Good Food Good Health – Healthy Liver

Detoxing is big business nowadays through diets, scrubs and fasting. Salons are popping up everywhere with the latest ’star’ of the moment and their ‘new’ detoxing programme promising wonders.

Keeping your liver in a healthy state should be a priority and by eating a healthy varied nutritional diet of good food for good health keeps our own personal detoxifier – our liver, working to rid our body of toxins and to go about its endless tasks.

Looking after your organ is vital, as everything we ingest, inhale or absorb through our skin has to be detoxified and refined.

Damage can be caused to the liver through a poor diet made up of high fatty foods, high alcohol intake, chemicals – in the air we breathe or apply to the skin, and through drugs.

Obviously we all need to take prescribed drugs at some time in our lives so whilst taking the medication make sure you are eating a diet of good high nutritional food to help the liver detox. Drugs taken regularly for recreational use have been shown to cause serious problems.

Fatty degeneration of the liver is caused by excessive fat build up and impairs the ability to function and handle fat properly, this allows fat to be stored around the body accumulating often around the waistline or being deposited as cellulite under the skin.

50 per cent of people aged 50 and over now suffer with fatty degeneration; this is a much higher rate than at any time before.

Common symptoms of this are having ‘a spare tyre’ or potbelly and being unable to lose weight. The size of our nations waistlines has hit the headlines many times recently due to poor diets and lack of exercise, even though today we have access to so many good foods all year round.

If your liver is damaged through fatty degeneration the proper regulation of cholesterol levels is hampered -therefore failing to manufacture enough ‘good’ HDL cholesterol and allowing bad LDL cholesterol to build up in the arteries. This has been associated with increased risk of having a stroke or heart attack.

You can help yourself to help your liver detox itself by eating the right kind of fat and types of food necessary to repair itself and start working properly.

Helpful detoxifying foods for the liver are easy to add to your diet and if you are already eating a healthy diet of good food including plenty of fruit and vegetables – best lightly cooked – you are all ready giving yourself a head start to good health.

By adding the other foods listed below regularly into your diet will help to keep your liver working at it’s potential.

Mushrooms contain glutamic acid that is needed to produce glutathione and aid liver detoxification.

Avocado and papaya helps the body produce glutathione.

Onions and garlic – the sulphur compounds and methionine in these are important for detoxification, also contain glutathione a powerful anti-oxidant. Cabbage, broccoli and eggs also a good source of methionine.

Asparagus and watermelon are also rich in glutathione.

Beets and tomatoes contain anti-oxidants such as beta-carotene, caratenoids and flavanoids that help limit damage by free radicals, helping to cleanse and heal the liver, also a good source of folic acid.

Brazil nuts are high in selenium a good anti-oxidant needed for detoxification.

Protein is helpful for the liver so include fish and chicken etc.

Another excellent food for general liver health is soy-beans as these contain lecithin – this helps to break down fats and help to reduce high cholesterol levels, also helps maintain healthy membranes around liver cells.

Walnuts contain arginine that helps detoxify ammonia and are rich in glutathione.

It is best to limit the amount of foods that makes the liver work harder to sensible amounts, saturated fats as in sausages, hot dogs, salami and bacon and also high fat dairy products – cheese, butter and ice cream.

Saturated fat is also found in many snack foods including fast foods, doughnuts, crisps and french fries. Processed food should also be limited.

Caffeine from tea and coffee should be limited to 2 or 3 cups a day. Caffeine is broken down by the liver but can make it more difficult to cleanse itself, so why not try a ‘half caf’ variety and then you can still enjoy your cuppa, this is what I always buy and cannot taste the difference. You could use ‘decaf’, but some caffeine is useful to give us a perk.

We all know alcohol stresses the liver and its detoxification process, and that when consumed regularly in large amounts can cause actual damage and immune suppression.

Not only heavy drinking, binge drinking can cause the same effect. It is far better to drink ‘little and often’ than bingeing.

Alcohol in moderation is the best course to take with regular periods of no alcohol at all. If you feel better after abstaining from drinking then it is a good indication that your liver was not coping with the amount of alcohol that you were consuming before.

Refined sugar such as sucrose, dextrose, glucose, maltose and other syrups that end in ‘ose’ are hard on the liver. Natural fructose that is still in food such as ‘fruit con fructose’ etc is perfectly ok.

We never say that you cannot eat and enjoy any type of foods, it is just the amount and the frequency that they are eaten that can do damage, so keep these ‘bad’ types of foods as treats – there is nothing better than walking along the sea front on a cold blustery day eating a hot freshly cooked doughnut.

Try hard not to use these foods for comfort eating as this is generally when we can go astray on our diets and use them as a crutch, as with alcohol and then find it difficult to amend our ways.

Chemicals that get into our body through food should also be cut down, food colourings are a good example, but what are often overlooked are pesticides. Pesticides are sprayed several times through the growing life of our fruit and vegetables, so make sure that you thoroughly wash them before consuming.

So remember ‘good food good health’ is the best way to keep your body working like clockwork, and a diet made up of a variety of good nutritional food will give you all the vitamins and minerals you should need.

Happy eating for a healthy liver