Updated: Jun 20, 2022
The liver isn’t just the largest internal organ, it’s among the most important because you can’t live without it. Your liver is about the size of a football and is located in the upper right part of your abdomen. As part of the digestive system, the liver must process everything that the stomach and intestines digest and absorb. For nutrition, one of its main jobs is to produce bile, a chemical that converts fat into fuel the body can use. Without your liver, eating a cheeseburger and milkshake would make you very sick. In fact, your liver can be credited with performing at least 500 vital functions. It regulates blood sugar, makes vitamins, maintains blood at the right thickness filters toxins from the blood, and keeps muscles from tremoring. In order for your liver to perform all of its important functions, it must be supported with healthy lifestyle choices. Now that you know how important your liver is to your overall health, here are 16 ways can support it.
SKIP THE LATE-NIGHT SNACKS
The liver’s regenerative cycle is between 11 pm and 3 am. If your body is busy digesting food at this time, it disrupts your sleep and the detoxification process. Aim for a 10 pm bedtime and 10-12 hours between dinner and breakfast. (Small bedtime snacks are allowed to support blood sugar balance.)
BYE-BYE BAD FAT
Good fat is good, bad fat is really bad. If the food is fried, it likely has unhealthy, oxidized oils. Skip it! Stick to good, clean fats like coconut oil, avocados, salmon, and olive oil
BE A TOXIN AVENGER
Make it easier on your liver by reducing the toxins coming into your body. Buy organic foods, drink filtered water, use glass containers for food storage instead of plastic, and choose less toxic skin care products
BRING ON THE FIBER
Foods rich in soluble fiber help support your liver by binding toxins and moving them on out. Add in chia, flax, fruits, vegetables, beans, and oats for a fiber-fueled toxic flush every single day.
Milk thistle, with the active constituent of silymarin, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that support the liver. It may help the liver repair itself by growing new cells.
Lemon zest has a phytonutrient called d-limonene that supports liver detoxification enzymes. Invest in a Microplane grater and make it a breeze to add zest to your morning smoothie or favorite dressing.
Support the sulfation pathway (especially important for removing excess estrogens) with the addition of cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and bok choy.
You need protein but excess amounts can put extra strain on your liver. Choose high-quality protein like wild-caught fish or grass-fed meats and aim for a little bit with each meal instead of making it your entire meal.
Your liver really loves greens, especially herbs like cilantro and parsley, and bitter greens like mustard, dandelion, and arugula. Add them to salads, soups, or smoothies. Your taste buds will adjust to the bitter bite in no time and your liver will thank you for the support.
Beets have betaine, which helps the liver cells clear toxins and protects the liver and bile ducts from damage. Raw, roasted, or juiced, you can’t beat beets.
Your skin is a major detox organ. When it is backed up, so is your liver. Skin brushing helps remove toxins and keeps your skin healthy and bright.
TRIBUTE TO TUMERIC
Turmeric and its active bioflavonoid curcumin, have been used by herbalists for thousands of years to protect the liver, promote bile flow, and act as a powerful anti-inflammatory. Add a dash of turmeric to soups, roasted veggies, and even your smoothie.
A castor oil pack is a traditional remedy, perfect for our modern world. It helps to open the detoxification pathways and it is relaxing. Rub castor oil over your liver area, cover it with a cloth and relax for 20–30 minutes.
An essential micronutrient, it helps transport triglycerides from the liver and it’s critical for normal liver metabolism. Get it from eggs, non-GMO soy lecithin, and avocados.
The B vitamins are critical for efficient liver detoxification of unwanted chemicals such as heavy metals, histamines, and bacterial toxins that could be at the root of immune or neurological challenges. Take a high-quality B-complex daily.
CRAZY FOR CHLOROPHYLL
Chlorophyll helps clear toxins from the body, especially heavy metals. Get your green on with chlorella, spirulina, leafy greens, seaweed, and matcha green tea.