The liver is the body’s major weapon against environmental and chemical toxins. Often called the body’s filter, your liver breaks down air and water pollutants as well as hazardous chemicals, turning them into less-harmful compounds that can be escorted out of your body.
But, during the holiday season especially when people are more likely to indulge, your liver can face a constant barrage of toxins from the food you eat, the alcohol you drink, and the products you use. This intake can overwhelm and even damage the liver. The following simple lifestyle changes can help keep your liver healthy and functioning optimally this holiday season and beyond.
Your diet can also support liver health if you choose foods that are naturally detoxifying. Topping the list are fresh fruits and vegetables, specifically sulfur-rich foods such as onions, garlic, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale. One recent study at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, found that the organosulfur compounds in garlic have a protective effect on the mitochondria in liver cells. A new finding in the journal Mutation Research focused on brussel sprout’s ability to support both Phase I and Phase II detoxification.
Vegetables are also an excellent source of fiber, which helps toxins to move through your digestive tract, reducing stress on your liver. But choose your produce wisely. Conventionally grown fruits and vegetables may harbor pesticide residue that, over time, accumulates in the body’s fatty tissue. This is especially true for certain foods like apples, blueberries, celery, grapes, lettuce, peaches, peppers, potatoes, spinach, and strawberries.
It’s also smart to choose organic or grass-fed meat and poultry, as conventional options may be laced with growth hormones or antibiotics. And opt for low-mercury, wild caught seafood when possible to reduce contaminants.
For optimal liver health, it’s smart to consume alcohol in moderation. Alcohol can destroy liver cells and lead to damage that causes fatty liver, inflammation, alcoholic hepatitis, or cirrhosis. While current recommendations state that a man should drink no more than two drinks per day and a woman just one, it’s best to indulge in no more than one or two drinks per week. If you have an existing liver condition, total abstinence is the best policy.
What should you drink? Water is the number one choice. To get even more value from drinking water, add a green powdered drink mix for extra nutrients. Kyo-Greens Sprouts Blend includes grains, beans, FOS (chicory root) and grasses to promote regularity and digestive health.
Coffee has also been shown to protect the liver by optimizing the flow of bile. Plus, a recent study by the World Cancer Research Fund International suggests that the brew reduces the risk of developing liver cancer. In fact, each cup of coffee may lower the risk of liver cancer by as much as 14%. Other research suggests that the phenolic compounds in coffee may be responsible for these benefits. Have some coffee this holiday season, but don’t overdo it!
Recent studies suggest that adopting a regular exercise program helps to optimize liver function. Researchers speculate that it may impact the liver by reducing the risk of insulin resistance–a key promoter of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Check out your local gym this holiday season for exercise classes that boost your heart rate, such as step aerobics, spin or Zumba. Any type of cardio can be effective for getting your heart rate up and protecting your liver. If you prefer outdoor activity, try walking or biking outside this holiday season.
The holiday season can provide some tough challenges for your liver when it comes to filtering out harmful toxins from your body. But, by adopting simple lifestyle changes you can keep your liver functioning at its best throughout this holiday season and the year ahead.
Try our Kyolic Liver Support to help protect and detoxify your liver.
This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.