Are you doing enough for the organ that handles over 500 functions in your body?
What weighs roughly around 3 pounds, receives 30% of your blood circulation every minute, and is the largest internal organ of your body? Yes, you guessed it right. It’s your liver.
It has been an organ of fascination by medical experts and researchers right from the ancient days. Several mythological stories revolve around how this organ is a symbol of regeneration and eternal life.
The Greek hero Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods, was sentenced to have his liver eaten by a crow every day only to realize that it would heal overnight and be good at dawn.
Why is the discussion of an age-old Greek myth important to our discussion here?
The reason is simple. Much like the fabled regenerating liver, our very own real-life liver is the only organ capable of 100% regeneration.
Even after reducing to 1/4th its former size and vitality, it can bounce back to life. The liver controls a large number of metabolic processes.
Firstly, it takes the nutrients from whatever we eat and converts them into substances that can be used by our bodies. Secondly, it can also store these substances.
And lastly, supply these substances when our cells need them. Moreover, this organ is responsible for detoxifying our bodies.
In addition to these, the liver helps in blood-clotting (so that we don’t bleed to death every time we are wounded). And, if these were not enough, it also produces bile.
Bile is a compound that helps in breaking down the fat cells.
1. Sick liver = Sick you
When an organ this critical to your overall sustenance gets impaired, it affects your entire body.
Liver impairment is a very serious health complication. It can bring a long list of important bodily functions to a standstill.
Be it an overdose of drugs such as Vicodin or statins, substance abuse, or an invasion of the EBV (Epstein Barr Virus) – any condition that directly or indirectly impedes the normal functioning of the liver can have drastic consequences.
Some of these are:
- Hepatitis or Liver Inflammation.
- Cholestasis or bile-flow obstruction.
- Enlarged and painful abdomen
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Chronic nausea and fatigue
- Easy bruising and increased blood-loss
- Gynecomastia and impotency
- Confusion and lethargy
- Psychological conditions such as depression
- Muscle loss
- Varicose veins around the stomach
- Permanent scarring of liver tissues or Liver Cirrhosis.
2. Liver Detox: Is that even necessary?
Your liver is very much analogous to around-the-clock office employee.
The one who has piles of extra work added on his desk every time you take the occasional sip of a drink or indulge in not-so-healthy processed food.
Pollution and modern-day lifestyle are putting your liver, the body’s purification plant, under a lot of pressure. So, if anyone deserves a vacation from this vicious cycle, it is indeed the liver.
Now there are a lot of “quick”, “100% cleansing”, and “instant Detox ideas” circulating the internet which more or less focus on helping you flush out toxins from the liver.
We are under the impression that since our diet is laced with toxins and processed foods, we need to get rid of these substances by cleansing one particular organ.
But the truth is that thanks to millions of years of evolution, we have a perfectly synchronized network of detoxing organs. Our kidneys, liver, lungs, and skin work effectively in flushing out the waste.
So, do you really need a liver detox?
Well, both yes and no.
The answer depends on what you consider as detoxing. In this article, we shed some important light on how you can improve your liver health by indulging in healthier eating habits.
Additionally, we also have a list of important dos and don’ts for a healthier liver. This is not just any fad Detox list. This is a list of keeping your liver toxin-free.
3. Juice up your raw veggies
Take a handful (or two) of raw vegetables such as carrots, ginger, beets, and cucumber, throw them together into the blender, make a super-healthy anti-oxidant rich smoothie.
This wonder tonic is how your liver can begin to restore back to its glorious days. This raw vegetable smoothie aids in the cleansing by decreasing the acid-content of your stomach.
Through this ultimate juice, you get all the natural benefits of at least 4-5 servings of raw veggies in one go.
It is especially good for those who find it hard to eat their daily requirement of vegetables.
A juiced vegetable is easier to digest and your body can absorb those nutrients readily.
This nutrient-powerhouse will provide your liver with the essential vitamins and minerals required to function effectively.
Feel free to add mint and lemon for flavor and that extra dose of Vitamin C.
4. The A, B, Cs of your vitamins
What do you think your body is getting rid of during detox?
But what really are the toxins circulating in your body right now?
It could range anything from harmful bacteria and parasites to harmful chemicals such as carcinogens. Particular matter than enter our systems through our skin or lungs.
And most important free radicals which accelerate the cellular damage. And your liver is single-handedly fighting against all these toxic elements to keep you healthy and infection-free.
To enable your liver to perform these functions efficiently, you need to go back to the basics of vitamins. Vitamins are those substances which boost our metabolism and immunity.
Vitamin A or beta-carotene is a powerful anti-oxidant that renews the liver at a cellular level. Vitamin B, which is found commonly in green leafy vegetables and broccoli, helps in the metabolism of glucose and fats.
This tends to lower the burden on the liver of breaking down complex carbs alone.
The water-soluble Vitamin C also helps in neutralizing the adverse effect of free radicals on the liver. Citrus fruits, thus, help the liver in staying clear of the damaging oxidation process. In short, keep your diet vitamin-rich and be ensured of a happy and healthy liver.
5. Intermittent fasting
Hunger and fasting have never seemed to desirable options. But when you study the effects of fasting at a molecular level you can see that it just might regulate liver metabolism.
According to the studies conducted by German Centre for Diabetes Research, fasting produces a particular protein (GADD45β). This protein is largely involved in important metabolic functions such as easier and faster breakdown of fats.
Additionally, intermittent fasting has shown to have many health benefits; one of them is reducing the fat deposition around the liver. It also helps in creating more number of stem cells, which are central to the regeneration of liver cells.
It is especially important for people for people who are at a risk of NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease). Remember, a build-up of fats is the first step in liver deterioration which could lead to the irreversible cirrhosis.
Water itself is a great toxin remover. When you infuse this with the goodness of essential vitamins, you get the greatest combination ever to flush out toxins from your liver.
Detox water is a simple yet great way of rejuvenating your liver, especially after those late-night booze parties or festive-themed dinners.
You can try any one (or all of them) at regulated intervals to boost your liver’s health:
- Slice and hull strawberries. Soak them in a pitcher-full of water overnight. Drink it the next day.
- Take a pitcher full of water. Fill it with slices of apples and cinnamon sticks. Keep it submerged in ice for 15 minutes before drinking it.
- Mix sliced cucumber, lemon wedges, and mint in a pitcher of water. This contains the required vitamin boost to instantly flush out toxins from the body.
7. Some additional ways you can ensure a hale and hearty liver
- This point cannot be overstated. Alcohol is a toxin and it can potentially corrode your liver. Remove this from your kitchen shelf for the good.
- Hepatitis vaccines do provide protection against liver infections.
- Never indulge in self-medication. Every drug that you put in your body should be after careful examination of a medical practitioner.
- Be careful when handling needles. Also, always practice safe sex.
- Eat a healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight. Perform physical activities on a daily basis to ensure proper metabolism of glucose and fats.
- In addition to these, stress, chemically-treated food, substance-abuse, and pollution are the major factors putting your liver health in danger. Stay away from these.
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