For many of us, the quarantine life will steer alcohol consumption in one of two directions: we are either drinking less because we’re not going out, or we’re drinking more out of boredom. All of this extra time at home could be a great opportunity to show our hard-working livers a little TLC. Spring is the time when we naturally start to crave lighter, crunchier foods that promote the body’s natural detox mechanisms. It just feels right to shed excess clutter, excess weight and excess stress by spending more time outside. While getting ready for summer (quarantine or not, we want to look and feel great!) it is only right to honor the liver - the body’s ultimate detox organ. A well-functioning liver means we are eliminating excess toxins, which even brings about a brighter complexion. Glowing skin is truly an inside job!
Although it’s often outshined by more famous organs like the brain and the heart, the liver deserves some love too. It is incredibly important, and it’s the only internal organ that can regenerate itself, which is pretty amazing. The liver has many different jobs (it carries out over 500 essential tasks). Every toxin we ingest gets filtered out through the liver. Polluted air, commercial cosmetics, fragrances, non-organic produce and grains, household detergents, prescription drugs, alcohol, excess hormones and cholesterol, and the list goes on – are all on the liver’s to-do list. In short, everything we consume that the body does not make use of will get filtered through this organ. In today’s more-polluted-than-ever-world, this detox process is remarkably impressive!
When the liver is sluggish or not functioning properly, it can show up in symptoms like headaches, irritability, fatigue, and skin issues like acne and eczema. Ever tried a cleanse or detox and ended up feeling awful? There’s a reason for that. The liver’s detox process has two phases: Phase I and Phase II. During Phase I, the body prepares metabolites and environmental toxins for Phase II elimination. When the Phase II process is malfunctioning, harmful metabolites produced during Phase I can build up the in the body, leading to those lousy symptoms like headache, irritability, fatigue, etc. Additionally, excess hormones that are not properly eliminated can get cycled back through the body, which leads to digestive issues and further stresses the liver. It’s a vicious cycle.
Luckily there are many simple things that we can do to support our lovely livers. Getting PLENTY of sleep is a great first step. The body's biological clock has a brilliant system - many, if not most of our detoxifying/regenerating processes occur while we are asleep. Regular exercise also will help boost circulation and decrease stress on the liver.
Cutting back on alcohol and sugar will lighten the the liver's workload dramatically. Herbs like milk thistle, dandelion root and artichoke leaf can be consumed in teas, as supplements or in tinctures for a detoxifying boost. And last but not least -chlorophyll-rich, alkaline green foods like asparagus, spinach, and sprouts can go a long way.
Here are some examples of liver-friendly foods:
- Brussels sprouts
From now on these nourishing veggies will taste even better, knowing that they are supporting the body’s most underrated organ. Another win for vegetables! 🥦💚💪