Since everything we eat must pass through the liver, special attention to nutrition and diet can help keep me healthy. Here are some tips on eating for health, healthy liver, healthy you!
Eat a well balanced, nutritionally adequate diet. if you enjoy foods from each of the four food groups, you will probably obtain the nutrients you need.
Cut down on the amount of deep-fried and fatty foods you and your family consume. Doctors believe that the risk of gallbladder disorders (including gallstones, a liver-related disease) can be reduced by avoiding high-fat and cholesterol foods.
Minimize your consumption of smoked, cured and salted foods. Taste your food before adding salt! Or try alternative seasonings in your cooking such as lemon juice, onion, vinegar, garlic, pepper, mustard, cloves, sage or thyme.
The consequences of mistreating the liver include obesity, a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue, headaches, digestive problems, allergies and many other ailments. And although the immune system protects our body from many dangers, it is the liver that protects the immune system from overload.
Symptoms of mild liver dysfunction may occur even though all blood tests of liver function are `normal'. The tests that doctors use routinely to check the liver are not very sensitive - they check for liver damage rather than function.
Common symptoms due to poor liver function are:
Poor digestion, abdominal bloating, nausea especially after fatty foods, weight gain around the abdomen and constipation. Irritable bowel syndrome, associated with abdominal swelling and flatulence, is often due to a sluggish liver. If you wake up in the morning with bad breath and/or a coated tongue, your liver definitely needs help.
Unpleasant mood changes, depression,`foggy brain' and impaired concentration and memory. If the liver is sluggish, excessive amounts of toxic metabolites find their way into the blood stream and can affect the function of the brain.
Allergic conditions such as hay fever, hives, skin rashes and asthma.
Headaches. Unfortunately, pain killers can cause further stress on the liver as the liver is the organ that breaks down all drugs.
High blood pressure and/or fluid retention.
Hypoglycaemia or unstable blood sugar levels. An un-happy liver can cause wild fluctuations of blood sugar level with very low glucose levels causing fatigue, dizziness, light-headedness and cravings for sugar.
Inability to tolerate fatty foods, gallbladder disease and gallstones. If you feed your liver too much saturated or damaged (rancid) fat, it will try to pump it out of your body through the bile which flows into the gallbladder and then the small intestine. This will raise the cholesterol content of your bile and can result in gallstones (made of hard cholesterol) and gallbladder inflammation. If your liver is not working efficiently, it will not manufacture enough bile salts to keep biliary cholesterol in solution and so gallbladder stones may result.
Fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome. When tired people cannot find a cause for their ill-health, in 99% of such cases doctors find that their patients are eating too much saturated and damaged fats and not enough raw vegetables and fruits.
Excessive body heat, which may be associated with sweating or body odor.
Lowered tolerance to alcohol and various drugs such as antibiotics.
Here are some signs of liver trouble. If you experience ANY of these symptoms, please contact your doctor:
Yellow discoloration of the skin or eyes.
Abdominal swelling or severe abdominal pain.
Prolonged itching of the skin.
Very dark urine or pale stools-, or the passage of bloody or tar-like stools.
Chronic fatigue, nausea or loss of appetite.
(When my liver decided to do it's shut down thing, I had ALL of these symptoms. It was awful!! The itching feels like there are a zillion ants crawling under your skin and you can't itch fast enough. Yeck!! )
[b] The word “angel” comes from the Greek angelos which means “messenger from God,” and it holds within its sound great power.
The Twelve Vital Principles to Improve Your Liver Function
ONE -- Listen to Your Body. Don't eat if you're not hungry. Have a raw juice, a piece of fruit, a small raw vegetable salad or a glass of water instead. Conversely, don't put up with hunger pains.
Far too many people place their mealtimes around the clock and will eat at, say, 8.00am, 1.00pm and 7.00pm, come hail or shine, appetite or not. It's much healthier to place your mealtimes around your hunger and pay little heed to the clock. If you are in the habit of eating regular meals when you are not hungry, your liver will be working far too hard and will basically suffer with excessive wear and tear.
TWO -- Drink 8-12 glasses of filtered water daily as this helps to cleanse the liver and kidneys and aids with weight loss. Your body requires small and frequent sips of water otherwise your cells shrink with dehydration and their membranes dry out. Consequently, avoid large amounts of fluid with meals.
THREE -- Avoid Eating Large Amounts of Sugar, especially refined sugar, as the liver will convert this into fat and cholesterol. The fat can cause fatty degeneration of organs or will be transported to fatty areas such as the thighs, buttocks and abdomen for storage. Eventually the blood triglycerides become too high and this is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Avoid all artificial sweeteners as these are toxic to the liver and cause hypoglycaemia and fatigue. If you must have something sweet, have fresh raw fruits, sun-dried fruits, honey or blackstrap molasses.
FOUR -- Don't Become Obsessed with Measuring Calories. If you stick to the right foods and drink your water, your liver will gradually improve and weight loss will follow accordingly.
Far more people die from overeating than from undereating, so err on the side of eating less once hunger is satisfied.
Ignore the bathroom scales as the aim is to cleanse your body and rejuvenate your entire metabolism, not merely to lose weight. Weight loss will occur hand-in-hand with the improvement in liver functioning. Why stress yourself by noticing how quickly or slowly weight loss occurs?
FIVE -- Avoid Foods That You May be Allergic To or that you know from past experience upset you.
Always chew your food slowly and thoroughly, as digestion begins with saliva being mixed with food in the mouth.
As people age, the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach often becomes inadequate for efficient digestion of proteins. This can be overcome by sipping a small glass of water containing one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar during every meal (containing protein foods).
SIX -- Be Aware of Good Intestinal Hygiene as the liver must filter out and destroy any bacteria and viruses present in our food. Too many unfriendly organisms, such as salmonella or shigella bacteria, may make us seriously ill and also permanently damage the liver. To reduce this risk, only eat foods that are fresh, and avoid the regular reheating of food as bacteria breed in stored cooked foods, especially meats. Never re-heat food more than once. And always wash your hands before eating.
Many packaged and processed foods are laden with preservatives, yet they are still full of unfriendly organisms in a dormant state. As soon as this food hits your intestines, the preservatives wear off and the bugs begin to grow inside you. Especially avoid preserved meats.
SEVEN -- Do Not Eat if You Feel Stressed or Anxious because during these states your blood flow is diverted away from the intestines and liver to other areas of the body.
EIGHT -- Check if Organically-Grown Fresh Produce, Free of Pesticides, is Available in Your Area. If using eggs and chickens, always buy free-range.
Buy products containing natural ingredients and avoid processed foods containing artificial chemicals such as preservatives, colorings, flavorings and artificial sweeteners.
NINE -- Obtain Your Protein from Diverse Sources, Including Legumes. There are many meals in which protein is obtained from legumes, grains, cereals, nuts and seeds. First-class protein from combinations of these sources is just as complete as protein from animal sources and contains all of the eight essential amino acids.
Legumes are beans (such as soy beans, kidney beans, etc.), peas, chickpeas and lentils and they provide valuable protein, essential fatty acids, fiber, plant hormones, minerals and B vitamins.
If you are too busy to cook beans, it is acceptable to use canned legumes and there are many to choose from. If the canned beans contain lots of salt and sugar, rinse with water before using them.
Seeds - linseed, sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds - are excellent sources of essential fatty acids, protein, plant hormones and fibre.
Nuts are very rich in unsaturated oils and should only be eaten fresh and raw. If they have been shelled for a long time and exposed to air, their oils will have become rancid. Buy nuts in sealed bags showing a use-by date, or buy nuts still in their shells.
TEN -- Choose Your Breads and Spreads Wisely.
Try to buy breads free of artificial chemicals. If you have irritable bowel syndrome, use stone-ground breads which have a fine texture and are free of little grainy bits.
Vary the types of breads you eat to reduce allergies - try rye, wheat, corn, oats, rice, barley and others available in stores. For something lighter, try rice crackers or yeast-free pita bread. If you are allergic to yeast, try yeast-free breads or a sour dough loaf.
ELEVEN -- Avoid Constipation by eating plenty of raw fruits and vegetables and drinking water throughout the day. By avoiding constipation you will avoid the growth of unfriendly organisms in the large bowel. To increase the amount of the friendly acidophilus and other lactobacilli bacteria, you may take powdered forms of these or eat soy-bean yogurt.
TWELVE -- Avoid Excessive Saturated or Damaged Fats. These unhealthy fats can cause liver damage with changes typical of a `fatty liver' similar to that seen in alcohol consumption.
Many weight watchers try to follow a completely fat-free diet. However, if this is done for more than four weeks, symptoms of essential fatty acid deficiency will start to occur. Furthermore, your liver function and metabolism will slow down leading to easy weight gain!
Symptoms of essential fatty acid deficiency are: dry and itchy skin, eczema, hair loss, joint pains, reduced fertility, increased rate of miscarriage, depression and poor memory, slow metabolic rate with weight gain, reduced immune function, hormonal imbalances, liver degeneration, fatigue, circulatory problems, degenerative diseases, increased rate of aging and high triglycerides.
I see thousands of overweight people and many do not eat excessive calories; their problems are due solely to the consumption of the wrong type of fats. The liver is the supreme fat-burning organ of the body and if you choke it with damaged fats it will be unable to perform its metabolic functions and your entire metabolism will slow down. As a result, you will gain weight easily, particularly around the abdominal area.
In a simplistic way, we could say that a healthy liver pumps fat out of your body and keeps you slim.
Eating the wrong foods for your liver will cause an imbalance in the liver's production of lipoproteins so that you will have too much low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and not enough high-density lipoproteins (HDL). This will increase your risk of atherosclerosis, heart disease and high blood pressure.
The type of fat you eat on a daily basis is so very important to your health and longevity and will have the greatest influence of all upon your liver function and weight.
Take Care of Your Oils. Dietary oils will only take care of us if we take care of them by reducing their exposure to heat, air and light. Natural food oils such as those contained in fish, seeds, nuts, avocados, olives and legumes are protected from light, air and heat by virtue of the skins, coverings and shells around them and are fresher and healthier than the bottled versions. However, for salad dressings, light stir-frying, etc., ideally buy un-refined oils that have been cold-pressed and kept in dark-colored glass bottles to block out the light. Keep your oil in the fridge. Virgin olive oil is generally available and is a good choice because it is cold-pressed and has not been heated, refined or bleached.
[b] The word “angel” comes from the Greek angelos which means “messenger from God,” and it holds within its sound great power.
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