Today’s post is in honor of National Nutrition Month.
Can you guess which organ is fundamental to the health of the whole body, specifically playing key roles in digestion, metabolism, detoxification, and weight loss?
When it comes to weight loss, good liver health promotes it AND dropping excess pounds also improves liver health.
That’s right. The liver:
- separates and filters toxins and prepares them for excretion;
- participates in regulating blood sugar and insulin, sex hormones, blood pressure, and cholesterol;
- cleans the blood;
- supports the immune system;
- produces bile, which breaks down fat and metabolizes vitamins; and
- controls fat storage and energy mobilization.
Just looking at that list, you can begin to get an idea of the importance of the liver in managing weight, aiding weight loss, and detoxifying the body during that whole process.
We know blood sugar, insulin, sex hormones, cholesterol, toxins, fat, vitamins, and energy regulation all factor into weight control. So, then, it’s no surpise that having a healthy, clean, well-functioning liver makes a huge difference in how easy it is to maintain or lose weight.
Yikes! Watch out for the toxins
Among that list, one of the most important functions for weight loss is the separation and removal of toxins.
First, the toxins that enter the body (through skin, air, food/water, etc), need to be processed and sent for excretion. But if the liver isn’t functioning optimally, there can be a backlog where the toxins buildup and the body looks for a convenient storage place. Oftentimes, that storage place is the fat cells.
Second, when you’re in a calorie deficit, the body looks to fat as a fuel source and the liver plays a two-fold role here. It helps convert that released fat into usable energy and it has to be able to process the toxins that were stored in the fat cells to get rid of them.
That’s why it’s fundamental to get your liver as healthy as possible before starting a weight loss diet and to make it easier to maintain your weight.
So, what boosts liver health and function?
– Leafy greens: kale, collards, cabbage, arugula, parsley, cilantro, dandelion greens; plus celery, artichoke, asparagus, and beets
– Sulfur-containing cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower
– Herbs: milk thistle, burdock root, dandelion root, aloe, licorice, ashwagandha, eleuthero, rhodiola, nettle
– Spices: ginger, turmeric, garlic, onions, cinnamon, nutmeg
– Organ meats: such as liver and kidneys of the cleanest sources you can find (wild, grass-fed & grass-finished, pastured)
– Drinks: filtered water, lemon water, apple cider vinegar water, teas (rich in antioxidants)
– Exercise, sleep, and stress-reduction
While I don’t suggest throwing all of those in your body at once, you can begin to mix and match them. Test out different combinations whether in a juice, smoothie, whole food (raw or cooked), or powdered form and see which you respond to.
The more of these you continue adding to your daily diet, the stronger, healthier, and cleaner your liver will get, thus supporting weight management or helping you shed extra pounds.
These need to go
Adding stuff in isn’t the only way to support liver health. Also consider what needs to be taken out: alcohol, cigarettes, unnecessary medications, including OTCs, toxic skincare and cleaning products, fat from conventionally-raised animals (they store excess toxins in the same places we do), transfats, industrial seed oils, and sugar.
If you’re worried about the long-term health of your liver and you’re overweight, also know that numerous research studies have found that weight loss can reverse non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Therefore, liver health and weight loss go hand in hand.
Whether you’re trying to manage your weight, shed pounds, or just keep your liver functioning optimally, what better way to start than by incorporating some of the liver boosters listed above?
Leave a comment: What’s your favorite food for a healthy liver?