Ways to Support Your Liver

Liver loveAs mentioned in my other post, the liver plays a big role your hormones (estrogen, progesterone, etc). It also has many other roles, around 500! Can you imagine working that hard and not really getting any credit? I think I would quit if I were a liver. Among many roles, the liver plays a big role in digestion, metabolism, storage of essential nutrients and vitamins, the immunity and detoxification. One important role of the liver is to eliminate any toxins that come into our body, which can be a lot if you aren’t conscious of what foods you eat, what you put on your body and what you clean your house with.

Let me explain a little about how the liver works. The liver has two phases: phase one and phase two. In phase one the liver converts fat-soluble toxins into water-soluble toxins so the body can eliminate them. The body uses oxygen and enzymes to do this (this is called oxidation). Phase two is called conjugation and the liver uses sulfur and amino acids to excrete the toxins into the bile. Both of these phases need to work together in order for the toxins to get eliminated. You don’t want one phase to stop working!

I think it’s time to give our liver some more love! The main way to support your liver is to eat a clean, plant-based diet. Foods that come straight from the earth without any processing or manipulating are easier for your body to process . These foods include vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and grass-fed organic meat (if you choose to eat meat). There are also some specific herbs and foods that give your liver extra support.

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1. Lemons
Lemons help stimulate the liver and get digestive juices flowing. Use lemons in homemade salad dressing, put in water or squeeze over a fresh fruit salad.

2. Greens
I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times, but greens are powerhouses! Not only do they support the liver, but they also have calcium, Vitamin C, E , folate and more.

3. Dandelion
I had to include this green separately from the greens section because the bitter dandelion green is an amazing liver cleanser. A great way to include dandelion into your diet is by drinking dandelion tea (it doesn’t have much of a taste, so it’s easy to drink). Or you can sauté the greens into your stir-fry or juice a handful.

4. Milk Thistle
Milk thistle helps with phase two. It essentially repairs cells in the liver and stimulates bile production. From what I’ve read it’s best to consume milk thistle in seed form, not plant. Take it in capsules or get the seeds and grind them up and put them in smoothies.

Beans and Veggies

Add broccoli, onions and other sulfer rich foods to stir frys…yum!

5. Sulfur Rich Vegetables

Sulfur rich vegetables, such as onions, garlic and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, etc), help with phase two.

6. Turmeric
Put this amazing yellow spice in everything such as your vegetables, soups, smoothies, teas and more! This powerful spice has so many amazing benefits, including removing dietary carcinogens.

7. Foods High in Cysteine and Methionine
As mentioned above amino acids are important for the phase two detoxification process. Cysteine and methionine are two important amino acids that you should make sure are in your diet. Vegan sources include: nuts, seeds and beans. Other sources include meats, eggs and dairy.

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