By: Elna Botes van Schalkwyk
Your liver depends on you to take care of it, so it can take care of you. It serves as your body's engine, pantry, refinery, food processor, garbage disposal, and "guardian angel." The trouble is, your liver is a silent partner; when something's wrong it does not complain until the damage is far advanced. So it needs your help every day to keep it healthy and hepatitis-free. To do that, you need to eat a healthy diet, exercise, get lots of fresh air, and avoid things that can cause liver damage.
There are a number of foods that nutritional experts consistently name as “supportive” or “protective” to the liver. A poorly functioning liver can result in tiredness, headaches, bad breath, allergies and intolerances, problem skin and weight gain.
- Make sure you always follow a highly alkaline diet.
- Get yourself tested for a heavy metal overload in your body. Tests that help to diagnose metal and chemical toxicity include ART (Automotive Response Testing), blood tests, urine tests, and the analysis of hair, nails or other tissues. The most accurate of these are a chelation challenge test or a hair analysis.
- The Far Infrared Sauna has an excellent reputation for detoxifying both metal and chemical contaminants from the body. It is an excellent therapy on its own or as an adjunct to other natural methods of detoxification.
- ION-cleansing foot-baths are also very helpful tools in getting rid of heavy metals from your body. The primary treatment for most heavy metals is chelation therapy, which can take takes anywhere from many months to several years to remove toxic metals from your body.
- Supplements you can take to support chelation, include the following: chlorella and cilantro, Adva- and Metallo Clear capsules (100% natural), Zeolite and Ultra Clear Plus proteïn concentrate.
- Heavy metals are not removed by fasting! And unfortunately, there is no medical treatment for chemical toxicity.
- Other supplements: LivAmend is a specially formulated supplement that supports liver function, increases bile flow and improves bowel elimination - which is all essential for physical AND mental health. It has also helped many people with constipation problems.
- UltraClear Plus is a medical food designed for individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome who may benefit from nutritional support for altered energetic and liver detoxification function. Altered detoxification function may be due to genetic predisposition, a history of chronic nutrient insufficiency, and/or toxin overload, which can result in a build-up of stored toxins and a subsequent increase in symptoms and/or tissue damage.
Liver-supporting food may include the following:
- Artichokes are a member of the milk thistle family that help control blood sugar levels and are known to support liver health. This fibrous, green veggie contains cynarin, which promotes the flow of bile from the liver to the gallbladder. This is very important, because if the bile is not transported adequately to the gallbladder, the liver has increased risk of damage. Your liver must get rid of toxins through bile -- with the help of your gall bladder. If overloaded, your liver has a harder time getting these toxins out through your bile - and ultimately, some of the toxins will be stored in the fat in your liver. The toxins that do get released in bile may be equally or more toxic than the original toxins from your liver - causing inflammation of your bile ducts and slowing down bile flow. This slowdown creates a vicious cycle of more intracellular toxicity. To learn more ways to correct your digestion, heal your liver and eat foods that support your overall health, be sure to read The Body Ecology Diet.
- Asparagus have anticancer, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties.
- Beets are a very high anti-oxidant veggie. Beet fiber seems to be particularly health-promoting for the liver.
- Carrots contain beta-carotene and other cartenoids the help protect the liver.
- Shitake Mushrooms have powerful effects on hepatitis and many other diseases.
- Brazil nuts and broccoli have a very high concentration of selenium, a powerful anti-oxidant mineral that works synergistically with other antioxidants to assist in protection against further damage to liver cells.
- Garlic has sulphur-containing compounds, which are responsible for many of its healing properties. It also contains allicin which is a sulphur-based compound needed by the liver for effective detoxification. Garlic also helps the liver get rid the body of mercury.
- Brown rice retains the bran layer that is packed with B vitamins, selenium, vitamin E and magnesium.
- Whey proteïn contains lactoferrin and builds glutathione levels. While glutathione is the main antioxidant found inside liver cells.
- Mung beans are used to detoxify poisons in the body.
- Alfalfa cleanses the liver and bloodstream while supplying necessary vitamins and minerals. Research suggests that alfalfa may inactivate dietary chemical carcinogenes in the liver and small intestine.
- Dandelion Greens stimulates the flow of bile, help both the liver and gallbladder break down fat, prevent gallstones and aid in detoxification.
- Buckwheat, black currants and rose hips contain bioflavonoids which stimulate detoxification by the liver.
- Green Apples contain pectin that bind to heavy metals in the body and help their excretion. This reduces the load on the liver and it’s detoxification capacities.
- Freshly squeezed lemon in hot water helps to cleanse the liver and promote detoxification. It also stimulates bile production, cleanses, cleanses the stomach and bowel and stimulates a bowel motion.
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage are very powerful detoxifiers of the liver. They also contain glucosinolates that help the liver to roduce enzymes it needs for its detoxification process.
- Drink lots of water, because it helps the kidneys to get rid of the toxins that the liver has broken down. Make sure you drink liquids 15 minutes before or 1 hour after eating. Excessive liquids with your meals can dilute stomach acid and hinder your digestion.
- Helpful herbs include the following: bupleurum, milk thistle, dandelion root, cyperus, barberry root bark, wild yam, lycii berries, fennel and gingel, aloe, celery, horseradish, motherwort, yarrow and wild indigo.
- Liver detox tea: For detoxification, brew one or more of these dried (or fresh) herbs together by boiling them with water. Simmer slowly for 20 minutes and then let stand for 10 minutes before drinking. For increased detoxification power, you can mix the water with other well-known blood-cleansing herbs such as lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Add the cayenne pepper to taste just before drinking. Cayenne becomes more potent as it sits in food and water.
Things to avoid:
- Chemicals such as food colorings, flavorings and preservatives as well as toxins such as insecticides and pesticides, because these substances make the liver work harder.
- Avoid multi-vitamins that contain iron. Iron is stored in the liver. Excessive amounts of some vitamins may be an additional source of stress to the liver that must act as a filter for the body. Mega-vitamin supplements, particularly if they contain vitamins A and D, may be harmful. Excess vitamin A is very toxic to the liver.
- Sugar, because it inhibits the bile-flowing process.
- Poorly digested food: healthy food intake and proper digestion are key to liver and intestinal health. Your liver helps detoxify blood from your small intestine. When the intestines contain chemicals and toxins that are not purified by the beneficial microflora in your intestines the liver suffers greatly. Poorly digested foods ferment creating toxins, so it is critical that your foods digest completely. This will ensure that your liver is protected from these poisons that cause it to become congested. This will keep your liver healthy and able to make the amino acids you need for neurotransmitters.
Hence, your overall health and vitality, to a great extent, depends upon the health of your liver. The thousands of enzyme systems that control virtually every body activity are created there. If your liver fails to create even one of these enzymes, overall body function is impaired, creating greater metabolic stress on your body. Therefore, be good to your liver and it will take good care of you!