-boot Your Liver
Our liver is a remarkable, adaptable, and particularly resilient organ. But we hammer the liver with not-so-healthy foods, medications, and lifestyle choices. However, it continues to chug along, processing everything we eat and drink, synthesizing proteins and fats, and filtering out toxins and waste while passing along nutrients that we need.
Because of the workload, the liver can sometimes get backed up. If not addressed with diet and lifestyle changes, toxins accumulate and cause serious problems. Moreover, lifestyle-related conditions obesity and diabetes are related to fatty liver disease and liver cancer.
Symptoms of a Toxic Liver Include:
01. Abdominal pain/engorgement 02. Bitter taste in the mouth 03. Loss of appetite 04. High cholesterol 05. Fatigue 06. Fluid retention in the abdomen 07. Jaundice 08. Skin sensitivity/outbreaks 09. Dark urine 10. Gallbladder attacks
In case you experience symptoms or just wish to pay some special attention to this exceptional organ, below are 7 ways to get a natural liver detox.
1. Scale Back the Alcohol
You can’t do a natural liver detox without scaling back on the alcohol. A glass of wine or beer with dinner can be beneficial in some ways but drinking more than that can harm your liver. Damage can be caused by metabolic by-products of consuming alcohol and the resulting inflammation. Alcoholism is a given, as chronic overindulgence often overcomes this vital organ whose job it is to filter out everything harmful. Binge drinking of 4 or more drinks at once just twice a week is enough to make your liver say stop.
In fact, 21 binge-drinking episodes within a 7-week period are enough to cause symptoms of an early liver disease. To give your liver a break, drink no alcohol for at least a week, then reintroduce light to moderate drinking (1-2 glasses no more than a few times a week) to keep from overtaxing your liver.
2. If You’re Overweight, Shed Some Pounds
Liver damage isn’t just caused by drinking too much; it can also happen thanks to a poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, and weight gain. Like other obesity-related illnesses, a nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is tied to insulin resistance and heart disease. In severe cases, a fatty liver can lead to cirrhosis.
The good news is, losing weight, even a moderate drop in pounds can help improve liver scarring. A review published in the journal Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica found that a one-year period of lifestyle change and just a 7-10 percent loss in overall body weight had “significant histological improvement of liver disease.”
3. Increase Exercise
Exercise isn’t just for losing weight and getting in shape; it has so many physiological benefits too, including helping your liver. A study published in the Journal of Hepatology found exercise is beneficial for obese and overweight adults who have non-alcoholic fatty disease. The study also found that didn’t matter how intense or often the participants worked out; the exercise was helpful. Regardless, regular exercise is important for overall health, so you should aim for at least 30 minutes 5-7 days a week.
Also read: The Top 8 Benefits of Regular Exercise
4. Detox with Water
Most of us don’t drink enough water. When it comes to rebooting your liver, a good flush is what’s needed while replenishing supportive nutrition. Increasing water intake will help the liver to clear out.
Water filtered by reverse osmosis is best, to remove most of the chemicals that are added to municipal water. If your tap water contains fluoride, filtered water is especially important in the context of liver health, as fluoride has been found to cause fat deposits in the liver, amongst other things.
5. Cut Back on Processed Food
Even if you’re not overweight but eat a poor diet, that could still affect your liver. Rates of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease have been seen in patients who eat a diet riddled with processed junk food and preservatives, even if they aren’t overweight on the outside. Basically, your liver can get fat before your body does. This can also be due to a genetic predisposition to liver damage and consume too many sugary drinks.
Since eating a poor diet contributes to liver disease, eating a healthy one will help heal it. Make sure you’re eating a diet rich in fresh produce, lean meats, whole grains, and limiting your consumption of simple, refined carbohydrates (like sugar).
6. Reduce Over-the-Counter Pain Medications
Pain meds like aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen are sold virtually everywhere and undeniably reduce mild pain quickly for most people. These common remedies, however, are terrible for your liver.
• Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Excedrin, NyQuil, Theraflu) – known to cause liver damage and failure in as little time as 2 weeks of regular use. Taking these with alcohol drastically increases the risk of liver damage.
• Ibuprofen – works by blocking the production of liver enzymes that regulate inflammation, directly impeding liver function. This can cause damage, disease, and failure if used over time.
• Naproxen – causes acute liver failure.
• Aspirin – included in the group of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) along with the ones mentioned above, aspirin disrupts liver function by interfering with the synthesis of hormones and regulatory biochemicals. Aspirin can also cause bleeding throughout the digestive system.
7. Eat Bitter Greens
Green vegetables are supremely nutritious and are the best kind for liver health. They contain flavonoid antioxidants in their pigments that are potent healers. Bitter greens like arugula, dandelion, beet, endive, collard greens, and watercress modulate liver fatty acids. The bitter flavor stimulates bile secretion to clean the liver and promote efficient digestion. Green tea also provides liver support.
Replacing less healthful foods with more greens will rejuvenate you and help you to drop a few pounds if you’re overweight.
If you are having problems with your liver, avoid: