Hepatitis, cirrhosis, fatty liver, liver abscess (collection of pus), liver tumors and so on. Wondering what these are?They’re nothing but diseases of the liver which start with minor symptoms of liver problems and go on to reach chronic levels. The conditions and symptoms of which vary from person to person.
The liver, the second largest organ of your body, looks something like a football, and is responsible for a large number of functions. But do you know the most important function of the liver? It’s your very own in-built natural detoxifier! And it does not stop there! There are other functions of the liver, such as storing energy, digesting your food, and so on. The Chinese think that the liver, which derives its name from the word “live”, is the most important organ of the body and we cannot but agree with this potent statement.
An overload of toxins in the liver means bad news for the body! The liver works hard for your body, detoxifies the blood, produces bile to digest fat to break down hormones, and stores some essential vitamins and minerals such as iron. Time to up your green juice intake, especially if you have so long been lazy and just ignored your health (read, thrived on junk food, binged on alcohol and favored the couch instead of the oft-ignored treadmill which has almost turned into a makeshift clothes hanger!)
Hmm, guilty as charged, so is there no way to retrace our steps and get our liver back to functioning optimally? Are you thinking of going for that liver cleanse which you may have stumbled upon while browsing away merrily on the net? Wait! Not so fast! You can go for liver cleanses, but as they say, we often treat our diseases by their symptoms and do not pay attention to the root condition. First, we got to listen to our body and know more about the symptoms of liver problems.
People who suffer from chronic diseases often repent later, “Why didn’t I listen to my body?” “Why did I just ignore the pain?” And it goes on like this…you wouldn’t want to do that do you? Have regrets, that is. That is why that seemingly harmless bloating may have a completely different saga to tell only if we cared to pay heed. Take a note of the following symptoms and yes, do not IGNORE the symptoms, come what may!
Besides the above symptoms, there are some other not-so-common symptoms as well. These symptoms are usually noticed when the disease is detected in the advanced stages.
Elimination is the first stage of healing, by elimination I mean leaving out foods which cause irreparable damage to your liver and consequently, your health. Food nourishes your body, but we so often use it as a way to torture our body and our liver. The only way to stop it is by making the right lifestyle changes. Before I tell you, eat this and eat that and you will be able to fix your liver, strike these foods immediately from your diet, this will certainly answer the question of how to keep the liver healthy.
This may come as a shocker for most of us, some of our favorite foods must be eliminated from our diet. But I strongly believe that moderation is the key; too much of anything is bad. Yes, even that glass of green juice with the healthiest veggies in the world! Take a look at the things which you must start avoiding. These foods will help avoid the three most common liver problems, namely:
Most people think that you only get liver disease or liver problems if you consume alcohol. But that’s not true, anything that is difficult to break down and cannot be utilized for energy ends up in the liver, to get detoxified. Imagine the pressure we put on our poor liver! But are we making the job of detoxification any easier for the liver? Don’t think so, as we overindulge in alcohol, drugs, chemicals, fried foods, processed or refined foods (this includes a great many foods such as white flour, white sugar, pasteurized dairy, white sugar, low-quality meat to name just a few), your liver faces the brunt in almost every way.
Binging on too much of alcohol? That can prove to be costly to your health! Alcohol is not our only vice, we combine it with other vices such as cigarettes, prescription and/or over-the-counter medications, and a diet that your grandmother would certainly disapprove of! (Too much of packaged foods and not having enough whole, nutritious home-cooked food).
If you are suffering from fatty liver disease, your first step would be to kick the bad habits, period! The combination of fatty liver disease and the consumption of alcohol can spell Disaster with a capital D! If you have fatty liver disease and are a heavy drinker, quitting is the most important thing to do. Even if you are suffering from the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, you should try and eliminate alcohol from your diet.
Avoid too much of carb-laden foods such as bread, rice, corn, and grits. Don’t leave them out completely, just consume them in moderation. One way to detox your liver is to stop consuming the so-called “white foodstuff”;they include white bread, white rice and so on. When we over-consume refined carbs or any kind of carbs for that matter, our insulin levels spike tremendously and these constant spikes can finally lead to liver diseases. But yes, you cannot suddenly leave out these foods from your diet, try to reduce the quantity of these foods gradually.
Now that you have decided that you will show some love to your liver, here are a few important foods that will nourish your body with the right nutrients and keep it healthy for a long time to come. You can reverse the damage caused by an erratic lifestyle with the right nutrition, so if you are asking yourself how to keep your liver healthy; then this is the exact way to boost the liver’s function.
Do you know that if you are able to detox the liver in the optimum way, it can also increase your chances of losing weight?Suchis the power of the largest organ of the body, which we, unfortunately, take for granted. Power up your body with these right foods and enable your body to detoxify.
I have come to know about this unusual herb from my naturopathic friend who swears by its efficacy! He says, “You can use it for almost all liver diseases.” That would leave you wondering about the different liver diseases that this wonder herb can treat. The long list includes cirrhosis, viral hepatitis, alcoholic hepatitis, chemical toxicity and so on. You can get milk thistle in any herbal shop or online. Read labels thoroughly and only choose the medicine which is absolutely free of chemicals.
You can have 900 milligrams of milk thistle twice a day at your mealtimes.
The next best remedy would surely be apple cider vinegar. This is one of the best remedies to naturally detox your liver. You can have ACV right before your meals, and this will help to metabolize the fat easily.
Just blend one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into a glass of water. This could be a little too tart to gulp it down. To sweeten it up, blend it up with raw honey. You can drink this concoction thrice a day, but there are many who cannot partake apple cider vinegar. Start it with one tablespoon and then slowly increase the amount for consumption. This is one powerful natural medicine and acts as an antidote to liver problem symptoms.
This root is considered as one of the wonder remedies to cure most of your ailments, and to think, we almost gave up on this root thinking it to be a weed with no benefits whatsoever! So, just sip on this tea for a few days and your liver problems will be sorted in a jiffy! You will just roll your eyes, I know. Even if you do not suffer from any liver ailments, just sipping on this tea for a few days can improve the liver function drastically!
I had suddenly spotted this root powder in a food store and was wondering what it could possibly be when my friend asked me to make a tea out of it and sip on it at least twice a day to get real benefits. Also, I tried boiling a few roots in a glass of water and was quite surprised by the results. Try it to know for yourself what good can it do to your liver!
I am all for having a little bit of amla pickle with my rice and dal. The fact that it is rich in vitamin C makes it a potent medicine. Amla is a very liver-friendly fruit. You can consume at least 3-4 raw amlas for maximum benefits. I also have it grated and have it with a pinch of rock salt, the tang makes me go all wonky-eyed and my lips get all pursed, I still love it and it keeps my liver in optimal condition. Think of innovative ways to add amla to your diet. Share a few of your ideas too, would love to hear some.
Turmeric is great for your liver health, period. It not only contains antioxidants galore, but has antiseptic properties too. The yellow wonder spice can prevent the thriving of viruses which can lead to hepatitis B and C. Indian cooking does allow us to add ample amount of turmeric to our diets. You can add turmeric to your dals, sabzis and even to your milk. Just a pinch of this golden elixir can do wonders for your health, besides making you sleep like a baby. Is there no end to the benefits of this wonder spice? Apparently not!
Papaya is another food which can keep your liver functioning at optimal levels. It is especially good for treating liver diseases such as liver cirrhosis. One way to help your liver flush out toxins is just adding two teaspoonful of papaya juice and combiningit with just half a teaspoonful of lemon juice. You can consume it every day without side-effects.
A blend of spinach and carrot juice is a great remedy for liver cirrhosis. You can combine equal parts of both these juices to make a potent drink to reduce signs and symptoms of liver infection and other liver problems. You can consume this drink every single day to get great results. This is one of the winter juices which I love consuming. I just add a bit of rock salt and pepper powder to make it more appetizing. Sip it early in the morning and you will feel healthy from within; the glow on your face is something else!
Licorice is a major part of Ayurvedic medications to heal the ailing liver and it is pretty easy to make, just grind the licorice root and add it to boiling water, strain the liquid as you would strain any tea and consume the tea at least twice a day. This is the perfect natural medicine to cure your liver problems.
The phytonutrients present in flax seeds make thema perfect disease fighter. It prevents the hormones from circulating in the blood and puttingundue pressure on your liver. When it comes to flax seeds, you need to crush them to consume. You can use it in many ways such asin toasts, salads and smoothies andeven blend it in your flour.It will reduce the strain on your liver considerably.
My grandmother never forgot to begin her day with two pods of garlic with raw honey, and amazingly she reached the ripe old age of 92 without being down with any major disease. Was garlic responsible? Well, you can know more about it to decide for yourself. It contains sulphur compounds that help support the function of the liver and helps activate the liver enzymes that help get rid of the extra toxins and waste from your body. Garlic also contains selenium, which supports the thyroid gland and enables the detoxification process.
Ah, the power of warm water with lemon squeezed into it! It does not only help you lose weight but can aid in detoxification too. The entire lemon family cannot be ignored.In fact, the more the merrier. Lemons, limes, and grapefruits are all extremely potent sources of vitamin C and are brimming with antioxidants. Try to include more of them into your diet to boost enzyme production, which leads to the liver detoxification process.
The Brassica vegetables, such as the cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and broccoli contain sulphurcompounds like garlic, which kick-start the detoxification process and restore the health of the liver. The fibrous veggies are a potent force to help flush out toxins from your gut. As they say, your gut health holds primary importance and has a direct impact on your overall health. These must-include veggies into your diet lend worthy support in helping the liver in the metabolizing of hormones.
This fruit is suddenly the hot contender for the top slot of the most popular healthy foods of all time,upstaging the likes of apples and cruciferous veggies. But the reason avocado is finding its way to our toasts, smoothies and even ice-creams (wait a minute, ice-creams too?) is that this deceptive looking fruit, hideous as it looks, contains so many nutrients.There you go, I have incited the ire of all avocado lovers around the world!
Don’t worry, I love it too, and the smooth texture it lends to my food. Let’s face it, avocado makes healthy eating look chic. Most doctors tout glutathione as the “The Mother of All Antioxidants”. Glutathione is one of the most powerful warriors to slay the enemies, namely waste and toxins, and it helps the liver eliminate these chemicals from the body and protects against cellular damage.
Can you ever leave out green veggies from a list of healthy foods? Nope, never! And if it is bitter, you will know it is better! You may not like too many bitter thingsenter your system(you know, bitter words, bitter people, and bitter food!), but you know what? Your liver likes it! I mean, just the bitter food part. Stuff yourself with rapini, dandelion, arugula, mustard greens and also chicory. These leafy greens can initiate cleansing of the liver and neutralize heavy compounds; these heavy metals, by the way, can slow down the liver’s power to detoxify.
The liver detoxes your body in two phases.
In phase one, the liver takes a toxin and converts it into a less harmful toxin via several processes called oxidation, reduction or hydrolysis. This chemical reaction makes the toxic substances less toxic. This process, however, creates other harmful by-products that should be neutralized with ample antioxidants.
In phase two, the liver becomes even less toxic, owing to a buffer molecule. This toxin is then processed further to become water-soluble and this enables the body to get rid of the extra toxins through urine. Most toxins start the process of elimination in a fat-soluble state, and in this state, the body finds it really hard to excrete.
It goes without saying that both phases of the detoxification process have to work optimally to get to the elimination phase. This detoxification process may face a hurdle when you do not nourish the body with adequate nutrients, one phase does not work in tandem with the other phase and you keep overloading your system with more and more toxins.
Many people detest the very thought of consuming juices. Well, I did too! And now I am a convert. Just this very thought made me turn to juices, it’s more difficult to include so many greens in my food, so what’s the next best thing? Chop all the veggies put into a juicer and voilà! Your juice is ready! And this way you can have way more vegetables than it would have been otherwise possible, the perfect liver treatment recipe!
Beet would ensure that you are always in the pink of health! And it is just not because of the color, as you may have guessed. Beet is a great detoxifier, stimulates red blood cell production and helps build stamina. Add to that the goodness of the carrot which has a high source of antioxidants, and you have a perfect liver detoxifying drink. Juice it up!
Blend all the ingredients into a juicer and enjoy a refreshing drink.
Cucumber is the perfect negative calorie food, and you can pretty much add it to all your detox juices. It has 96% water content and flushes out toxins like a pro! Full of magnesium, folate, and vitamins, kale is a superfood that boasts of a tremendous number of benefits. Basically, why it works is because of its huge fiber content, which aids in digestion. Kale is literally the king of detoxification. Add the other nutritional powerhouse, Swiss chard which has a generous number of polyphenols, enzymes, and phytonutrients, and you geta nutritional powerhouse!
Blend all the ingredients in a juicer and sip on!
We already know that vitamin C is great for your liver, and we have a perfect recipe to treat all kinds of liver ailments. Dandelion greens boastof richness of folate, besides other nutrients like vitamin A, copper and iron. Parsley can give stiff competition to spinach in the iron department. Here is exactly how you are going to make your detox drink.
Place the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Sip on!
Beet is a vegetable rich in antioxidants. The important nutrients include betaine, which helps the liver cells to eliminate toxins; the fiber is known as pectin, which helps clear the toxins eliminated from the liver so that they don’t go back into the body, and there are betalains, which have anti-inflammatory properties to enable the detoxification process.
Lemons add that zesty punch to your drinks, and it is the most inexpensive way to detox. Add to that the liver-friendly turmeric and the good fat in the form of chia seeds to enable better absorption of the valuable nutrients from each of these foods. Sweeten it up as per your taste with the raw honey and you are good to go!
Which is the healthiest green in the world? You would probably name spinach, kale, chard, and collards. You are right, as they are easily the most nutritionally packed food on the planet. They contain both alkalizing and detoxifying properties that will protect your liver, and your health will also greatly benefit from it in the long run. The cucumber and the watermelon add to the hydrating water quotient of the drink.
This is the drink which you can even feed your kids as you can camouflage the hidden greens with the sweetness of the watermelons.
Raw cabbage juice has a pretty sharp taste, but it enables digestion and prevents both fluid retention and constipation. Cabbage also contains a number of compounds that can not only protect your liver but also help your body be strong enough to fight against chronic diseases like cancer. All the veggies in this healthy juice contain compounds that clean the intestines and kick-start the detoxification process. If the juice seems too bitter, then balance out the taste with more watercress.
Blend it all together for a glass of refreshing juice perfect to treat liver infection or liver swelling.
Move more and sit less, this is one of the only ways to protect your health, besides of course, eating right. Circulation is the primary way to start the cleansing process. When the body is stagnant, the blood also remains stagnant and hence becomes more prone to diseases. But exercise ensures that your heart pumps more blood. The liver then is able to release more blood to reach the brain, tendons, muscles, and joints. Exercise also enables the nutrients to reach the reproductive and/or digestive organs so it enables smooth menstrual flow and optimal bowel movement.
It is not about what kind of exercises you do; the fact of the matter is that you have to do get up and move your butt! Every day, spare 30 minutes from your busy schedule for your health and count your steps! Always try to notch up at least 10,000 steps in a day, it will mean you have been able to maintain your activity levels, all throughout the day.
You can try strength-training, cardio or yoga, whichever suits your purpose and helps you reach your fitness goals. And never forget to get adequate sleep at night. Sleep is the time where the body undergoes the detoxification process. So, if you are looking for the ultimate home remedies for the liver disease, the recipe is pretty simple, all you have to do is eat right, move more and sleep tight; and you will be certainly sorted.
Devi Gajendran is a Post Graduate in Nutrition (University of Madras, Tamil Nadu) and has tons of experience in Fitness and Nutrition. She is the chief advisor and full time contributor at the Fit Indian and has the final say on all the segments under the Fit Indian paradigm, such as beauty, fitness, home remedies, diseases, diet tips, weight loss, weight gain and so on. A foodie herself, she believes in the Hippocrates quote,” Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” A fitness enthusiast, she believes that the combination of diet and exercise can work wonders. When she is not sharing her valuable knowledge about food and fitness, she likes to spend quality time with her family members, do some healthy baking and listen to soft soulful music.
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