15 Ways to Boost Your Liver for Great Health, by Michelle Schoffro Cook, 23 February 2012
Your liver must perform over 500 functions, making it potentially one of the most overburdened organs in your body.
Our modern lifestyle + air pollution + food additives + high amounts of stress can cause the liver to become sluggish. The sluggish liver can be a factor in many health conditions, e.g. allergies, arthritis, asthma, bad breath, chronic fatigue syndrome, cravings for sweets, depression, environmental illness/multiple chemical sensitivities, fatigue, fibromyalgia, headaches and migraines, hepatitis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, hypoglycemia, hormone imbalances, immune system disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, overweight or obesity, poor digestion, recurring nausea and/or vomiting, skin diseases, and ulcerative colitis.
Of course there are other factors involved in these conditions so it is important to see a physician if you suffer from any of them.
Strengthening the liver is one of the ways to boost energy, balance weight, and strengthen overall health. Here are 15 ways to give your liver a boost:
1. VITAMINS and MINERALS- high amounts of vitamins and minerals are required by the liver.
2. FOOD ADDITIVES ARE FILTERED BY THE LIVER- When you eliminate processed foods, artificial food additives, colours and preservatives from your diet you give your liver a break.
3. CARROTS, BEETS, GREEN FOODS- Eat plenty of these powerful liver cleansing and rebuilding foods.
4. GROUND FLAXSEED- Eat two heaping tablespoons sprinkled on cereal, toast, salads, or blended into smoothies. By eating flaxseeds and flax oil you are helping your liver to filter excess hormones more effectively.
5. HERBS that help strengthen the liver: milk thistle, dandelion root, globe artichoke, turmeric, slippery elm, greater celandine, balmony, barberry, black root, blue flag, boldo, fringetree bark, vervain, and wahoo. If you are pregnant, have a serious health condition, or are taking medication, consult a qualified health practitioner before using herbs.
6. REDUCE REFINED SUGAR and AVOID SYNTHETIC SWEETENERS altogether.
7. LECITHIN helps the liver metabolize fats and reduce cholesterol; prevents fatty deposits; reduces high blood pressure. You can get lecithin in organic soyfoods like soy milk, tofu, and miso, as well as organic eggs.
8. AVOID VITAMIN and MINERAL DEFICIENCIES by taking a high quality multivitamin and mineral supplement. The liver depends on many nutrients to detoxify properly. Even a single nutrient deficiency can be harmful.
9. TAKE 1000 to 2000 mg of Vitamin C daily, even if there's vitamin C in your multivitamin.
10. GARLIC, ONIONS and BROCCOLI contain sulfur that is required to increase enzyme activity that boosts liver cleansing, so eat plenty of these. Without adequate levels of sulfur, the phase 2 of liver detoxification cannot keep pace with level 1, meaning that many toxins can become MORE dangerous in your body.
11. AVOID LARGE MEALS. Instead, eat small meals made up of easy-to-digest foods.
12. Eat steamed vegetables, raw salad greens, raw fruits, and bitter greens. The bitter greens, especially, help to cleanse the liver.
13. EAT WHOLE RAW UNSALTED NUTS and SEEDS for their essential fatty acids and protein.
14. AVOID HEAVY FATTY FOODS as they just create more work for the liver. Avoid margarine, shortening or commercial oils or any foods made with them.
15. AVOID EATING for at least THREE HOURS before BEDTIME to allow the liver adequate time during the night to perform its many functions, unimpeded by other bodily processes like digestion.
Lemons are both purifying and nourishing, and they stimulate digestion. For reducing toxins, drink unsweetened lemonade as many times during the day as desired.
Ghee (clarified butter) is among the best rejuvenating and longevity-promoting foods. It aids digestion and calms the nerves. Ghee's rate of absorption is high, making it an excellent medium for transporting the nutrients of other foods to the tissues.
Dates and Figs are prized as excellent sources of energy. They also help build tissues. Eat one or two every day.
Almonds are nourishing and life-supporting. Ayurveda recommends blanching and peeling almonds because their skins are slightly toxic. Eat several almonds daily to increase strength and energy.
Mung Beans are among the best legumes for their supreme digestibility and health-giving qualities. They are beneficial when people are sick or otherwise in need of very light food. Mung beans are particularly nourishing when mixed with rice or other grains.
Ginger is often referred to as "the universal medicine." It promotes good digestion and helps remove ama. Dried ground ginger is more concentrated in its flavor and its effects. To aid digestion, sprinkle a thin slice of fresh ginger with lemon juice and salt, and eat one-half hour before a meal.
Cumin Seeds serve as a digestive aid and ama-reducer for all doshas. To help remove toxins, start the day by drinking warm water mixed with a pinch of powdered cumin and ginger.
Lassi is a beverage prepared by mixing one part yogurt into two parts water. It is an excellent nutritive digestive aid, taken during or after a meal. You can flavor lassi either with raw sugar or honey and a little ground cardamom, or with toasted ground cumin seeds and salt. Juicy, Seasonal Fruits are both highly nutritive and purifying. Juicy fruits should be completely ripe for maximum healing value.
Green, Leafy Vegetables are both nutritive and purifying. Their bitter flavor stimulates the liver, helps balance blood sugar, and aids skin conditions. Prepare with a little ghee or oil.
Cow's Milk is considered a vitalizer by Ayurveda and recommended for those emaciated after injury. Ayurveda recommends bringing milk to a full boil to remove the qualities that can cause excess mucus. To further reduce milk's clogging qualities, add a pinch of ginger and/or black pepper. Also, milk should be imbibed separately from foods with any taste other than sweet.
Water is universally beneficial for everyone, and assists virtually all healing. It promotes digestion and, when imbibed while hot, is particularly effective for removing ama.
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