The Liver: 9 Tips to Keep it Healthy
The liver is the organ I feel most sorry for from all organs. The liver is suffering at a time of environmental pollution, toxic substances, a lot of refined food, stress, and so much more. It does have more than 600 tasks to fulfil of which detoxification is pretty much the most important one. That is what keeps it busy most of the time.
Where can it be found in the body?
The liver is located in the upper right side of the abdomen, just below the diaphragm and behind the ribs. It weighs about 1.5 kg and is divided into a right and left liver lobe. In addition, the liver is divided into eight segments. Each segment has its own blood supply.
Functions of the liver
The liver has hundreds of different. Just to mention a few:
- Storage place for nutrients, including glycogen, an important fuel for the body
- Production of coagulation factors
- Production of bile for the digestion and absorption of fats in the body; bile is stored in the gallbladder
- Defusing of toxins, such as medicines
- Vascular (with regard to blood vessels) function: the liver contains a relatively large blood depot and can contribute to the production of red blood cells
- Metabolic function (metabolism).
The liver is actually a very large chemical plant and has an important function in:
- Carbohydrate metabolism
- Fat metabolism
- Protein metabolism
- Hormone breakdown
- Storage of iron
And above all ….it is unique
The liver is unique in the sense that if a piece of the liver is removed by surgery, the liver can grow back for a large part of its original volume. To perform all its functions well, only 30% of the volume of the liver is needed. The activities of the liver generate sufficient heat to maintain the body temperature. Normally ‘old’ liver cells will be replaced with new ones. If you don’t look after your liver properly, old liver cells are not replaced by new liver cells but by tiny balls of fat called globules. They don’t have detoxifying properties as the liver cells have and will not be able to help to maintain a healthy weight.
If this happens frequently and eventually 5 to 10% of your liver cells are replaced by fat globules, then we speak of fatty liver. In the past, this only arose in people who consumed a lot of alcohol but nowadays you already see young children with fatty liver. Signs are a bloated face and excess weight. One of the most common causes is the consumption of refined food, starches, soft drinks, etc. Even the innocent-looking apple juice plays a major role in this. Apple juice is full of fructose and so are many other products. There are countries where you can find overweight children of 12 years of age who are waiting for a liver transplant; Unbelievable.
Even if you do your very best to live a ‘clean’ life, both in terms of nutrition and your environment, you will always have to deal with toxic substances. It is impossible to never smell a perfume anymore or to stop driving on the motorway. Or that you never go shopping in a furniture store or that you never walk in a city and stop breathing. These are all situations in which you ingest toxic substances. It is really inevitable. And the liver needs to work very hard to get rid of these substances. In addition, your liver also has the task of removing non-toxic substances such as waste from normal processes in the body.
Toxic substances and overweight
If your liver is not able to drain the toxic substances you will become overweight. Our fat cells are used to store toxic substances. They cause the least damage and are ‘neatly stored away’. In addition, toxic substances are also the cause of I.R. (insulin resistance). The toxic substances can throw blood sugar and your hormones upside down, resulting in overweight. What if losing weight would just be a matter of eating less and exercising more? Unfortunately it is not that simple. There is a lot more to it and one of the things that play a role is to take good care of your liver. And no matter how much you try, there are always toxic substances that you ingest. Just think of the above examples. But there are also toxic substances that you can avoid, such as in food, in cleaning products, in skincare and cosmetics.
How do you recognize a fatty liver?
That is not so easy. It is better to have a close look at your lifestyle, whether you have an increased risk rather than have it measured because it usually gives little or no complaints. Or it gives complaints that could have other causes. If there is more and more fat in the liver, you can suffer from fatigue and a sensitive stomach right above, just below the ribs. This can cause inflammation and you can expect the following complaints:
- Pain right in the upper abdomen
- An itchy skin
- A yellow skin and yellow eye white (jaundice)
- The liver can swell
If the cause is not addressed, the liver will continue to become fattier. Scars will appear on the inflamed, damaged liver cells. Especially with frequent alcohol consumption, shrinkage of the liver can occur (liver cirrhosis) and sometimes even liver cancer.
9 tips for a healthy liver
You can do a number of things yourself to support your liver function as best as possible:
- Start the day with two large glass of lukewarm water. This is what we do at the start of each day with the EatWright Plan: we add Himalayan salt. You could also add a dash of lemon juice to detoxify the liver.
- Eat as little processed foods as possible.
- Have breakfast that consists of a protein, nuts or seeds. Or a mix of, preferably, red fruit with coconut cream. Do not start with a carbohydrate-rich breakfast.
- Use as much colour as possible in your diet. The more colour, the better it is.
- Do not only eat cooked vegetables but also raw ones. They can be processed perfectly in a smoothie.
- Use garlic and onions regularly.
- Your liver is happy with cruciferous plants such as radish, watercress and various cabbages.
- Drink a large cup of green tea twice a day.
- Avoid too much alcohol, sweets (especially fructose like High Fructose Corn Syrup) and refined carbohydrates.
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To better health,
The power of nutrition is what this site is about. Leonie Wright is your EatWright Plan coach in heart and soul. Her passion is health. She is an expert in the field of NOT dieting. Only by changing her eating habits and lifestyle has she been able to achieve health and a stable weight herself. Because of her enthusiasm she started her own practice where she has been able to coach more than 300 clients to optimal health. Her vision is that the UK can and must become “healthier” and her mission is to contribute to this, in her own enthusiastic way. She would love to be your coach and help you to improve your health in a short space of time.