Love Your Liver

Love Your Liver

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It is rare—if ever—that you take part of your day to send gratitude to one of your organs or body systems. In fact, have you ever taken a moment to fully understand how your heart beats, your lungs breathe, or your liver detoxes? How often do you think of all your amazing system functions and how your body works hard to keep you alive? While you are waiting in line trying to decide which Starbucks coffee you are going to order, your body is working on its own without you having a conscious thought on how it operates.

You are composed of around 37 trillion cells, each with their own unique function in your body. You have 10 times more bacteria in your body than you have human cells, and they too have a unique function, working with your own cells and systems to keep you balanced. As you know, the body is not made of isolated systems—each independent body part and system fits together like puzzle pieces; each organ/gland working synergistically with others to create the whole you.

Are Our Livers Failing Us…or Are We Failing Them?
Understanding how our bodies work is vital to our health because an increasing number of Americans are becoming sicker and weaker, struggling with weight, depression, toxins, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, metabolic issues, and low immunity. In addition to all that, there is a silent disease progression that is going unnoticed but is joining the ranks of serious health issues including high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. This sneaky disease is called Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), and it has doubled over the past 20 years and now affects 25–33% of Americans.

What has happened to cause this burden on the liver? Ultimately, our increase in alcohol, caffeine, toxic chemicals and heavy metals, processed foods (high fructose corn syrup, trans fats and seed oils), hormonal imbalances, vitamin/mineral deficiencies, negative emotions (fear/depression/sadness), and overfeeding are largely to blame. When the liver is sluggish and adipose tissue can’t store fat fast enough, the liver can become clogged with excess fat. The liver then begins to function as an “overflow” system for fat storage, resulting in a vicious cycle that causes the metabolism to become dysfunctional and leads to weight gain, rising triglycerides, insulin resistance, elevated blood sugars, and inflammation in the body, causing vascular inflammation and elevated cholesterol. As you can see, it is not one organ, but many organs/systems working together—or not functioning well at all.

Be a Liver Lover
Don’t give up hope—you can play a role in helping your liver stay healthy and function well. The liver is an amazing organ that can self-regenerate and performs more than 500 functions in the body, including the regulation of adrenal and thyroid hormones as well as cholesterol production. And although the liver is one of the primary detoxification organs, we can help it do its job by not adding additional burden to it. The liver is a busy organ, so help it along!

Let’s give our liver some love and gratitude by giving it a little “thank you” and following these suggestions:

  • Reduce toxic burden: Eat organic, use filtered water and air, remove plastics and harsh chemicals in your cleaning supplies and self-care products, and remove processed foods from your diet.
  • Self-care: Increase circulation and sweat it out in a sauna or work out three times a week to help release toxins, dry brush to move the lymphatic system, and get a good night’s sleep to give the liver time to detox and repair. Try castor oil packs over the liver, take an Epsom salt bath, and release those negative emotions!
  • Nutrition: Bitter foods are one of the best ways to improve digestion and help the liver/gallbladder function. Other great food sources are milk thistle, artichoke, beetroot, blueberries, cruciferous vegetables, coriander, grapefruit, lemon and lime, turmeric, garlic, onions, and cilantro; add supplements such as resveratrol and vitamin D; cut out processed foods—especially refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup, and inflammatory oils such as vegetable, seed, and soybean oils; and finally, eat smaller portions throughout the day.

Betsy Opyt is a Licensed and Registered Dietitian as well as a Certified Diabetes Educator, Integrative and Functional Medicine Nutrition Therapist, and RYT200 yoga teacher. She specializes in nutrigenomics, gut health, food sensitivities, detoxing, inflammatory diseases, and longevity living. She also understands the importance of living a mindful life and incorporates her background of mindfulness and yoga teaching to her practice. Betsy is a professional speaker and advocate for healthy living and is available for individual consultations, group programs, and speaking engagements.

To learn more, visit: www.healthyconceptsconsulting.com. Contact Betsy at: betsy@healthyconceptsconsulting.com or 239.297.8844.