Take Care of Your Liver, You Only Have One!
If the fat in your liver makes up 5–10 percent of the organ’s weight, then you are diagnosed with fatty liver disease. There are two main types of fatty liver disease, alcoholic liver disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Acute fatty liver of pregnancy is another rare condition that happens when fat builds up in the liver of pregnant women.
One of the hardest-working organs in the body, the liver works tirelessly to detoxify our blood, to produce the bile needed to digest fat, to break down hormones, and to store essential vitamins, minerals and iron. This is why it’s so important to take care of our livers or practice a liver cleanse — as when the liver is not functioning optimally, we cannot digest our food properly, especially fats.
It’s the liver’s responsibility to process nutrients absorbed by the intestines so they’re more efficiently absorbed. The liver also regulates blood composition to balance protein, fat and sugar. Finally, it removes toxins from the blood, and breaks down both alcohol and medications.
For people with fatty liver disease, the handling of fat by liver cells is disturbed. Increased amounts of fat are removed from the blood and produced by liver cells, and not enough is disposed of or exported by the cells. As a result of this, fat accumulates in the liver. There is an imbalance between the uptake of fat and its oxidation and export.
Today, we’re faced with so many environmental toxins occurring in our homes, places of work and in our food supply, so it’s essential for our general health and well-being to keep our livers functioning properly.
Foods that Make Fatty Liver Disease Worse
If you have fatty liver disease, and you are a heavy drinker, quitting is the most important thing to do first. Alcohol is the culprit; it’s what caused the liver disease because your liver cannot break it down quick enough for your body. According to a review conducted at the Bronx Veterans Affairs Medical Center in New York, fatty liver disease is common among alcoholics not only due to malnutrition, but also because of toxicity and inflammation. Even if you have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, it’s best to eliminate alcohol from your diet.
Foods such as bread, rice, grits and corn should be avoided. All white bread and carbs should be eliminated or reduced from your diet, and some whole grain products aren’t great either. When we consume too many refined carbohydrates, insulin levels spike, and insulin sensitivity is a major factor in the cause of liver disease. Read the label on whole grain packages, and avoid buying anything that is labeled “enriched.”
If you want to have some bread here and there, buy fresh bread that is made in the bakery or health food store — you can also try breads from gluten-free flours, like Ezekiel bread, or these sandwich substitutes. If you are going for rice, choose brown rice.
Sports drinks, soda, energy drinks and juice are full of sugar and artificial sweeteners. This sugar that enters your body causes fatty liver disease. The average 12-ounce can of soda, for example, has 10 teaspoons of sugar! Your body isn’t able to break down the amount of sugar that most Americans consume every day, and it’s impacting the liver, big time.
According to a study conducted at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, sugars, particularly fructose, are suspected to contribute to the development of NAFLD and its progression. There have been substantial links between increased fructose consumption and obesity, dyslipidemia and insulin resistance.
Hydrogenated oils, refined sugar, convenience foods and lunch meats are notoriously toxic to your system. Nitrates and nitrites, for example, are commonly found in processed foods and lunch meat, and they have been linked to serious conditions, including cancer. The high fructose corn syrup found in our processed foods is the single biggest cause of fatty liver; you must stay away from these products in order to heal liver disease.
Foods that Improve Fatty Liver Disease
A review published in the European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry states that natural products that are found in vegetables, as well as fruits, plant extracts and herbs, have been traditionally used for treating liver diseases. It’s so important to add vegetables to your everyday diet.
An easy way to do this is by juicing vegetables for near-perfect health. With impaired liver function, juicing vegetables has the added benefit of making the vegetables easier to digest and more readily available for absorption. Vegetables ideal for a liver detox include kale, cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, beets and celery; try something like beetroot juice to start.
High-fiber foods help support a healthy digestive tract, hastening the elimination of toxins in the body. For example, ginger root benefits the digestive system. Make ginger tea by boiling ginger slices in green tea or water. You can also add ginger to a stir-fry, salad or smoothie.
Because of there potassium content, sweet potatoes are beneficial because they help cleanse the liver. One sweet potato contains nearly 700 milligrams of potassium! It’s also rich with vitamins B6, C, D, magnesium and iron. Sweet potatoes are easy to eat because they’re naturally sweet, and the sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream through the liver, so it won’t cause a spike in blood sugar. There are a ton of healthy sweet potato recipes that you can try at home today.
Containing 470 milligrams of potassium, banana nutrition is also great for cleansing the liver and overcoming low potassium levels; plus, bananas assist in digestion and help release toxins and heavy metals from the body.
The vitamins and nutrients present in dandelions help cleanse our livers and keep them working properly. Dandelions also aid our digestive system by maintaining the proper flow of bile. They’re natural diuretics and allow the liver to eliminate toxins quickly. Dandelion tea or stems are also high in vitamin C, which helps with mineral absorption, reduces inflammation and prevents the development of disease.
As a liver support and aid, milk thistle is a powerful detoxifier. It helps rebuild liver cells while removing toxins from the body that are processed through the liver. According to a study published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences, milk thistle has the power to improve mortality in patients with liver failure; it’s able to naturally reverse the harmful effects of alcohol consumption, pesticides in our food supply, heavy metals in our water supply, pollution in the air that we breathe in and even poisons.
According to a 2010 study, milk thistle benefits help treat alcoholic liver disease, acute and chronic viral hepatitis, and toxin-induced liver diseases.
Liver from young, healthy, grass-fed cattle or chicken liver pate is full of nutrients and vitamins. It’s rich with vitamins A and B, folic acid, choline, iron, copper, zinc, chromium, and CoQ10; in fact, it’s one of the most nutrient-dense foods that you can eat. If you rather not animal liver, take liver supplements that guarantee no hormones, pesticides or antibiotics were used in the feeding and care of the cattle.
There are supplements that you will need to take to cleanse and protect your liver and you need to work with a healthcare provider to come up with a personalized plan for just you. If you need help please call us, 312-972-WELL, that is what we are here for.
In the mean time you can always try our liver detox recipe:
Liver Detox Juice Recipe
Liver Detox Juice
Total Time: 5 minutes
1 beet (medium size)
6 celery stalks
1 cup fresh cilantro
1 knob ginger
Add all ingredients to vegetable juicer. Gently stir juice and consume immediately.
Please share with family and friends, and do not forget to call us for a personalized healthcare plan just for you.
Health and Wellness Associates
Archived: P. Carrothers