The liver is one of the largest internal organs in the body and performs more than 500 functions, including getting rid of the toxins in the body. Ideally, the liver should cleanse itself. However, for most people, it does not function optimally as it is overburdened with both environmental and dietary toxins. Poor lifestyles, unhealthy eating habits, and the presence of dangerous pesticides and heavy metals in food are factors responsible for over-stressing our liver. So, helping out your vital organ with natural detoxification methods will counter the harmful effects of chemicals and pollutants by reducing the inflammation and aiding detoxification pathways. Here are a few safe and effective habits that will keep your liver healthy, and help it do its job better.
1. Make sure your diet is liver and gut-friendly – Your diet should be balanced and healthy, and must contain nutrients that promote gut and liver health. A 6% reduction in body weight can reduce the fat levels in your liver by up to 40%, taking a massive load off the body’s detoxifying organ. Maintain ideal weight, avoid processed foods, addictive drinks like alcohol and caffeine, and consume more of whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, sprouts, seeds, nuts, and beans. Drink 3 to 4 liters of water, as it promotes proper digestion and helps the lymphatic system function optimally.
2. Try intermittent fasting – Once you have overhauled your diet regimen, you should try intermittent fasting once every week. Research has shown that, during fasting, the liver cells produce a protein that helps improve sugar metabolism and reduces the levels of fat. Fasting also promotes Autophagy, which is when the healthy cells in the body eat up the unhealthy cells, promoting cellular Detox. You can start with an 18-hour fast, and confine all the eating to the remaining 6-hour window. Once you try this for a week, you will begin to see visible changes in your mood and energy.
3. Use supplements strategically – Certain supplements have shown to support liver health by reducing inflammation, guarding the body against injuries from toxins or chemicals, stimulating the production of bile, and more. Buttermilk thistle has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that it helps regenerate liver cells and protects it from damage caused by harmful substances like acetaminophen and alcohol. It also boosts levels of glutathione, which is a potent antioxidant that fights free radical damage. Similarly, turmeric protects the liver from injury by reducing the oxidative stress and increasing the production of glutathione. It also stimulates the production of bile, which is responsible for digesting fats in our small intestine.
4. Sweat session – Detoxification is contingent on two main factors – avoiding exposure to toxic substances, and removing any that are already present in the body. There are two ways to get rid of the toxins in your body. The first method is to improve the functioning of the liver, and the second method is to sweat them out. The skin is the largest organ in our body, and sweating is the most effective way to get toxins out of your system. While aerobic exercises are an excellent way to induce sweat, a steam session at a naturopathic facility is much more efficient.
5. Yoga – Yoga asana offers several benefits, including detoxification. With twist variations and proper alignment, you can significantly improve digestion and detoxify your liver, which will help remove toxins from your body. Marichyasana is very effective at massaging the internal organs and promoting optimal function. Sit down on the ground with your legs stretched out in front of you. Make sure your spine is erect, and your core muscles are engaged. Bend the right knee and plant the right foot’s sole beside the stretched left knee. Inhale, and lift your spine and arms towards the ceiling. As you exhale, slowly twist over the right shoulder, place the right palm on the ground in the direction of your gaze while the left elbow is pressed against the outside of the right knee. Stay in this position for five breaths and repeat it on the other side as well. Make sure you practice it under the guidance of a certified yoga instructor before you master it.
A healthy liver is essential for maintaining overall health, and you can do that without the aid of an expensive diet. Research-backed diet changes and a healthy lifestyle will go a long way to improving liver function in promoting good health.