10 Foods to Help You Fall in Love with Your Liver - Goodness Me!

10 Foods to Help You Fall in Love with Your Liver

by Katie Mitton January 13, 2016

10 Foods to Help You Fall in Love with Your Liver

One of our naturopathic doctor partners, Jennifer Kaster, shares with us some tips and tools to fall in love with your liver and push your detoxification to the max! And if you don't want to miss out on all our expert health tips, sign up for our email list here. Read on!   

At this time of year, it’s a great time to rethink and revamp your daily health routine to support and detoxify your body.  There are many organs that help the body to detoxify, but it is our liver that gets stuck dealing with the majority of the detoxification task and it is due time we gave it some loving care to ensure it can do its job well.   Did you know that almost 30% of your blood goes through your liver every minute?  This means that in less than four minutes, your liver handles EVERY drop of blood in your body.  This blood enters into your liver where the liver takes on the huge task of detoxifying your blood.     

Our liver spends years protecting us from an increasing toxic load in our food, environment, water, cleaners, skin care products, and more. These are all substances that are foreign to our body and end up accumulating inside us because our body does not know how to deal with them.  This, as you can imagine, has a dramatic effect on our health and well-being.  

Isn’t it about time we gave some much deserved love and attention to our overworked liver?!  Let’s begin by learning a little more about the huge job our liver does for us.  

There are millions of cells within the liver which contain enzymes that are responsible for detoxification.  The process is broken into two phases.  The phase 1 enzymes allow for fat soluble molecules to become water soluble.  The end products of phase 1 detoxification are about 60 times MORE TOXIC than the starting molecules (they can even damage DNA and cause cancer).  YUCK!  During phase 1, free radicals are also created.  These little single oxygen molecules wreak a lot of havoc in the body and need to be eliminated by antioxidants.  Two of the most important antioxidants are glutathione and selenium.  

And now phase 2 detoxification can begin.  The phase 2 enzymes attach to the water-soluble toxins, neutralize them, and allow the body to happily eliminate these waste products through the kidneys (urine) or in the bile (stool).  Phase 2 also allows potent antioxidants to get rid of the free radicals.  As long as your liver is working properly, it can neutralize the toxins created and no signs or symptoms of toxicity will occur.  However, when the liver cannot neutralize the free radicals and the water-soluble toxins fast enough, problems occur.  When too many toxins are coming into the body, the liver is overburdened and all the excess, along with the free radicals, get dumped into other areas of the body.  

Detoxification provides our liver with a period of rest.  During this period of rest, it is advised to eat clean, organic, whole foods.  The produce section of the grocery store is your playground! Also, it is best to avoid any processed and packaged foods and minimize your exposure to other harmful chemicals in cleaners and skin care products to reduce the load of additional toxins entering your body.  This will allow the liver to effectively eliminate the toxins which have accumulated over time and to give it a chance to rejuvenate itself. In turn, the liver will be able to work more efficiently and effectively.  

In addition to your elimination of processed foods (pretty much anything that comes in a box or a bag or has more than one ingredient listed) during your liver-love-fest, there are some great nourishing foods to add into your food routine to support detoxification of your liver.  

  • Beets contain antioxidants such as beta-carotene, other carotenoids and healing flavonoids. Antioxidants help to limit the damage caused by the free radicals, thus they have a healing and cleansing effect on the liver. Beets also have folic acid which is a vitamin necessary for Phase One detoxification.
  • Sour and bitter foods like lemons are loved by the liver. Lemons encourage proper bile formation in the liver. You don’t have to suck on lemons to enjoy their benefits.  Add fresh lemon juice to your water or make it into a hot drink in the morning.
  • Another sour and bitter food you can benefit from is apple cider vinegar. Vinegars quickly remove liver stagnation, promote detoxification, and have highly activating properties. Use this as part of your salad dressing with some olive oil or enhance the effect by creating a liver loving liquid by combining 1 tsp of the vinegar with 1 tsp of raw honey in a glass of water.  
  • And of course dark leafy greens like kale, collards, swiss chard, and dandelion greens should not be forgotten! Enjoy a variety of greens in your salad, cooked or steamed as a side dish, or even in your smoothie. These should be a staple in your daily food routine no matter what time of year.
  • Chlorophyll is what gives our greens their colour and is also a major source of the nutrients green foods provide. We can get a super dose of chlorophyll from spirulina, which is a blue-green algae typically found as a powder. Chlorophyll accelerates liver rejuvenation and helps to heal damaged areas of the liver.  
  • Herbs have many healing properties to them as well and many, such as rosemary, caraway, dill and turmeric promote liver health. Turmeric contains curcumin, which helps to decongest the liver and protect it from toxins. Give your taste buds a treat and enjoy a variety of herbs in your meals.
Remember those important antioxidants mentioned earlier, glutathione and selenium, whose role it is to keep the damaging free radicals under control?  We can get these from food as well.  
  • Garlic has selenium and glutathione, both of which act as antioxidants.
  • Onions are also a source of glutathione and have sulfur compounds, which are important for both phases of detoxification.  
  • Walnuts, asparagus and broccoli are also great glutathione containing foods.

Begin with small changes today and you will fall in love with your liver in no time!  

By Jennifer Kaster N.D.   “Here to help you achieve wellness...the natural way.”   Jennifer Kaster B.Sc, ND is a Naturopathic Doctor in Oakville and Burlington, as well as one of Goodness Me’s Life Watchers teachers at our new Mississauga location.  Check out her great blog at drkasternd.wordpress.com. She has experience working with all age groups covering a variety of health concerns, but focuses her practices on the treatment of digestive issues and food sensitivities.   She strongly believes that digestion and the food we eat plays a major role in our vitality and overall wellbeing.  For more information about digestive health contact Jennifer at Hassard Chiropractic in Burlington.  

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Katie Mitton
Katie Mitton

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