When was the last time you woke up and thought “How’s my liver today?” Probably not recently….or ever. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Before we relegate the liver to after-thought status, let’s take a look at how this incredible organ keeps us looking and feeling our best.
Located just below the diaphragm, primarily in the upper right part of the abdomen and behind the ribs, the liver is the largest solid organ in the body. Here’s a look at the liver’s crucial role in the complex human body:
- Manufactures proteins to help maintain the volume of blood and create blood clotting factors
- Metabolizes fats, including fatty acids and cholesterol
- Metabolizes and store carbohydrates, which are used as the source for the sugar in blood
- Forms and secretes bile to aid in the intestinal absorption of fats and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
- Eliminates the potentially harmful biochemical products produced by the body
- Detoxifies drugs, alcohol, and environmental toxins
Phew! That’s a lot of work for one organ! I’m sure you can understand why it is absolutely necessary to make sure our livers are in tip-top shape. But how can we tell if our livers are functioning properly? Unexplained nausea, unexplained headaches (including migraines), skin rashes and acne, hormonal imbalances, chronic constipation and lack of appetite in the morning are all signs that our livers are sending out an SOS signal.
Here are five ways to give your liver the care it needs:
- What You Eat: Eat organically grown foods that support liver function, like artichokes, oatmeal, garlic, cabbage, rosemary, turmeric, ginger, beets, orange foods and green foods.
- How You Eat: Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Eat slowly and chew your food until it’s become liquid to aid digestion.
- How You Move: Consistent, gentle activity like walking, hiking and biking improve circulation in and out of the liver. Make sure you have movement in other areas, too – aim for two-three bowel movements per day.
- What You Drink: Drink more water. Divide your body weight by 2 to get the number of ounces you need to drink daily. For example, a 150-pound person needs 75 ounces of water.
- How You Feel: In Chinese medicine, anger is the emotion associated with the liver. Acknowledge and work through anger using a journal (or seek professional help). Then, focus your attention on all the positive things in your life and acknowledge them daily.
For more than 2,000 years, healers have used milk thistle to treat liver ailments.
- Add more liver-friendly foods to your meal plans.
- Consciously chew your food; count how many times you chew before swallowing.
- Drink water. Do I sound like a broken record? It’s for your benefit and I want to keep you healthy and happy.
- Make a list of what makes you happy and engage in at least one “happy” activity every day.
These steps will help to keep your liver functioning at its optimal level.
Interested in detoxing your organs? Sign up for my ezine to be notified about registration for the upcoming Fabulous Fall Feast Clean Eating Plan (a whole foods cleanse). Here’s to your good health!