Fair Warning: This post contains very cute pictures of livers. After reading this post, your relationship with your liver might never be the same.
As a brand new Nutritional Therapist (yay!), or just human being, for that matter, I believe that it is VERY important to understand how our bodies work, in order to respect, appreciate, and care for them! I consider my body a loan from God, and I desire to be a good steward of it.
It is my goal to help introduce you to your body, one organ at a time. Today, it is my pleasure to introduce you to your LIVER!
Did you know….
- Your liver has over 500 important jobs?!
- Liver health is related to healthy hormone balance?
- Your liver is KEY in turning food into energy?
- If your LIVER is not healthy, YOU are not healthy.
Where is your liver? It’s under your right rib cage, below your right lung and to the right of your stomach. Your gallbladder is attached to it, and empties bile produced by the liver into the beginning of the small intestine. Thus, liver and gallbladder health are tightly linked.
What are some of the major roles that your liver plays?
- Converts nutrients into energy
- Stores energy for later
- Produces bile to
- digest fats
- eliminate toxins
- Breaks down excess hormones so they don’t accumulate and cause problems
- Excess hormones lead to cells becoming desensitized to the hormones. This is closely related to the negative symptoms surrounding your cycle, such as cramps & breast tenderness!
- Detoxifying blood
- Produces blood protein components (including albumin for clotting)
- Immune system helper – destroys bacteria & other invaders
- It also:
- Stores vitamins & minerals
- Synthesize cholesterol
What are some consequences of an unhealthy liver?
- Poor nutrient metabolism – leads to fatigue
- this stresses the pancreas & adrenal glands, leading to more complicated issues
- Stagnant bile (inability to digest & use fats) can cause gallstones and other gallbladder issues
- Toxicity in the body
- Poor hormone conjugation leads to hormones imbalances & resistance
What stresses the liver?
- Refined carbohydrates (bread, pasta, cereals, sugar, pastries, etc.)
- Refined sugars
- Fried foods, trans fats & hydrogenated oils
- Toxins (pesticides, pollution, cigarette smoke….)
- Emotional stress
What can you do?
- Minimize digestive stresses:
- DON’T eat processed or refined foods
- Reduce sugar intake
- Don’t over-eat
- DO eat a nutrient-dense whole-food diet
- lots of fresh organic veggies (fiber & antioxidants are critical to a healthy liver)
- Properly raised animal proteins (amino acids are needed for the detox pathways)
- Unprocessed naturally occurring fats (to stimulate the bile flow)
- Fresh pure water (to flush out toxins and keep everything flowing well)
- Consider gradually adding cultured veggies into your daily routine
- Minimize toxins
- Support elimination pathways
- Implement stress-management strategies
NOTE: It is NOT recommended to implement a more focused detox protocol until you have been on a “clean” “nutrient-dense whole foods” diet for three months, addressing more foundational issues, such as digestive health and blood sugar dysregulation! (Contact me for more information!)
Suddenly allowing your body to rapidly detoxify will overload it’s detox pathways, and the mobilized toxins may just go somewhere else in your body.
The dangers that I just mentioned can also occur with rapid weight loss, as dangerous toxins, such as heavy metals, are stored away in our fat cells to protect us from their negative effects. When the fat cells are broken down, the toxins are released into the blood stream. This is one reason why extreme weight-loss programs can be very damaging!
FYI: even with minor dietary changes that relieve some stress on your liver, toxins leaving your body can cause uncomfortable symptoms:
- Bad breath
- Sweating/ body odor
These will go away after a while as the toxins clear out more fully.
For more information, here’s another great post by a fellow Nutritional Therapist : Why We Need to Love Our Livers
other resources: American Liver Foundation
So, please do take care of your liver, and it will take care of you!