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Look after Your Liver This Festive Season

Your liver plays an integral role in your overall health & wellbeing – it actually performs over 500 functions within your body. Your liver sifts through every single morsel that enters your system and determines what it can use and want it needs to remove. This goes from the air you breathe, the liquids you drink through to the food you eat. It’s a tireless organ that works around the clock to ensure optimum health. But it’s not up to the liver alone. If you are not feeding it with healthy substances, it doesn’t have much to work with. If it is being overburdened by unhealthy substances, it won’t get the chance to nourish you in the way that you deserve.

What is the role of the liver?

The liver is your body’s primary filtration system – it converts toxins into waste products, cleanses your blood, metabolises nutrients and medications, and produces proteins. While a healthy liver naturally cleanses itself, it may not necessarily be functioning optimally if it’s constantly faced with dietary and environmental toxins.

In the modern world we are constantly exposed to an array of harmful chemicals, toxins, preservatives, flavours, pollution, drugs, alcohol, cigarette smoke, the list goes on. All of these stressors can deplete nutrient stores, cause a buildup of dangerous substances in the body (like heavy metals) and lead to chronic inflammation – putting extreme amounts of pressure on our livers and essentially resulting in illness & disease.

Signs your liver is not functioning optimally may include:

  1. Headaches

  2. Sluggishness

  3. Fatigue / brain fog

  4. Weight gain / obesity

  5. Irregular digestion / constipation / diarrhoea / gas / bloating

  6. Pain in your right side

  7. Joint pain

  8. Skin discoloration, sensitivities, itchiness

  9. Sugar cravings

  10. Seasonal allergies

  11. Strong body odour & breath

  12. Mood swings, stress, anxiety and depression

Factors that contribute to an overworked & undernourished liver include: 

  1. Excessive sugar

  2. Excessive alcohol

  3. Being overweight

  4. Taking pharmaceuticals

  5. Certain supplements (vitamin A, niacin, green tea extract, and others—may damage the liver in high doses. Always talk to your doctor before taking one.)

  6. Exposure to chemicals

  7. Poor gut health

How to cleanse your liver naturally: Your body has an innate ability to cleanse and heal itself, it just needs you to support it in doing so. It’s about supporting what your liver does naturally, allowing it the time to carry out this function and protecting it from external stressors as much as possible.

Here are some tips to support liver function: Adopt a balanced diet A diet rich in organic, whole-foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds and minimally processed oils such as olive or coconut oil) is integral for good health. Processed, refined, artificial foods packed full or preservatives, flavours, bad fats and sugar simply overburden the liver and provide no nutrition for the rest of your body. Eat organic, fresh foods such as leafy greens packed with magnesium, chlorophyll, Vitamins A and C, along with fresh vegetables and fresh fruits when possible. These foods provide pure nutrients for your liver to cleanse and rebuild the blood to provide you with more energy and a healthy body. Organic fruits and vegetables also contain higher amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and sulfur, which all boost liver detoxification. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, collards, apples, onions, garlic, and squash are all great choices. Buying organic is important, but is especially important for your liver since pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides toxify the liver and can even cause cancer. Eat the right fats Your liver is responsible for producing bile that breaks down fats, so it’s integral to opt for good fats like almonds, coconut, walnuts, hemp, chia, and flax, along with pumpkin and sunflower seeds, olives, and avocados while avoiding vegetable oils (like corn and soy etc) and animal fats that lead to artery-clogging inflammation. Watch your liquids The beverages you consume have just as strong an impact as the food you eat. Starting with the quality of water you drink! Tap water is full of chemicals & toxins so it is essential to filter your water before drinking, cooking or washing your produce. Add a squeeze of lemon to your water to add alkalizing and cleansing properties. Lemon contains vitamin C and minerals that boost bodily functions and enhance the cleansing process. Alcohol is a toxin in any form and your liver will use a large amount of energy trying to get rid of it so it can purify your blood. During this process, it can use up a large amount of metabolic energy, which oftenleads to weight gain, sluggishness, fatigue, and sleepiness. It is also acidic and incredibly dehydrating which adds more pressure on the liver to process and keep things moving. Practice intermittent fasting Research suggests that during periods of fasting, cells in the liver produce more of a protein associated with improved sugar metabolism, reduced levels of liver fat and autophagy - the process whereby our body is able to heal and repair dying cells. Introduce liver-supporting supplements, such as:

Organic Spirulina Spirulina is an algae with one of the most nutrient-dense and high-protein foods in the world. This powerful green has been used to increase energy levels ever since the Aztecs started harvesting it. It mightn't be much to look at, but this makeup of amino acids is rich in iron, chlorophyll, calcium, thiamine and the popular folk remedy to treat swelling, Gamma–linolenic acid (GLA), otherwise known as the "king's cure-all". We think it's nature's gem, as its primary active component is phycocyanin, which acts as a powerful antioxidant and helps fight inflammation and regulate the immune system. Cracked Cell Organic Chlorella Similar to spirulina, chlorella is an algae that only grows in freshwater. Most believe it claims boasting rights as it has the highest density of chlorophyll of any known plant. Due to its unique chlorella growth factor it's the world’s fastest-growing plant and quadruples its size every day, which means it’s increasingly powerful when ingested and is known to repair damaged nerve tissues and cells. This super-active antioxidant captures and removes heavy metals, preservatives and free radicals; and it's also packed with omega-threes (they're the good fats). Organic Moringa The drought-resistant Moringa oleifera plant, native to India, has historically been called a ‘miracle tree’ and was valued by ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans alike due to its antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Extracting the leaves from this resilient subtropical flora contains a wealth of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and powerful antioxidants that studies have shown to be effective in maintaining optimal levels of cholesterol and blood pressure throughout our bodies. St Mary’s Thistle Known as the ‘liver elixir’ as its main active ingredient, silymarin, is known to repair, regenerate and detoxify the liver. It's high in glutathione, which prevents cellular damage in our bodies (while some swear by its anti-ageing effects) as it assists with bile flow from the liver and breaks down fats so they can be used as well as a free radical scavengers. So it’s a winner as it breaks down and expels all that unwanted lifestyle and pollution from our bodies, while protecting the good cells and regenerating the damaged ones. Organic Broccoli The long-celebrated broccoli is very high in phytonutrients, a substance which acts as an anti-inflammatory and prevents diseases. In particular, broccoli has the flavonoid kaempferol, which reduces the impact of allergic triggers on the body. Broccoli also contains glucosinolates, and these bitter-tasting, sulfur-containing compounds protect the liver from damage by increasing levels of liver detoxifying enzymes. This veggie continues to weave its sulfur-rich magic with the phytochemical sulforaphane, which has been shown to strengthen our loving hearts, as well as fight cancer and ageing. We are excited to be launching our very own range of 'Byron Bay Detox Greens' - a naturopathically formulated alkalising and cleansing superfood blend created by Natalie Purcell to be released early next year, made available to support regular detoxification and cleansing.

Exercise Ridding the body of toxins is done through two major pathways. The first is by improving liver function, and the second is through sweating. Sweating helps take some of the detoxification burden off of your liver. The skin is our major detoxification organ, and sweating is the best way to get the toxins out of our body. Sweating can also be achieved through the use of infrared saunas, steaming and Epsom salt baths. The Bottom Line The liver is one of the most important organs in the body and determines the quality of life we experience on a day to day basis. More than just the longevity of an individual, we need to consider our health and wellbeing on a daily basis. By consuming a poor diet today, tomorrow we may be faced with sluggishness, fatigue, mental unrest, weight gain and a poor physical appearance which in turn affects our self esteem. It’s important to be conscious of our liver health over the festive season as it is often a time of indulgence, excess and abandonment of our values. Keep in mind that what you put into your body, is what you get out of it. Feel great again after the festive season - cleanse and restore!


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