Liver

6 Liver Cleansing Tips To Help You Slim Down

You may not know it but the liver is very important when it comes to losing weight and detoxing. This often overlooked organ acts as a filtering system by cleansing the body of toxins, breaking down hormones and food by products. 

When the liver is overworked, toxic residues can build up causing inflammation and the build-up of fat, especially around the middle. Detoxing your liver helps it to function better by relieving the burden on it. A stressed-out liver can’t break down fat as well, so this affects your body’s ability to digest foods, too. The result can be bloating and sluggishness as well as weight gain. Cleansing your body can help your liver to work more effectively.

According to expert nutritionist for USANA Health Sciences, Ravinder Lilly: “Contrary to common belief, it’s not just alcohol that leads to a fatty liver, there are many factors that can compromise it such as a bad diet, and lack of exercise. A liver detox is a great way to improve your overall health and get your body bikini ready.”

As well as regular exercise and sticking to moderate alcohol consumption, Ms Lilly shares her 6 top tips for the ultimate liver spring clean:

1. Get your downward dog on. Everyone knows yoga is great for your health, but most people don’t know it’s particularly good for your liver. So, not only do yoga poses make you fitter and more flexible, they also stimulate the liver and help with the body’s detoxification process. Time to roll out that yoga mat!

2. Go green. We’re not talking green frogs and peppermint chocolate here, but spinach, avocado, kale and broccoli neutralize heavy metals within the body that put a high level of strain on the liver. Increasing the amount of green vegetables you eat is an easy way to detoxify your liver.

3. Wake up and smell the water. Drinking a glass of warm water first thing in the morning helps kick start your liver’s detoxification process. People often limit how much liquid they drink; fearing it will lead to water weight, but water actually has the opposite effect thanks to its cleansing ability. If weight loss is what your main priority is, then drinking water (and lots of it) is the way to go.

4. Try some curry. The Indian spice, turmeric which is a relative of ginger and gives curries their golden glow is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Curcumin, its active ingredient may also protect the liver by helping to expel toxins via phase liver detoxification reactions.

5. Less of the sweet, more of the sour. It may be surprising but the flavour of your food affects your liver function. Try and incorporate bitter foods into your diet every day, ideally at each meal. Foods like lemon, vinegar and olive oil are important for assisting and increasing the bile flow. Sugary foods and drinks are broken down into a type of fat called triglycerides and excess are stored in and around the liver, making liver function sluggish. Cutting out sugar helps the body breaks down the fat in your liver and thus it will work more efficiently.

6. Crack more jokes. Laughter naturally increases the production of an antibody that is responsible for protecting us against infections. It’s a great way to stop yourself from getting sick.  So whether you think something is funny or not, best to laugh anyway!

August 13, 2014

10 Ways to Love Your Liver (and Improve Your Health)

If one of your new year goals is to work on your health, a good place to start is with your liver. And good liver health means more than just watching how much you drink.

Loving your liver is pretty easy when you know how. Follow these 10 tips to protect your liver and watch your wellbeing improve.

1. Maintain a healthy weight
It’s estimated that 60% of Australians are overweight or obese. And of those classed as obese, approximately 30% will have fatty liver disease, putting them at high risk of liver scarring (cirrhosis), liver failure and liver cancer.

If you carry any excess weight around your middle, it can cause insulin resistance which often leads to fatty liver disease. Measure your middle and  keep it at a healthy circumference. Men should maintain a waist of less than 102cm and women, less than 88cm. Exercising and eating a diet that’s low in fat and high in fibre, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals will help you maintain a healthy weight and liver.

2. Avoid fad diets
Fad diets that make your weight yoyo can put excessive stress on your liver. Avoid any products that promise large amounts of weight loss in an unrealistically short period of time. These diets are usually lacking in essential nutrients and are not beneficial. Aim to lose weight at a healthy rate of ½ -1kg per week.

Liver cleansing and detox diets should also be avoided. Contrary to popular belief, no particular diet is liver cleansing, but a healthy diet improves wellbeing. Take a look at our diet page and ask your doctor or dietitian to help you create a healthy and nutritious diet plan.

3. Limit your fat intake
High levels of fat in the blood (hyperlipidaemia) and high levels of cholesterol (hypercholesterolaemia) are common causes of fatty liver disease. Keep your levels low by keeping your fat intake low. And of the little fats you do eat, make sure they’re unsaturated (poly- and monounsaturated fats). If a low fat diet isn’t working for you, speak to your doctor about medications that can help.

4. Drink alcohol in moderation
Sensible consumption of alcohol is critical to your health. While alcoholism is more common among men, women are more susceptible to the adverse effects of alcohol on the liver. In fact, it takes as little as 20 grams of alcohol daily (only two standard drinks) for women to develop liver problems. If you can’t cut back, talk to your doctor about getting professional help.

5. Go for regular blood tests
A blood test is the best way to keep an keen eye on the levels of fat, cholesterol and glucose in your blood – all of which are associated with fatty liver disease. Too much glucose can be an indication that you have Impaired Glucose Tolerance or Diabetes – in both cases you’ll need to carefully control your blood sugar levels through diet, medications and/or weight loss.

Have you ever experimented with intravenous drugs? Did you have a blood transfusion, or organ transplant prior to 1992? If so, make sure you get tested for hepatitis C.

6. Quit smoking
It’s been proven that smoking cigarettes is linked to the development of liver cancer. Smoking can also enhance the toxic effects that some medications (such as Paracetamol) have on the liver. Talk to your doctor, or ring Quitline to get help.

7. Get a jab
Talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated against hepatitis A and B. If you choose not to get vaccinated against hepatitis A, make sure you avoid sushi, or raw/partially cooked clams, oysters, mussels and scallops, as these fish often live in hepatitis A-contaminated rivers and seas. If you choose not to get vaccinated against hepatitis B, practice safer sex.

8. Ask your doctor
Mixing medications is never advised without seeking advice from your doctor or pharmacist. This applies to herbal supplements as well as prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Some medications require the liver to work extra hard to metabolise them, and taking too many medications at once can damage the liver. Some herbal supplements can actually be toxic to the liver, such as kava, comfrey, chaparral, kombucha tea, pennyroyal and skullcap. Read our common toxins page for more information.

9. Protect yourself
Practice safer sex and protect yourself from hepatitis B. Unlike hepatitis B, hepatitis C isn’t classified as a sexually transmissible infection, but if there is a chance of blood to blood contact, you should practice safer sex. Less commonly, toothbrushes, razors and other personal care items can also transmit hepatitis B or C, so don’t borrow, or share yours with anyone!

10. Don’t ignore your liver
If you’ve been told that something is wrong with your liver, ask your doctor for a referral to a liver specialist (hepatologist). You might feel fine, but the signs and symptoms of liver disease and hepatitis are not always present.

What are your health goals for 2014?

January 9, 2014