Your liver is one incredible multi-tasking organ!
It is the largest internal organ and is involved in the processing of everything we eat, drink, breathe and put on skin! It works tirelessly to metabolise incoming nutrients from digestion and eliminating toxins. In fact, everything you eat and drink ultimately makes a detour to the liver, via the blood stream, before moving onward to every cell in your body.
In recent times, there have been an increasing number of people displaying an abnormal liver function on blood tests and even being diagnosed with a fatty liver – which is a build of fat within liver cells. While there is much we can do to improve the functioning of the liver, left unchecked it can progress to irreversible liver damage.
Let’s take a look at some liver loving tips!
Balance your Carb Intake
Carbohydrates are absolutely essential for good health, but where go wrong is in selecting overly processed carbs and eating them in abundance. Long term, this can increase the risk of insulin resistance, which is a condition when the hormone insulin doesn’t work as well, leading to high blood glucose (sugar) levels. Not only does insulin resistance raise the risk of developing diabetes, but it can also elevate your triglycerides (blood fat), which can build up in the liver.
A bit sciency, I know...but the take home message is to focus on eating a small quantity of low GI carbohydrates at each meal e.g. wholegrain bread, legumes, sweet potato, oats, quinoa or long grain brown rice.
Say Yes to Good Fats
The liver can quickly become overtaxed if your diet is rich in saturated, trans and processed fats – those found in fatty meats, processed foods and pastries. Instead, focus on healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds. By nature, fatty liver is an inflammatory condition, so boost your intake of omega-3 rich foods such as oily fish, walnuts, flaxseed (linseed) and chia, to calm rather than fuel inflammation.
Cut Back (or ditch) the Booze
Your liver is not keen on inviting alcohol to the party – in fact, its views it as an intruder who needs to be rid of, fast! Even a healthy liver takes a hit in processing alcohol, so if yours is already under the pump, it’s time to pull back, or perhaps say goodbye, to alcohol altogether.
If you don’t like lycra or pumping iron – go dance, go garden, the point is to just move more, and in doing so you’ll reduce insulin resistance and burn up excess blood fats so they can’t be stored in the liver – simple!
Eat a Rainbow
Those with fatty liver disease, tend to have lower levels of circulating antioxidants in the blood stream, which can further exacerbate inflammation. To boost your supply of antioxidants, aim to eat colourful plant food at EVERY meal. Try sprinkling berries over breakfast oats; add crunchy salad veggies to a wrap and fill half of your dinner plate with veggies.