Eating for a Healthier Liver
Almost all my clients need liver support. In fact, everyone I have ever met needs foods and herbs that will support their liver. There are several reasons for this. It’s not because they all smoke (they don’t), it’s not because they drink a lot of booze(most of them drink less than I do), and it’s not because they are eating a ton of crap. In fact, I have been surprised at how well many of my clients are already eating when they come to me.
The reason that they need liver support is because we are flooding ourselves with hundreds of toxins each and every day. All of us. It’s in our environment, our water, our food, our household goods, our clothing, our carpet, our walls, our kid’s toys, our make-up, our soup, our lotion, our morning coffee, our air...
Toxins are everywhere!
When I was younger, my mom used to tell me about the germs that were everywhere. When we went out in public she would warn me not to touch every surface (you know I still did). Then I would go to school and my teacher would talk to us about making sure that we washed our hands for a full two minutes every time we went to the bathroom, played outside, and before we ate any food (you know I never did). We were all so conscerned about germs. They were everywhere. What no one talked to me about was that a) many bacteria are healthful and b) that there were thousands of toxins on everything too that were a danger to my health. I should have been more worried about these.
There is a reason that they never told me. Historically, we have not had to worry about our food being contaminated, nor our air, or even the containers we ate our food out of. We used to make these from organic materials, like bones or wood. Now, we make them out of plastic.
I don’t want to get into all of the dirty details about the toxins themselves and what they do. What I do want to talk about today is the importance of the liver and what we can do to improve our health, protect our body, and support our detoxification pathways so we can live healthier within a world full of toxins.
My clients also need liver support because the liver is a critical organ that we place incredibly high demands on. There are many other organs involved in detoxification, but the liver plays a particularly important part. With a lifestyle of go-go-go and a food palette that caters to two tastes: sweet and salty, the liver rarely gets the rest and rejuvenation, or the nutrients it needs to function optimally.
The Phases of the Liver
There are two phases of the liver. Phase 1 is in charge of breaking down fat soluble toxins into water soluble “intermediaries”. On there own, these new substances can be more toxic than their parent compounds. Phase 2 of the liver plays a critical role in preventing toxic overload. Phase 2 of the liver binds these intermediaries with a second compound (there 6 different pathways depending on the type of toxin) to be neutralized and/or cleared from the body.
Foods that provide the nutrients for the liver to perform these two phases are often bitter foods. We rarely choose to eat these in the west. The good news is that it does not take much to initiate these pathways and encourage the body to process and flush out toxins.
There are several different foods and nutrients to consider when supporting the liver or detoxifying the body. It is also important to know how well each phase is functioning and to support them so that they are in balance. The main theme is to eat mostly leafy greens, especially bitter greens, soaked legumes, whole fruits (especially citrus and deep purple, red, and blue fruits), and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. The following foods are especially supportive:
Berries, apples, onions, grapes, red wine, chocolate, teas, brassicas, herbs, & spices
broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, kale, mustard, arugala, radish, collard greens, bok choy, watercress
Green leafy vegetables:
Especially bitter greens: dandelion, watercress, mustard greens,
Sea vegetables and algea
Garlic, onions, soaked beans
Omega-3 fatty acids:
Cold pressed olive oils, fatty fish, some nuts and seeds
... and, of course...
Plants help clean our environment for us and many absorb toxins in the air.
Sleep well and plenty.
It is during our sleep that the liver goes to work and rejuvenates itself
Drink lots of water!