What is the liver and why and how should I keep it healthy?
The liver is a powerful large organ that sits on the right side of the stomach protected by the rib cage. In an average person it weighs around 3 pounds. Important nutrients in the blood flow to the liver from the hepatic portal vein. Just like other arteries it is important to keep them clean and healthy so that nutrients can easily be delivered.
The liver is vital, and we could not survive a day without it, yet most people do not think about it all the work it does in the body. It makes the blood that circulates throughout the body and produces blood before birth. There are critical tasks that it performs including producing proteins and cholesterol. It also produces bile, which is a fluid used during digestion to break down fat for energy.
The liver is involved with detoxifying all foods, drinks including alcohol and medications – basically everything that enters the body. The liver detoxifies and changes toxins into waste material to remove since they could be harmful. It also breaks down toxins from alcohol, medications, and natural byproducts of metabolism. Keeping your liver in good shape is important for maintaining health.
With this said, it should be a priority to have a lifestyle that nourishes the body and keeps the liver healthy. One way is by eating clean. In fact, it has been shown in research that poor nutrition has a major impact on liver health. Nutrients are necessary to retain healthy liver structure and function. A clean diet includes fresh foods, cooking from scratch and trying to stay away from meals or side dishes in a box or can.
What are healthy foods to ensure that your liver is functioning properly?
One objective is to reduce foods high in fat, simple sugars, and salt. Keeping the body lean is also a key to a happy functional liver. Being overweight and having too much fat on the body puts much pressure on organs such as the liver to perform their jobs.
Many people eat out in fast food restaurants without thinking of how much saturated fat, sugar and sodium are contained in these foods they are eating. Watching the amount of alcohol consumed is also essential to the liver. The amount can be discussed with your doctor since they know your health and what to recommend as the limit, depending on the state of your liver.
Consuming more of a plant-based diet is suggested with foods such as fresh or frozen fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans. These foods are high in fiber, which is beneficial to liver and gastrointestinal regulation.
In addition, other foods that are important to the diet are low fat dairy products and olive or vegetable oils. Water is necessary to prevent the body from dehydration and is key in helping the liver perform better.
Foods that have liver health benefits
Regularly, the diet should include specific foods such as cruciferous vegetables. After they are eaten, they release metabolites that have the ability to promote the phase I and phase II detoxification enzymes important for liver function.
Fruits such as grapefruit, grapes, blueberries, and cranberries including their juices have antioxidants that have value to the body and the liver.
Fatty fish which contain omega-3 fatty acids are considered healthy fats for the heart and liver. Omega 3 fatty acids also have been shown to have a beneficial effect on liver fat. Omega 3’s is found in salmon, cod, sword fish and supplements including flaxseed oil.
Drinking coffee may be beneficial to the liver providing antioxidant benefits and supporting the inflammatory response, but in moderation. Coffee increases heart rate and blood pressure, therefore coffee is not for everyone. Green and black teas are rich in antioxidants and have been shown to be beneficial to the liver.
Some individuals choose to do liver cleansing, but one should be careful and use caution. There is not good science demonstrating that they help. Also, cleansing products may have a negative effect on the liver and gastrointestinal tract since they may have ingredients that have a laxative effect and can cause health problems.
Chlorophyll is a wonderful substance that has an important role, giving plants their green color. It contains vitamins with antioxidants and has potentially therapeutic properties. Chlorophyll assists the plants to absorb energy from the sun during the process called photosynthesis. Chlorophyll can be consumed from green vegetables, especially green leafy ones or from dietary supplements.
Some research has been shown that chlorophyll after its consumed breaks down to its metabolites, which are valuable and support the inflammatory response process in the body.
The liver cells and circulation to the liver are very important in keeping the liver healthy. The “friendly flora,” which is called gut microbiota is essential for the immune system, but also keeps the liver strong and healthy. Research demonstrates that gut microflora is important for blood supply to the liver and promotes a healthy inflammatory response including the inflammatory pathways.
Vegetables and supplements that have chlorophyll also contain its remarkable substance called chlorophyllin. Chlorophyllin has been shown to have antioxidant properties and other benefits.
An animal study was performed to examine benefits of chlorophyllin coming from the green pigment chlorophyll. The study evaluated if it helped the gut microbiota, the gastrointestinal mucosal barrier, and the liver. The chlorophyllin was provided to the animals in drinking water. The study showed that chlorophyllin could provide support to the inflammatory response in the liver and help the intestines. Chlorophyllin was shown to quickly rebalance the gut microbiota, which is essential for immune health and the liver.
One study with 62 older people, administered chlorophyllin and showed that it helped to deodorize and control body and stool odors. It also helped with the gastrointestinal tract and elimination. More research is humans is necessary to determine chlorophyllin’s health benefits.
In summary, the liver is a major organ in the body to help detoxify it from substances that enter through food, drink, and medication. It is important to take care of the liver by eating healthy and consuming foods that are beneficial. Chlorophyll from green plants and supplements may be a great addition to one’s daily dietary plan because of its antioxidant and other properties.
If you have a health condition, including liver problems and or take medication, please check with your healthcare provider prior to following any dietary programs or taking supplements. This article is intended for education and not for medical advice.
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