Liver Love & Loaders:

But first lets get one thing clear. There is a fundamental difference between conventional and natural medicine when it comes to treating health and disease of the liver.

Disease of the liver is detected through a liver function test via the blood. Which will only be detected when there is some degree of liver damage already present. Therefore, its unlikely you will hear your doctor say, “oh your liver is looking a little sluggish, here is something to help with that”. In fact, some pharmaceuticals are actually known to directly contribute to liver damage. Think regular use of paracetamol, ibuprofen, antibiotics, antidepressants and the contraceptive pill to name a few.

Naturopaths on the other hand, are always looking for ways to support the health and function of the life sustaining liver. This is often done through correct nutrition, lifestyle modifications and herbal medicine. From a naturopathic point of view, the health and vitality of a person is very much determined by the health and vitality of the liver.

But why is that you might ask? Imagine your liver as the metabolic powerhouse of your body. Without question it is the most important organ of metabolism in the human body and is responsible for some pretty important processes. It’s constantly at work to remove toxins from the blood, make important proteins, digest carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals, regulate blood sugar and process hormones. The liver’s job is to generally keep us free from dis-ease. Image how much harder it needs to work when we load it with our modern lifestyles of stress, caffeine, alcohol, drugs, medications, processed foods and environmental toxins. Not ideal but a reality for most.

Common warning signs your liver may need some love:

  • Fatigue.
  • Nausea.
  • Poor digestion – bloating, gas constipation.
  • Low appetite – particularly in the morning.
  • Acne or regular breakouts.
  • Headaches or migraines. 
  • Increased sensitivity to alcohol, caffeine and fatty foods.
  • Dark circles around the eyes.
  • Halitosis (bad breath) or a yellow-coated tongue.
  • PMS or morning sickness.
  • Right upper quadrant pain.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Fluid retention or oedema.

Liver loving foods and herbs:

Ok so you’re a modern day human, you love a few luxuries of life, who doesn’t! But you may have noticed your actually presenting with some of the above symptoms. So how can we love our liver a little more? Unfortunately by avoiding all the fun stuff like coffee, alcohol sugars, processed fats and carbohydrates (of course all in moderation).

Instead incorporate and increase sour foods into the diet, like lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. Dark leafy greens daily, from the Brassica family. Things like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach and silver beet. These vegetables contain compounds called glucosinlates that promote detoxification, which is what we want for a healthy functioning liver.

Anything that is bitter will encourage the production and flow of bile, which will help liver function. Gentle cholertic herbs such as dandelion root and artichoke act as gentle digestive tonics to encourage regular and healthy bowl movements to remove toxins. Furthermore, focus on herbs that help the liver process its daily burden of toxins. These are herbs that specifically boost phase II detoxification pathways and include green tea, turmeric, rosemary and garlic and of course don’t forget regular consumption of water. It’s important to note, that these nutrition suggestions may not suit everyone, depending on your own individual health picture. However, they are a good start.

If you have been experiencing some of the above warning signs, recently undergone surgery, antibiotic use, have been on long-term medications, or your current lifestyle and diet is just no longer serving you, I can offer more in-depth liver loving support to suit your individual needs. Book in for a 15minute discovery call to see if this is right for you.

Looking after your liver may be the single most important thing you can do for your health this year.

Jana Taylor – Naturopath and Medical Herbalist.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for educational purposes only. It is not designed to diagnose, treat or cure. For your individual health concerns, it is important to discuss these with a health professional.