Health column: Love your liver

Hot water with lemon encourages bile production which helps the liver excrete toxins.
Hot water with lemon encourages bile production which helps the liver excrete toxins.
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The liver is a marvellous piece of kit. Without it on top form, your hormones are going to be totally out of whack, and you’re going to have all kinds of problems with weight gain, cellulite and low energy.

After your skin, the liver is the largest organ in your body. It performs over 500 different jobs, mainly linked to detoxifying, fat burning and regulating hormones…

Your liver gets rid of everything your body cannot use or that are toxic (detoxification). It also helps break down and get rid of excess hormones once they’ve done their job. For women, we’re mainly talking about oestrogen, but if your liver isn’t up to the job, it won’t excrete this oestrogen properly. There are lots of health conditions linked to having too much oestrogen (oestrogen dominance) such as menstrual irregularities, endometriosis and fibroids. If your body is struggling to get rid of testosterone you might get symptoms like acne and increased facial hair, or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Liver health also impacts energy levels and weight gain. Thyroid hormones regulate the speed, which your body works (metabolism). Some of them need to be chemically changed in the liver first, but an under-performing liver can stop this happening. And, if your thyroid is not working optimally, you can experience a whole host of symptoms, including low energy, low sex drive, feeling cold or gaining weight.

Your liver also turns the sugar (which the body breaks down from the carbohydrates you eat) into glycogen, which it stores and releases between meals to keep your energy levels up. Poor liver function makes it harder to store glycogen, leading to blood sugar problems (energy dips, cravings, mood swings and poor sleep).

A healthy liver can burn fat, get rid of excess fat (via the bowel) or cause the body to lay down fat due to its relationship with the fat storage hormone insulin. If you have a weight problem, especially around your middle, chances are you’ll have an imbalance in insulin levels, meaning weight loss will always be a struggle. The more insulin you have in the your body, the more testosterone is produced, knocking that delicate balance of hormones even further out.

NUTRITION PLAN

1. Reduce caffeine, alcohol, refined grains, artificial sweeteners, sugar and fizzy drinks

2. Reduce toxic exposure – rethink personal care and home cleaning products, which can contain synthetic oestrogens and contribute to hormone imbalance

3. Take care with medications – they place an extra burden on the liver, always check with your GP that you’re taking the lowest effective dose.

4. Eat organic – non-organic food contains artificial hormones, growth hormones and other chemical additives.

5. Eat an inflammatory diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables and other liver-boosting foods including:

l Hot water with lemon – citric acid encourages bile production, which helps excrete toxins

l Sulphur-rich foods – garlic, onions, cruciferous veggies

l Beetroot and carrots – stimulate detoxification

l Leafy green veggies – great for mopping up environmental toxins from the blood stream

l Turmeric and cinnamon – to support liver function

6. Move! Exercise boosts levels of liver enzymes, which may support liver function.

If you think your liver needs a little TLC why not book a free 30-minute discovery call with me via the website now.