The gastronomic excesses – and joys! – of the festive season are over and it is time to give your liver, the Miracle Organ, not only a well-earned rest but perhaps also some TLC.
Your liver is one of the most important organs in your entire body. It weighs five pounds and uses up 12% of your total energy supply. And while your body can actually function without a stomach or colon, it cannot function without a liver. In traditional Chinese medicine, a healthy liver represents a healthy person and conditions such as depression, anxiety, hormone imbalances, poor digestion and headaches are treated by improving liver health.
What does your liver actually do for you?
It stores blood, Vitamins A, D, E, K, B12, iron and glycogen
It converts glycogen, which is a highly concentrated form of carbohydrate, into glucose and vice versa. It is therefore crucial for blood sugar control.
It makes clotting factors in the blood together with many of the substances vital to the proper functioning of the body.
It neutralises toxins from the lungs, the bowel and the skin. Furthermore, an overburdened liver cannot filter out the poisons in the blood properly, which can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and generally unwell. Your metabolism also becomes sluggish which makes it much more difficult to lose weight.
Let’s look at what generally overtaxes the hard-working liver:-
· Prescription drugs
· Recreational drugs
· Toxic Chemicals
· Improper digestion
· Toxic bowel
· Repressed emotions!
And how about what you eat and drink? What are the liver’s enemies in this case:-
· Alcohol – all that champagne!
· Overeating – did you pace yourself? Did you hold back on the turkey, stuffing, sausages, bacon, Christmas pudding, mince pies, brandy butter? Of course not!
· Refined carbohydrates – all that sugar!
· Processed fats/trans fats
· Fast food and junk food – hopefully there was not too much of that on offer
· Low fibre intake – how much did you actually eat in the way fresh fruit and vegetables? Brussels sprouts and parsnips, perhaps some clementines.
· Eating when stressed or eating in a hurry – with any luck you managed to avoid this
I will be writing in more detail about the liver and how to cleanse and support it shortly, but in the meantime here are some tips to soothe your liver and get it back into shape for 2019:-
· Cut right back on the liver over-workers such as alcohol, sugar, caffeine, dairy, red meat and saturated fat
· Up your fruit and vegetable intake to at least six to eight portions a day
· Include turmeric, fresh ginger and cinnamon in your cooking
· Increase your water intake and drink at least 8 glasses a day
· Eat a diet rich in fibre and low in saturated fats
· Take plenty of aerobic exercise to bring oxygen into your body
· Green tea is good for the liver – but beware, it can cause constipation in some people!
· Eat organic if possible
And here are some liver-loving foods to include in your diet:-
· Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, oranges and grapes
· Broccoli, asparagus, curly kale, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, spinach and pakchoi
· Foods containing sulphur, such as onions, garlic and eggs
I wish your liver a happy and healthy 2019!