Written by Maggie Dion, Functional Nutritionist
Let your Liver Know you Love it
The holidays are an ideal time to soak up time with friends and family, enjoy some seasonal treats, and indulge in your favorite holiday traditions. However, sometimes this comes at the expense of your liver. For many, holiday celebrations equate to eating foods outside of your typical diet, drinking a little more alcohol than usual, and staying up late. Your liver can be thrown out of balance by even small changes such as staying awake a two hours past your bedtime, increased sugar consumption, eating lower quality food, and having just two to four drinks more than you normally consume.
Why should you care?
We all know that the liver is responsible for metabolizing all of the toxins we are exposed to or consume. But ours liver are also responsible for many other critical roles in the body spanning from regulating all of your body’s metabolism, fat and sugar digestion, and hormone production.
The liver also helps control your circadian rhythms, a sleep/ wake cycle that controls when you have energy throughout the day. Throwing off this internal clock can lead to issues such as intestinal permeability also known as “leaky gut,” increased pathogen overgrowths, fatty liver disease, diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
How do you know if your liver can use some love?
Common signs of an overburdened liver include:
Low energy and fatigue
Gas, bloating, and digestion issues
Lack of mental clarity, poor concentration, and lowered motivation
Poor quality sleep, especially waking up between 2am and 4am
Not being hungry for breakfast
Cravings for sugar
Muscle aches, and joint pain
Dark circles under your eyes
Mood shifts such as depression, anger, and irritability
Skin issues and acne
Increased body odor, increased fecal odor, and bad breath
Here are 5 simple ways you can let your liver know you love it:
Do any of the symptoms listed above sound familiar? If so, try implementing these simple diet and lifestyle changes to support your liver and balance your body.
1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Support your liver’s efforts by hydrating and escorting the toxin burden out of your body. I recommend drinking half of your body weight in ounces each day. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds try drinking 70 ounces of water a day.
2. Start to lessen the burden on your liver by cutting back on processed foods, sugar, gluten and alcohol. Focusing on food quality will also lower your exposure to food based toxins such as pesticides, herbicides, food chemicals, and preservatives.
3. Eat your greens! Greens are high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamins A, C, E, and K. Not to mention they contain anti-oxidants, fiber, folate, chlorophyll, and a bunch of other phytonutrients. Dark leafy greens help your liver, gallbladder, and kidney function, purify blood, improve circulation, strengthen your immune system, increase energy, and promote healthy intestinal flora. Some of my favorite greens include broccoli, broccolini, spinach, kale, dandelion greens, arugula, bok choy, and cabbage. If you don’t have a taste for greens, try a green complex powder.
4. Get moving! Sweating helps your body detox and excrete toxins that are building up in your system. I recommend moving for at least 20 minutes a day. This can include everything from walking, yoga to more intense exercise such as running, lifting weights or interval training. You can even sweat through less physical activities such as sitting in a sauna or taking a hot Epsom salt bath.
5. Practice self-care with some easy to implement detox tools. In addition to Epsom Salt baths, continue to support your liver and entire lymphatic system by adding in simple and affordable detox tools. Try incorporating two of the following detox tools into your morning routine: drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning, dry skin brushing, tongue scraping, contrast showers, or oil pulling.
It is now time to show your liver some love and put what you learned into action. Getting back on track and supporting your liver will help restore your energy, eliminate pesky symptoms, and help you feel your best. Doing so will empower you to start 2018 off strong and will give you a head start on your 2018 resolutions!
Good luck and good health!