Liver function is a sign of your health – is your liver health up to scratch?
Let’s face it, the liver is not something many of us think about, but this football-sized, funny-shaped organ is probably one of the most critical to your health, and it’s one we just have to pay special attention to.
If your liver is under stress and out of balance, you can forget ever being in good shape, having energy or being free from illness. And you’ll age twice as fast.
It’s time for us to give our liver function some love.
But if you’re thinking full on detoxes (I’ve tried them…Not pretty…), I have TWO pieces of good news for you:
1) you can protect dramatically improve liver function through a few REALLY simple, everyday actions that I’m about to share with you below
2) no intense detoxes are required for amazing liver health…
All you need to do it follow my five simple, everyday steps below to protect and nourish your liver on a daily basis.
Liver Function is Critical to Your Health
Why Your Liver Health Matters:
The liver is where we filter everything we consume and neutralise most of the toxins that find their way into our body.
It is constantly working it’s socks off and we need to look after it.
The liver works every day to:
- Clean & Filter the Blood: removes toxins, dead and unhealthy cells, bacteria, chemicals etc from the blood before they pass into the digestive tract, the skin, the respiratory system and so on.
- Produces Bile: our body needs bile to digest and use the fats in our food throughout the body – this is a critical function
- Create Proteins: to repair and regenerate tissues and cells throughout the body
- Synthesise Cholesterol: cholesterol is absolutely vital throughout the body and the liver works to deliver it to our cells
- Metabolism Function: the liver breaks down carbohydrates, proteins and fats from the food we eat and turns them into useful compounds. This drives our metabolism.
- Processes Fructose: unlike glucose that can be metabolised anywhere in the body, the liver is the only organ that can process fructose. This is why we need to be careful of consuming too much and stressing the liver
- Energy Stores: the liver also works to store glycogen that can fuel the body later – as it is mobilised on demand
- Nutrient Stores: the liver also stores away nutrients ready for later release when needed, on demand.
- Band reakdown of Unneeded Components: the liver also breaks down a lot of the unrequited components in the body such as insulin, hormones and dead cells, acting as a cleaning house for the body.
As you can imagine, if any one of those jobs became compromised you’d feel it in your health and energy and you’d look it too.
I can’t stress it enough – your liver function is vital, and looking after yourself maximise your liver health is so simple!
1. Start the Day with Lemon Water
Let me guess, you’ve heard that before?
BUT it turns out that perhaps the main benefit of lemon is actually it’s protective action for your liver health – something not many people have realised.
Lemon water can help the liver specifically in two ways.
Firstly, the citrate in lemons is a naturally occurring inhibitor of toxins – so it blocks the toxic effect of any toxins you may have consumed or absorbed.
And then secondly, in this double action, the citric acid in lemons enhances your body’s ability to naturally flush any toxins out.
Hesperidin (a citrus bioflavonoid found in lemons) has also been found to protect the liver from damage.
It’s interesting to note in many of the studies that the peel contains many of the detoxifying and enzyme-stimulating nutrients and compounds, so I would recommend buying organic lemons and including some of the peel in your water too.
How to Get Started Today: no matter the time of day now I recommend having a glass of lemon water – see below for the recipes, but it’s basically 1/3 of a lemon (or more or less, up to you) squeezed into a glass of warm water.
I recommend starting each day with a glass to get the metabolism going, hydrate, alkalise and because it’s delicious!
*after drinking a glass of lemon water, wash your mouth out with plain water to make sure the citric acids haven’t settled into any tooth cavities.
2. Include Turmeric Everywhere
I absolutely love turmeric and include it in my daily life as much as possible. It’s probably the worlds most scientifically researched natural compound – in fact GreenMedInfo have categorised over 600 studies on turmeric and curcurmin (it’s most important compound).
Some of the astonishing benefits that have been proven include:
- Destroying Multi-Drug Resistant Cancer
- Destroying Cancer Stem Cells (arguably, the root of all cancer)
- Protecting Against Radiation-Induced Damage
- Reducing Unhealthy Levels of Inflammation
- Protecting Against Heavy Metal Toxicity
- Preventing and Reversing Alzheimer’s Disease Associated Pathologies
And of course, your liver function is vital in many of these benefits.
Specifically, turmeric has been proven to dramatically improve liver health, to help rebuild and regenerate the liver, and also has been shown to fight and help prevent liver cancer.
And as a powerful anti-inflammatory, turmeric also prevents many of the conditions that can have a serious knock-on effect to your liver function, such as the prevention of leaky gut.
How to Get Started Today: to boost your liver function, I recommend you include turmeric wherever you can: grated into salads, in juices and smoothies, stewed in teas, blended into soups. You can see some of these recipes and a wider guide to incorporating turmeric below.
It’s worth noting that ginger also has a lot of these same properties and goes beautifully with the flavour of turmeric, so you can definitely use both together!
It’s also worth a mention that research has shown that turmeric becomes more bioavailable when it’s been consumed alongside piperine, a compound in cracked black pepper – so it’s a good idea to remember this in your recipes!
3. Dress with Sesame Oil
Sesame seeds are a nutrient powerhouse. They contain an excellent amount of copper, and also are a very good source of manganese, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, molybdenum and selenium.
In addition to these important nutrients, sesame oil is also rich in an anti-inflammatory lignan known as “sesamin.”
Sesamin is widely researched and known for benefits including:
- Lowering ‘bad’ cholesterol, but maintaining good cholesterol
- Decreasing blood pressure
- It shows potential to be an anti-cancer nutrient
- Being rich in antioxidants, helps slow the aging process
- Regulating the immune system
- Stabilising and lowering blood sugar
Specific to the liver function, sesamin has been proven to protect against liver damage from two of the biggest sources of liver stress: alcohol and drug (pharmaceutical and recreational) use.
Sesamin helps fight the damage from toxin consumption/absorption (that leads to oxidative stress) by increasing the body’s intracellular levels of glutathione, a potent antioxidant (known as the mother of all antioxidants – as it is a building block all antioxidants need).
How to Get Started Today: the easiest way to incorporate sesame oil into your daily life is through using it in dressings, dips and sauces. Sesame has a lovely nutty flavour and adds a huge deal of depth to salads, stir fries, sauces and dressings.
Sesame is also the primary ingredient in tahini so feel free to use this delicious dressing/dip/sauce whenever it takes your fancy (see the recipe below for how to make your own).
4. Make Alkaline Juices Daily
A fresh, green juice is the easiest, fastest and tastiest way to get an abundance of energy-giving, nutrient-dense foods into your body, in a way that is easy for your body to absorb and use those nutrients. In short, it rocks.
And it is especially helpful to the liver function, as it provides it with practically every single nutrient it needs to detoxify, repair, regenerate and operate optimally.
A green juice (made yourself, not shop bought) will contain hundreds of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and of course a heap of chlorophyll which is essential for cleansing and building new blood cells (which further supports the liver).
It is important that you don’t include fruits in your green juices, as the fructose (minus the fiber) will stress the liver no end. It makes me laugh and shake my head to see so many ‘liver detox juices’ that contain a heap of fruit.
Remember – fructose can only be processed by the liver and is a primary cause of fatty liver – so leave the fruit out.
Base your green drink on delicious green foods such as kale, spinach, watercress, beets, celery, cucumber and herbs & spices such as ginger, turmeric, basil, coriander (cilantro), parsley and so on.
Remember in the study of the World’s most Powerhouse Fruits & Vegetables, 38 of the top 41 are alkaline vegetables, and the entire top 15 most powerhouse foods are all leafy green vegetables.
How to Get Started Today: By having a fresh green, alkaline, veggie juice daily (or at least 3-4 times per week) you will be practically guaranteeing your liver health. Try a simple recipe of 1/2 cucumber, 1 stick of celery, a handful of spinach, a handful of kale and a little ginger. This is a good one to get started.
And if you don’t have a juicer, just get a cheap one for now and get going – you can always research a better one (such as the Hurom or Kuvings) later.
5. Hydrate with Herbal Teas
Being properly hydrated is critical for liver health, and herbal teas are a great way to flavour your water…and if you pick the right teas you’ll be adding liver-healing herbs right into your daily life too!
This is one of the easiest – who doesn’t love a cup of tea? You can very easily make it a liver-healing tea and you’re all good to go!
Herbs you want to look out for in teas and tea blends include:
Milk Thistle (silymarin): A highly recommended herb for liver health and to support the liver function in processing toxins.
Dandelion: often mixed with milk thistle in tea blends, and that, my friends, is an excellent combination. Dandelion is a good source of most major vitamins and it also provides iron, potassium, and zinc – three very alkaline minerals.
However, when it comes to liver function, it’s benefit comes from stimulating the production of bile and its flow between the gall bladder and liver to improve liver function and overall health.
Burdock root: a fantastic blood purifier, used extensively by Ayurvedic medicine practitioners. Burdock root, similar to dandelion, stimulates bile flow while helping a weakened liver by purifying the blood and restoring damaged cells.
Chicory Root: Known for its vibrant blue flowers, chicory is also a medicinal herb celebrated for its ability to help cleanse the liver.
Peppermint: we often associate peppermint with helping sooth the digestive system, but it is also a major liver supporter. Peppermint also stimulates bile flow and relaxes bile ducts, which is a great help in breaking down fats (easing the pressure on the liver). It also helps reduce bad cholesterol, making the liver’s task of filtering toxins a heck of a lot easier.
How to Get Started Today: simply swap your regular tea for a herbal tea containing any of the above ingredients! You can also get a portable tea flask, such as the Tea Tank that you can brew and chill for flavoured water on-the-go.
Getting the proper amount of hydration each day supports the liver by assisting with the removal of toxins, but by adding in these herbs you’re making the job ten times faster and easier, while rebuilding your liver health too.
Liver Health is EASY!
In all of my guides and training/courses I try to keep reiterating that getting vibrant health, energy and the body you deserve can be simple, easy and fun. So often things are overcomplicated, but this guide again goes to show that if you focus on the few, most impactful things you can get the best result with minimal effort.
So go forth, have delicious herbal teas, dress your salads with sesame oil or tahini from time to time, try to have a green juice a few times a week, remember to sneak turmeric in where you can and kick off your day with that lovely lemon water.
All sound easy? Yep. And your liver is going to LOVE you for it…and when your liver function is operating optimally, you’ll see dramatic changes to your health in so many ways.
Any other ideas, questions or tips? Leave me a comment below.
Stay alkaline & let’s get energized,
Liver Function Guide: Related Resources
Steps to Increase Liver Function: Scientific Research & References
Altug E, Sonmez K, Turkyilmaz Z, Karabulut R, Gulbahar O, Yilmaz G, Ercin U, Can Basaklar A. Effect of ginger extract on liver damage in experimental obstructive jaundice produced by main bile duct ligation. Acta Chir Belg. 2013 Jan-Feb;113(1):8-13.
Asai A, Nakagawa K, Miyazawa T. Antioxidative effects of turmeric, rosemary and capsicum extracts on membrane phospholipid peroxidation and liver lipid metabolism in mice. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 1999 Dec;63(12):2118-22. 1999. PMID:7550.
Berhow MA, Bennett RD, Poling SM, et al. Acylated flavonoids in callus cultures of Citrus aurantifolia. Phytochemistry 1994 Jul;36(5):1225-7. 1994. PMID:13170.
Chandrasekaran VR,Wan CH, Liu LL, Hsu DZ, Liu MY. Effect of sesame oil against acetaminophen-induced acute oxidative hepatic damage in rats. Shock 2008;30:217e21.
Chandrasekaran VR, Chien SP, Hsu DZ, Chang YC, Liu MY. Effects of sesame oil against after the onset of acetaminophen-induced acute hepatic injury in rats. J Parenter Enteral Nutr 2010;34:567e73
Deshpande UR, Gadre SG, Raste AS, et al. Protective effect of turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) extract on carbon tetrachloride-induced liver damage in rats. Indian J Exp Biol 1998 Jun;36(6):573-7. 1998. PMID:7740.
Ho E, Clarke JD, Dashwood RH. Dietary sulforaphane, a histone deacetylase inhibitor for cancer prevention. J Nutr. 2009 Dec;139(12):2393-6. 2009.
Konsue N, Ioannides C. Modulation of carcinogen-metabolising cytochromes P450 in human liver by the chemopreventive phytochemical phenethyl isothiocyanate, a constituent of cruciferous vegetables. Toxicology. 2010 Feb 9;268(3):184-90. 2010.
Namiki M. Nutraceutical functions of sesame: a review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2007;47:651e73.
Sahebkar A. Potential efficacy of ginger as a natural supplement for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. World J Gastroenterol. 2011 Jan 14; 17(2): 271–272.
Tomimori N, Tanaka Y, Kitagawa Y, Fujii W, Sakakibara Y, Shibata H. Pharmacokinetics and safety of the sesame lignans, sesamin and episesamin, in healthy subjects. Biopharm Drug Dispos 2013;34:462e73.
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