February 10, 2016, Information

Love your liver

Recently we’ve noticed a significant increase in the number of people being diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This is a condition where fat accumulates in the liver of people who drink little to no alcohol. It can be perplexing because most clients think they are ‘healthy’ and have no idea how this condition has come about. Most people do not experience severe complications with slight fatty liver and the resulting elevated liver enzymes, but in more severe cases inflammation and scarring of the liver can occur.

Generally the symptoms of NAFL are fatigue, indigestion, constipation, pain in upper right side of abdomen, rapid weight gain or loss, irritability and moodiness. Have a look at your face. Do you have dark circles under your eyes? A coated tongue or bad breath? These are early signs of an unhappy liver.

Your doctor may not know why fatty liver occurs but Sandra Cabot, the leading liver specialist and author of The Liver Cleansing Diet knows exactly why our livers become sluggish and diseased – processed sugars, heated oils, chronic dehydration and constipation to name a few.

Also, check out Barbara O’Neill’s youtube clip. She has some fantastic information on nutrition and the liver. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAGEhkZ-ssY&list=PLmx3cCUxMJqRKcgyatDVdk3oLRnpvBQjr

Let me explain the key factors that contribute to liver disfunction.

1. Sugar and refined carbohydrates- refined, processed sugar and carbs(bread, cereal, cakes, etc) are broken down into glucose in the gastrointestinal tract. Excess glucose is then converted into fats, namely triglycerides, which can build up in the liver and cause degeneration, not to mention rapid weight gain.

2. Heated oils and fats – Oil and fats that have been damaged by heat, hydrogenation(margarine) or have become rancid can cause fatty liver disease. The answer is not a low fat diet, as this can lead to a deficiency in essential fatty acid, but choosing your oils wisely and heating them minimally if at all. Raw, fresh, virgin olive oil on salads. Coconut oil added to your veggies, stir fries and smoothies. Chia seeds, L.S.A(linseed, sunflower, almond), nut butters are all great foods to get your essential fatty acids, balance your blood sugar and help you stay sugar craving free.

3. Constipation – Anything less than 1 full bowel movement per day means you’re constipated. When there is an accumulation of waste sitting in the bowel harmful bacteria and parasites can breed. Eventually toxins and metabolic wastes which are not eliminated effectively, reabsorb back into the bloodstream and have to be handled by the liver. Animal products begin to rot causing dysbiosis(imbalance of good and bad bacteria) and the belly starts to protrude, no matter how much exercise you’re getting.

4. Dehydration – You may not realise how much water you actually need to keep your liver and kidneys clean. 1 litre per 30kg of body weight is the minimum amount of water we should be drinking everyday. The best way to do this is to drink 250ml every hour that you are awake. Remember, coffee, tea(even green tea) and soft drink(something you shouldn’t be having at all) contain caffeine, which is a diuretic, so you need to be drinking extra water if you consume these beverages. The only time not to drink water is during meals. This will dilute digestive enzymes which break down important nutrients. Half an hour either side of meals is perfect.

My top foods that love your liver:

Lemons – Packed with Vitamin C and bitter alkaloids, lemons actually stimulate bile production from the liver. Good bile flow aids the digestion of fats and helps constipation. Zings up any juice or smoothie or simply squeeze into water for a refreshing drink.

Turmeric – An impressive substance called curcumin is highly anti-inflammatory as well as healing and protecting the liver.

Beetroot – Betalains found in beetroot have been shown to trigger glutathione S-transferase enzymes. Glutathione is important in the linking phase of detoxification in the body where waste and toxic substances are made water soluble for excretion. Beetroot is also a hepato-protective, which means it defends the liver and bile ducts agains toxins and pathogens.

Rocket – Like all bitter foods, arugula or rocket is a simple but wonderful liver aid, and is easy to find in your local supermarket. The ‘bitter principle’ actually cleanses the liver by stimulating the production and flow of bile from the liver. When everything is flowing, all is good.

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