The Liver is Detox Central for your body!
Your liver is involved in a vast number of physiological functions, the most critical of which include removing toxins from the body, producing bile (which is required for the breakdown of the fats you consume) and helping to regulate your metabolism.
If it’s not functioning at its best, you may find yourself feeling sluggish, tired, constipated, nauseous or bloated. These simple tips will help you look after your liver and support its healthy function.
1. Eat lightly
Many of the dietary habits that contribute to weight gain also add to the liver’s metabolic load, and over time, may compromise its function. In particular, make sure to limit your intake of fast food and other high-calorie meals, especially those involving fried foods. Instead, prepare your meals at home so that you can retain control over the ingredients that are included, the way they’re prepared, and the portion sizes you consume.
2. Choose healthy fats
Saturated fats are best known for the role they often play (along with other factors) in contributing to cholesterol problems and poor cardiovascular health, but did you know that they may also place a strain on your liver? That means that if you’re keen to support your liver health, you’re best to avoid fatty meats (including bacon and salami), and instead consume limited quantities of healthier oils, such as avocados, extra virgin olive oil, and nuts and seeds.
3. Skip soft drinks and other sugary food and drinks
Consuming large quantities of simple sugars (carbohydrates) like those found in soft drinks, cakes, lollies and even fruit juice may also have an impact on your liver health. Switch to sources of carbohydrate that have a more positive effect on your metabolic health instead, such as whole grains and fresh fruit.
4. Go easy on the alcohol
The effects of excess alcohol on the liver are well known, and are all too familiar to anyone who has ever experienced a hangover! While most people find that they can consume alcohol in small quantities without experiencing the headaches, dehydration, tummy upset and feelings of sluggishness that occur after over-indulgence, alcohol is still a toxin, and consequently needs to be metabolised via the liver. Give your liver a break from it by abstaining from alcohol (either permanently or for a few weeks at time), and if you do decide to drink, stick to a maximum of two serves of alcohol per day, with several alcohol-free days each week.
4. Milk Thistle has antioxidant benefits for liver health
The processes your liver uses to detoxify toxins involve the generation of free radicals, volatile chemicals that can have negative effects on many different body tissues, including those of the liver itself. Ideally, antioxidants will be present in adequate quantities to mop up or ‘quench’ the free radicals, limiting the damage that they can cause. However, if free radicals are present in large quantities or your antioxidant status is compromised (e.g. due to poor dietary habits), a condition called oxidative stress may develop, and may contribute to liver dysfunction and other health issues.
The herb Milk Thistle contains silybin and other antioxidant compounds that support the health of the liver and may help to protect it from free radical damage. In Western herbal medicine, it has also traditionally been used to help protect liver cells from toxin damage and promote the regeneration of damaged cells. (TIP: Look for a super-strength formula providing 21g Milk Thistle per dose, and make sure that it’s standardised for its levels of antioxidant constituents such as silybin).
6. Chinese herbs to support your liver and gall bladder function
If you’re experiencing symptoms of liver and gall bladder dysfunction (like indigestion, flatulence, bloating, constipation or haemorrhoids), traditional Chinese medicine may provide valuable support. Herbs to consider include Goji Berries, Rehmannia, Asian Dandelion, Baical Skullcap and Citrus Peel (also known as Chen Pi).
Together with Milk Thistle, this synergistic blend of traditional Chinese herbs works by supporting liver metabolism, enhancing detoxification, promoting the elimination of metabolic wastes, supporting the production and flow of bile, and helping to protect the liver against inflammation and free radical damage.
Fusion Health, premium quality Australian-made supplements that combine the ancient wisdom of Chinese medicine and the science of modern Western herbalism, including:
- Fusion Milk Thistle: Super-strength, standardised Milk Thistle extract to support liver health and relieve digestive discomfort
- Fusion Liver Tonic: A synergistic blend of Chinese herbs traditionally used to support healthy liver and gall bladder function
Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare practitioner.
Yasutake K, et al. Dietary habits and behaviours associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. World J Gastroenterol 2014;20(7):1756-67
Guo R, et al. Beneficial mechanisms of aerobic exercise on hepatic lipid metabolism in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Hepatobiliary Pancreat Dis Int 2015;14:139-144