With all of the spiked eggnog, mulled wine, and champagne toasts at parties this past holiday season, it’s hard not to have overindulged at least a little. When we do, one of the organs that works overtime to compensate is our liver. Sitting in upper right portion of our abdomens, just above the stomach, our livers perform the vital function of filtering everything we consume and inhale . When we tax it with excess alcohol and overly fatty foods, the 3 lb organ can really benefit from a little TLC.
How can we help a liver out? Eating a clean diet, drinking plenty of fresh water, and utilizing support herbs and supplements can be just the ticket to fixing our filter. Many of these helpful practices can be performed with little to no added expense, making them especially valuable, but not necessarily costly.
One of the best things you can do to help your live function better is to eat well. Garlic is a great addition to nearly all savory meals, and with high levels of allicin, it aids in the cleansing of the liver, too. Want an excuse to add some guac to your burrito bowl? Avocados are rich in glutathione, which assists the liver in filtering harmful toxins. Get in some leafy greens, as well. Adding an extra leaf of romaine to your sandwich or using collards for your wrap can give you a good dose of chlorophyll, which will help purify the blood of heavy metals and pesticides, which also burden the liver.
Staying hydrated is one of the best ways we can maintain health in all areas of our body, but drinking plenty of water helps the liver specifically by keeping the liquid content of the blood high. When we don’t drink enough of it, it can change the viscosity, which makes it harder to filter and makes the detoxification process more difficult. If drinking plain water isn’t your cup of tea, try actual tea. Green tea, known for its antioxidant content, is especially rich in catechins. These highly potent flavanoids are known to improve liver function. Not a tea-toataler? Adding lemons to your water not only adds Vitamin C, but it also aids in cleansing the liver, as well.
If you’ve been taxing your liver for a long while, reaching for some support herbs and supplements could be helpful for starting out the year with a clean bill of health. Many supplement stores carry liver cleanses that take all of the guess-work out of the detoxification process. They can be pricy however, so if a kit isn’t in the cards, look for singular herbs like milk thistle and dandelion root to assist with liver congestion. You can also look for the amino acid N-acetylcysteine, or NAC. NAC also increases glutathione synthesis, so if the avocados don’t do it for you, this is a more than suitable substitute. As always, it’s wise to consult with your physician before introducing any supplements into your daily regimen. Making sure there aren’t any interactions with anything you may already be taking, and that you’re healthy enough for supplements in the first place, will do more than just help your liver. It could just keep your alive.
When our diets include healthy foods, we get enough water to stay hydrated and flush out toxins, and we know what supplements to reach for when we’ve had a bit too much fun, it’s not hard to get our livers back in tip top shape. With the over 500 vital functions it performs to keep us going, giving it a little love now and again means it gets to love us back a little longer, too. Next time you raise a glass, do it to good health.