"Is life worth living? It all depends on the liver."
This musing from the 19th-century philosopher William James had a double meaning even when he first wrote it. The liver is one of the most essential organs in the human body; filtering out every toxin and making sure your liver is properly functioning is one of the best ways to lead a happier and healthier life.
Along with filtering out toxins, the liver manages around 500 other vital functions in the body. Just a few of them include regulating the chemical balance of blood in the body, converting glucose into glycogen for energy storage, resisting infections and battling bacteria, metabolizing fat, ensuring blood can clot properly, and more.
How to Improve Liver Function
Making sure you have proper liver support helps prevent liver disease of all kinds. Some early signs you could be overworking your liver may look like having difficulty losing weight, suffering from digestive problems, having acne-prone skin, feeling moody or generally rundown, and getting sick more often. Luckily, many foods are good for your liver, and liver supplements can turn the tide.
Here are 10 natural methods to support and promote healthy liver function in your everyday life:
Eat a Balanced Diet
You don’t need to follow a specific liver disease diet for every meal in order to eat more foods good for the liver. The Liver Foundation recommends a balanced diet sourced from every food group, including grains, fruits, vegetables, meat and beans, milk, and oil.
This also means avoiding foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt. Fried fast food is an obvious no-no, but raw shellfish like oysters are also off the list of liver healthy foods.
Drink Plenty of Water
Dehydration is particularly hard on the liver since drinking water helps flush out toxins from the body. Experts suggest there are certain times of day when drinking water has the most positive impact. Try drinking water when you first wake up in the morning, before eating a meal, while exercising, and before bed.
Try a Detox Green Smoothie
This doctor-recommended green smoothie is an easy way to incorporate liver cleansing foods into your diet. Both greens and lemons are liver detox foods that should supercharge your liver’s filtering abilities when combined with hydrating cucumber. To make this “Best Parsley Smoothie,” blend 2.5 tablespoons of organic cilantro or parsley, ½ an organic cucumber, one handful of fresh organic greens like spinach, ½ of a peeled and seeded lemon, ½ a banana, some honey for sweetness, and your liquid of choice until smooth.
Revive MD’s Liver management formula is created to naturally support all aspects of healthy liver function. This daily supplement combines powerful TUDCA, NAC, and milk thistle to protect the liver from stress-induced damage, supporting the body’s natural detoxification process. Taking this supplement regularly may also prevent the build-up of hydrophobic bile acids, which can cause liver damage.
Drink More Coffee
Studies have shown that drinking coffee regularly may help insulate the liver against many forms of damage. Drinking a cup a day may reduce the risk of chronic liver disease, fatty liver disease, and even potentially liver cancer. Coffee seems to influence enzymes to reduce the build-up of fatty deposits in the liver and increase protective antioxidants.
Obesity dramatically increases your risk for fatty liver disease, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease can lead to cirrhosis or permanent scarring. While many factors, like genetics, stress, and your environment, increase your risk for obesity, you can help reduce the risk by aiming for about 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise.
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Drinking alcohol is one of the fastest ways to put your liver at risk, and cutting back is one of the easiest ways to improve its health. Regularly having over two to three drinks per day increases your likelihood of developing alcoholic liver disease, a condition that can be life-threatening. While you should also eat food good for liver health, one of the fastest ways to improve your liver’s functioning is to limit your intake of alcoholic beverages.
Get Enough Fiber
Fiber plays an essential role in a lesser-known but crucial body process called enterohepatic circulation. This system uses bile to usher fat-soluble toxins out of the body. Once processed, the bile should then be emptied out of the body and replaced by a fresh load created by the liver. But without enough fiber, the toxin-laden bile will be circulated back throughout the body, recontaminating different areas. Fiber-rich options like oatmeal, quinoa, broccoli, green peas, berries, and bananas are all examples of suitable foods for liver health.
Try Dandelion or Nettle Tea
Bitter greens like nettles, arugula, and dandelions all stimulate the production of enzymes that help digest your food, supporting liver function. Because of the tart flavor, they can also help curb sugar cravings and tame a sweet tooth. You can try adding arugula into your salad greens or drinking a cup of roasted dandelion tea.
Yoga for the Liver
Yoga can help keep you fit in more ways than one. Incorporating twisting poses into your routine can help stimulate lymphatic drainage in the body, facilitating the process of toxin removal. Practicing side stretches, yogic twists, and poses like Revolved Half Moon can all help support your liver’s functioning.
Your liver is one of the body’s most important organs - without it, you couldn’t survive more than a few days. When your liver is overworked, you may feel sick, sluggish, moody, and have digestive and skin issues. Luckily, there are many ways to support this vital organ’s healthy function. By eating a balanced diet, exercising, using a supplement, cutting back on alcohol, and drinking plenty of water (and the occasional green smoothie or dandelion tea), you can take care of your liver just as much as it takes care of you.