Most of us know that the liver is responsible for removing toxins from the body. But most of us don’t realize just how hard our livers have to work in today’s age. Free radicals and other toxins accumulate inside our livers and oxidize our cells. When metal oxidizes, it rusts. When our cells oxidize, we age. By taking care of our livers, we can slow down and even reverse the aging process. Learn how to show the liver some love with these tips.
Eat more fruit
Fruit is our best source of antioxidants. The antioxidants that give fruits their vibrant colors travel to our livers and neutralize free radicals. Dark colored fruits like berries are especially high in antioxidants. Wild blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant concentrations than any other food. Dragonfruit is another antioxidant-rich fruit that contains antioxidants that are especially rejuvenating to the liver.
Don’t buy into the myth that we should limit our fruit intake because it contains too much sugar. Fruit does contain sugar, but it contains healthy sugar that our bodies, especially the liver, need. Fruit sugar does not behave in the body the same way as processed sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Americans are not suffering from obesity and other chronic health problems because they eat too much fruit. It’s the opposite. We should aim to get at least five servings of fruit a day, but don’t be afraid to go higher.
Eat less fat
Fat is hard on the liver. One of the liver’s jobs is to process fat. When our diets are high in fat, the liver gets overwhelmed trying to process all of it. It has to divert most of its energy from detoxing to producing bile and digesting fat. Over time, this can decrease the liver’s bile production. This overwhelms the liver even more, allowing more toxins to build up in the liver, and therefore speeding up the aging process.
We can give our liver a break by decreasing our current fat intake by half. Make up for lost calories by loading up on more fruits and vegetables. The easiest way to accomplish this is to limit the intake of animal products. Animal products are naturally high in fat, including eggs and dairy. Even chicken breast can have a lot of hidden fat. For those who enjoy eating meat, try to limit meat intake to no more than once a day. Plant-based eaters can decrease the consumption of nuts, seeds, oils, and avocados by half. Ketogenic diets are becoming more popular these days. However, keep in mind that any initial benefits come at a detriment to the liver and speed up the aging process.
Hydration is a key component to flushing out toxins, and most of us are walking around chronically dehydrated. We cannot detox without water. And when we are adequately hydrated, our skin plumps up, smoothing out wrinkles. One of the best ways to make water more hydrating is to add a little squeeze of lemon or lime. The natural mineral salts in the lemon or lime act as a natural electrolyte that makes the water reach deeper into our cells. Drinking 16 ounces of fresh lemon or lime water first thing in the morning is the best way to flush out toxins the liver has been collecting overnight. And hydration isn’t simply about drinking more water. We should also limit things that dehydrate, such as alcohol, caffeine, processed sugar, and excess salt.
Drink more green juices, especially celery juice
Fresh juices made with green vegetables—like cucumber, kale, and spinach—are one of the best ways to replenish vitamin and mineral deficiencies, not to mention all the antioxidants and phytochemicals we are getting. Juice concentrates all the nutritional benefits of a large number of fruits and vegetables. And because the body does not have to expend energy digesting all those fruits and vegetables, even the most dysfunctional gut can absorb the nutrients from juices. The natural electrolytes present in fruits and vegetables make juices way more hydrating than plain water alone. It’s like nature’s IV therapy, but without the needle and way more benefits.
Celery juice on its own is a miracle tonic for the liver. It helps restore the liver’s bile reserves, helps rebuild stomach acid, kills pathogens in the liver and gut, and flushes toxins out of the liver. Drinking 16 ounces of plain celery juice on an empty stomach should be considered the fountain of youth. And don’t be tempted to add anything to the celery juice, as this will dilute its healing properties.
We don’t need to age any faster than we are supposed to. The more we love our liver, we may notice wrinkles starting to soften, age spots starting to fade, and excess weight falling away.
April Sullivan, ND is a Washington state licensed naturopathic doctor and owner of Memphis Natural Health. Dr. Sullivan is the only naturopathic doctor in the region that attended an accredited 4-year naturopathic medical school. She works with a broad range of health conditions, but has a special interest in thyroid and autoimmune disorders. For more information, call 901.207.7084 or visit Memphisnaturalhealth.com.