The Liver: Why You Should Support This Organ - Bruce's Roots
Did you know Eating a Plant-Based Diet Helps Your Liver?
The liver is an amazing organ with over 500 functions. Did you know without it we would die within 24 hours? It manufactures and secretes bile, breaks down and regulates hormones, makes cholesterol, detoxifies, helps maintain blood glucose levels and metabolizes carbohydrates, fats and proteins. After the liver turns toxins into harmless substances they get eliminated through bowel movements, urination and through the skin. If those pathways are blocked, toxins build up and the liver becomes congested. It’s logical then to support your liver to ensure it is functioning properly.
How Does Your Liver Become Overburdened?
The standard North American Diet includes a high intake of fatty and processed foods high in omega-6 which is pro-inflammatory. It is important to ensure the body is getting enough omega-3’s as they are anti-inflammatory and to prevent disease. Both omega-6 and omega-3 are essential fatty acids that must be obtained through diet with an ideal ratio of 4:1. The Western diet may include a ratio of 16:1 or 25:1 which will contribute to higher free radicals in the body. Meat, dairy and eggs are all high in omega-6 and the hormones and antibiotics strain the liver even further. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is becoming a global epidemic and has been linked with an intake of fast food, pop and meat. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is diagnosed by an MD/ND when there is liver inflammation from a build-up of saturated fats, cholesterol and low polyunsaturated fats, fibre from vegetables and Vitamin C.
Our livers have to filter everything we ingest, breathe and absorb.
Chemical washing detergent, body lotion, perfume and cleaning products that aren’t natural increase toxic load. Pollution is an issue globally, but depending on where you live in the world, air quality may be contributing to a liver imbalance. If you’re on medication, I always recommend working alongside a naturopath to determine the cause of illness in hopes of decreasing or going off medication. This is not always possible and it’s important to discuss this with your physician. Heavy metals also impact the liver and can be passed down from our mother through breastfeeding, from fish or mercury fillings. Sorry everyone, but if you’re intake of caffeine, sugar, non-organic food, and alcohol are high you are making your liver work harder than it needs to!
When the liver is sluggish poor absorption of essential fatty acids and fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) is present alongside cholesterol imbalances. If you are interested in knowing your cholesterol level, ask your MD to test your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low density lip protein (LDL) levels. HDL is often referred to as the good cholesterol and it is important to know both numbers and look at the ratio. With regards to digestion bloating and gas are common as well as poor elimination. Other tell-tale signs your liver needs support are bad breath, body odour, headaches, weight gain or difficulty losing weight, irritable, hormone imbalances and any skin issues such as acne, eczema, rashes, psoriasis.
How Do You Know if Your Liver is Overburdened?
The first thing I always suggest to clients is to listen to your body, don’t ignore any signs. I also love Functional Blood Testing. I was a live blood analysis client and found this testing fascinating. A small prick with a lancet, a drop of blood on a glass slide and within minutes you see your blood on a TV monitor. I decided to travel back East and get trained shortly after. I started practicing as a Functional Blood Analyst and nutrition consultant in 2015 and now I'm a holistic nutritionist. By booking an appointment with me, Jordan Bruce, I can help identify any imbalances in your body including liver congestion. We will spend an hour discussing energy levels, stress, digestion, elimination, sleep, exercise, food sensitivities, supplements and most importantly diet. The client leaves the appointment with answers and a copy of all the imbalances present.
How to Support the Liver
By eating more plants! We want to eat plants that assist us in detoxification and increasing bile production as bile removes waste products. There are many different foods and herbs that help, but here is a list of my favourite.
1 - Bitter Greens
Any bitter green including arugula, dandelion and mustard greens will stimulate bile production and neutralize heavy metals. Include these in your salads or stir-fry’s.
2 - Water
Drinking water helps promote blood circulation, reduce nutrients so they can be used by the body and assists in the secretion of bile.
3 - Alliums
I could add onion and garlic to most of my meals because I love the taste and there are so many beneficial properties. It’s high in antioxidants as well as a sulfur compound, allicin, which supports the liver by detoxifying estrogen, mercury and food additives. It may also play a role in reducing LDL and preventing fatty liver disease. When cooking, crush your garlic then let it sit for 15 minutes to activate the healthy compounds.
4 - Cruciferous Vegetables
Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli contain sulphoraphane, a glucosinolate that support liver detoxification and hormone elimination (i.e. estrogen).
5 - Turmeric
The active constituent of turmeric, this will give you oh so many benefits! It’s an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancerous, helps stabilize blood sugar levels and improves bile flow. When consuming turmeric root pair it with a fat and black pepper for improved absorption.
6 - Beets
These root vegetables contain betaine which protect liver cells and bile ducts. Include these in your diet as they also purify the blood.
7 - Lemon
I recommend all my clients start their day with warm lemon water. It stimulates bile production, it’s high in vitamin C and it stimulates bowel movements. Sip on this alkaline beverage 20 minutes before eating.
There are so many other foods you can include that support the liver. A few of my favourites are milk thistle, parsley, ginger, green tea, artichoke, burdock root, hemp seeds, avocados, and probiotic rich foods. Interesting that they are all plants foods! What’s your favourite liver loving food?
Other Helpful Tips
Balancing your blood sugar levels will also assist the liver. Some tips I like to give clients is food combining to reduce insulin spikes, avoiding processed foods, eliminating coffee, including berberine, chromium or true cinnamon. Buying organic food is also a great tip, at the very least avoiding the Environmental Working Guides Dirty Dozen list of the top sprayed crops. I don’t recommend a high meat intake to any client as they are going to be consuming too many omega 6’s and not enough omega 3’s in their diet. If you do eat meat, try to consider it a condiment. Please choose quality oils avoiding al vegetable oils. I cook with avocado oil and coconut oil and save extra virgin olive oil for cold dishes. If you’re concerned about getting enough omega 3’s in your diet, then consider supplementing with fish oil or an algae oil to protect the liver and reduce inflammation. Clients with liver congestion often notice weight loss when supporting their liver as the toxins are stored in fat.
I would love to sip tea with you and assist you in your journey to living a healthier life. This is a test that requires fasting for 12 hours so morning appointments are offered preferred. I recommend bringing your breakfast with you, perhaps a smoothie with a Pranin Organic Smoothie Booster? As a Pure Foodie, I am a big advocate for the entire Pranin Organic line as it only includes organic fruits and vegetables, which makes your liver happy. If you are interested in improving your health or are curious about your overall health, feel free to email me or book online in my services section.
** Pranin Organic has partnered with me to offer you a discount on all your purchases! This isn't a one time offer. Use code BRUCESROOTS at checkout. **
If you have any questions please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.