When you hear the word detoxification, it conjures up images of exotic juice fasts or powders that leave you sitting on the loo all day!
But what you may not know is that your body has its own detoxification system – your liver.
Your liver is nothing short of amazing – did you know that it is the largest organ in the body, weighing almost 2 kilos? And, if you lost three-quarters of it, it would simply regenerate into a whole new liver. This amazing organ has so many jobs to do – over 500 at the last count.
So the question is, are you looking after it? That doesn’t just mean watching how many glasses of wine you drink. Of course that is important, but as well as detoxing alcohol, your liver also regulates your hormones and deals with all of the chemicals that you are exposed to. That includes the perfume you spray on, the chlorine in your tap water, the pills you take, and the pesticides on your fruit and vegetables.
So what happens when your liver struggles to cope? Toxins and waste can get backed up in your system and they can get recirculated back into your bloodstream.
HOW DOES THAT AFFECT YOUR HORMONES?
One important role of the liver is to get rid of the excess hormone oestrogen. This is a very important process as too much oestrogen can cause a range of issues including heavy periods, PMS, bloating, headaches, breast tenderness and weight gain. You might also have a build-up of more dangerous metabolites of oestrogen; the ones that can cause increased risk of breast cancer and other chronic diseases.
Your liver is the organ where a lot of your thyroid hormones get converted into active mode, so if the liver is struggling then a deficiency of active thyroid hormones can slow down your metabolism, hang on to fat stores and crash your energy levels. And equally a sluggish thyroid inhibits liver function! And round you go again…
Your liver plays a vital role in regulating your blood sugar balance. If you are under a great deal of stress or if your diet is too carb-heavy, your liver can struggle to regulate your blood sugar, which can cause sugar cravings, fatigue, mood swings, brain fog and fat storage – especially belly fat.
10 TIPS TO LOVE YOUR LIVER
DRINK MORE WATER AND LESS ALCOHOL. This is a bit of a no brainer. As you get older, your liver finds it more challenging to process alcohol so it becomes increasingly important to limit the booze and increase your water intake. Hydration is so important to healthy liver function.
DITCH THE SUGAR, REFINED CARBS AND PROCESSED FOODS. Eating too much sugar or industrial fats essentially stresses out your liver by raising your insulin, cortisol and oestrogen levels which is not good news!
EAT MORE BROCCOLI. And, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, rocket, and watercress. These are all cruciferous vegetables that are loaded with indole-3-carbinol, which helps to detoxify that excess oestrogen. It is ideal to aim for two portions a day. If you can’t manage that, DIM is the supplement which does a similar thing.
EAT PLENTY OF PROTEIN. Protein helps your liver processes. A protein shake is an easy way to get protein into your diet. Make sure it’s a good quality undenatured whey or plant based if you are dairy intolerant.
REDUCE STRESS. Practicing daily relaxation including mindfulness, deep breathing, music and long baths will help to balance your cortisol levels. It is also a good idea to take time to properly digest your food – try mindful eating.
GET YOUR BOWELS MOVING. If you are constipated then your toxic waste is going to build up in your gut and then your oestrogen can get recycled. So it is important to eat plenty of fibre, drink plenty of water, exercise daily and take a magnesium supplement (citrate is best for relaxing the bowel).
SWITCH YOUR PERSONAL AND HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS TO NATURAL ORGANIC ONES. What you put on your skin goes straight into your bloodstream. Put your product into the App ‘Think Dirty’ to see how ‘toxic’ it is. Think about what you put onto your skin in the same way that you think about what you are putting into your body.
GO ORGANIC. Switching to organic fruit, vegetables, dairy, eggs and meat will reduce your exposure to harmful pesticides and other mass chemicals.
GET A SWEAT ON. Sweating is a great way to naturally get rid of toxins. The skin is one of your most important detoxification organs. Exercise, saunas, steam rooms – try anything that gets your sweat dripping.