5 do's and don'ts on keeping a healthy liver
The liver is a remarkable organ that can actually regenerate itself. It is important for many bodily processes, such as helping with metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats from food. Your cholesterol is also mainly made in your liver, and only a small amount is actually obtained from food. Furthermore, your liver also helps make different proteins for blood clotting and body fluid balancing. At last, one of the biggest jobs your liver does is detoxification of all types of toxins your body encounters. You need to love your liver, especially in the month of October, as it is National Liver Awareness Month.
- Stay Away from Alcohol! This is one of the biggest toxins that we voluntarily deliver to our bodies and what little gain it gives you; it pains your body in many more ways. Aim to stay away from it for at least the next 3 weeks.
- Ante Up on Antioxidants! Toxic chemicals, which come from a variety of sources, create free radical damage, and even our own bodily processes do too, and to combat this we need antioxidants. (The Dr. Oz show has a great visual demo with balloons to illustrate this concept) Vitamins C, E, and Zinc are great antioxidants that you can get in your diet by eating leafy greens like kale, spinach and collard greens, as well as nuts and seeds.
- Buck Up with B vitamins and Buckwheat! There are several B vitamins that help with the detoxification process, and if you continuously expose your body to toxins, i.e. alcohol you use up your stash of these vitamins. Buckwheat is a gluten free grain that is not only high in B vitamins, but in magnesium as well, which is needed to help detoxification pathways.
- Load Up on the Amino's! Amino Acids are the building blocks of protein, and serve different important roles, one which is converting fat soluble substances, many of which are toxic, into water soluble ones so that your body can excrete them through the liver and kidneys and out as urine. The two amino acids that do this the best are Methionine and Cysteine. Foods rich in these are: egg yolks, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, garlic, onion, sesame seeds and legumes.
- Spice it Up! Ginger and Turmeric are two excellent choices to add to your food. Ginger promotes overall liver health, while Turmeric is a great antioxidant. Ideally try freshly ground ginger, and consider drinking it as a tea, or mixing in with vegetables or even make curry!
Make a plan to eat some of these foods, today, and try new recipes if you have never cooked with these ingredients before. Remember if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. You only get one body in this life so take care of it, and it will take care of you!