The liver is one of the hardest working organs in our bodies and with the festive gluttonous season upon us, it can take a real pounding with high fat, refined sugars and alcohol.
If you are feeling tired or sluggish, it may very well be that your liver is working overtime trying to detoxify all of these rich foods and beverages. And as your liver is partly responsible for your metabolism, to have it working in top order is key to our overall health and any healthy eating diet plan we are on.
Of course, there is no harm in having a treat every now and then, indulging on some brandy butter or sparkling wine is fine. The point to remember is to not to over indulge consistently. It is the repetition and consistent binging which is not good for us.
Thankfully, there is no need to go on any radical cleanse or detox to assist the functioning of your liver. You can take some simple steps to be able to improve its functioning resulting in you feeling a million dollars. There is also a simple and achievable 3 day cleanse in our Spring and Summer Cookbook.
Some of the areas that are best to avoid if you are trying to assist in better liver functioning are:
Excessive refined sugar
Today we eat an excessive amount of sugar added to our foods in processing. Even in foods which do not taste sweet.
When we talk about excessive sugar we are specifically talked about refined sugars, NOT the sugars in fruits and dairy. The sugars found in fruit and dairy are intrinsic to the food and have many nutrients associated with them. It is the sugar which is extrinsically added or which has no other nutritional benefit besides macronutrients like saturated fat or minerals like sodium. Sweets, pastries, milk and white chocolates in excess, excessive juice consumption and soft drinks.
Once people slowly decrease their intake of processed and refined sugars, they might even get withdrawal symptoms which although does not feel great, shows us symptomatically that it was not beneficial for our bodies in the first place.
Fats, especially trans-fats and saturated fats take longer for our bodies to process as the first call of energy comes from glucose and carbohydrates, then protein, then fats.
The liver processes fats by producing the bile to break it down. Excessive fat intake means that the liver has to work harder, potentially putting it under stress.
Saturated fats are often associated with foods which are also high in sodium like fried foods and chips, along with sugar such as chocolate bars and pastries. This combination makes it even harder for the body and liver to break down.
One of the great offenders over the festive period, alcohol, is processed by the liver as it is deemed a toxic substance. The liver detoxifies it for our bodies so we are not poisoned by it.
The more alcohol you consume, the harder your liver has to work to break down the alcohol and therefore the functioning of your liver for foods and other nutrients is diminished.
Excessive consumption can lead to great health issues and even permanent damage.
If there is no permanent damage, with simple cleansing and clean eating, your liver will repair itself. The important point with alcohol is moderation.
And the simple measure you can take to improve your liver functioning and lift your digestion and health are:
Up to 3 litres a day. Water is the best way in which to flush out our toxins in our livers and our bodies and also assist in our digestive systems and excretion.
From wholegrain carbohydrates, nuts and seeds and all the delicious non-starchy vegetables like celery, leafy greans, peas and beans and radishes. Fibre is crucial as it assists in the waste removal of the toxins by ‘flushing’ the toxins excreted by the liver in the intestines, through the digestive system and into the toilet.
Exercise is responsible for so much but most importantly in regulating and assisting the rate of your metabolism. This will aid the liver functioning by increasing your metabolism and helping with the processing of toxins and the removal of waste.