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20 Of The Best Foods And Herbs For A Healthy Liver
Our livers are something no one gives a second thought to until there is a problem. If you imagine that your body is a giant fish tank. Your liver would be the water filter, and you, friend, are the fish. Now imagine that someone dumps a bunch of junk and chemicals in the water, in addition to the leftover food and feces. Imagine that the filter (your liver) gets so clogged up that it can no longer clean the water, or can barely function. Imagine how long that little fishy (you) is going to be able to live in that polluted water.
This scenario illustrates clearly how important your liver is, not only to your health, but to your very life. One of the good things about our livers is that they have the ability to regenerate themselves and to repair minor damage. There are a number of foods and herbs that Mother Nature put on this planet that support liver health, enable the liver to cleanse itself, and regenerate itself should it become impaired.
Your liver produces bile, a detoxifying compound that breaks down and then removes toxins from the body. Bile is also indispensable for breaking down fats in your food. Every single organ in the body relies on the liver for their health and proper functioning. If your liver should become impaired, unable to construct just one of the thousands of enzymes it makes every day, then there is a potential for impairment in the overall functioning of the body.
By consuming some of the foods and herbs that help the liver cleanse and restore itself, you can keep your body functioning at its absolute best. You don’t have to eat all of these foods every day, but try to eat at least one or two each day to keep your liver, and your entire body, working at its absolute best.
1. Milk Thistle
Perhaps one of the best liver cleansing and liver supporting herbs known to man. The active ingredient in milk thistle is silymarin. Silymarin protects the liver by stopping damaging compounds that can cause liver cell damage. This same compound also stimulates the regeneration of new, healthy cells in the liver, helping the liver to repair itself. Glutathione is one of the most important nutrients for liver detoxification, and silymarin helps to prevent the depletion of this nutrient.
Yep, plain old water. This is an essential part of virtually every bodily function. You need to drink those 8 glasses of water every day to help your liver regenerate cells faster a well as move those nutrients throughout your body. You might get tired of hearing about how you need to drink more water, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
3. Lemons and Limes
In order to make that water less boring, why not add some freshly squeezed organic lemon or lime juice to it? Not only will it make your water more interesting, this will encourage the production of bile, which is what makes your liver flush out toxins.
4. Yellow Dock Root
Although this herb is often thought of as only a blood purifier, it is also terrific at cleansing toxins from your body. This root stimulates the production of bile, which will help to break down fatty foods. Yellow dock root will also help to detoxify the body as it is a natural diuretic, which will help your body remove the toxins that the liver breaks down. It’s also known to help reduce irritation in the digestive system as well as the liver.
Garlic is not only good for the heart, it’s great for your liver as well, and it doesn’t take much to help the liver do its job. One clove contains all the alllicin and selenium you need to help remove toxins. Always use organic garlic and crush the clove a bit to help release those active compounds. Swallow it whole if you can, or chop it up and put it in a salad or stir fry.
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This sweet smelling herb does a whole lot more than just freshen your breath– it also relaxes the bile ducts and stimulates bile production. Peppermint also reduces bad cholesterol in the blood, which will ease the load on your liver. This herb will also calm the stomach for improved digestion, and inhibit any blockages in the gallbladder and/or kidneys. These are all terrific reasons to really enjoy that cup of peppermint tea tonight.
The skin of apples contains high levels of pectin, which helps to cleanse the digestive tract. This makes your liver’s job much easier.
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8. Dandelion Root
This humble little weed is actually a super liver and blood cleanser. The roots from dandelions stimulate the flow of bile and are often recommended by herbalists to fight acne, estrogen dominance, fatty livers, and even cirrhosis of the liver.
Keeping your liver healthy and helping it to cleanse itself does not get any tastier than this. All berries are rich in healthy nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants, which support a healthy liver as well as a healthy digestive system. Any type of berry will do the job: blueberries, strawberries, black berries, raspberries… you name it. This is a good reason to keep a bag of some type of frozen berry in your freezer at all times so you can put those little jewels of sweetness on everything!
10. Chicory Root
Known for its beautiful blue flowers, this is often used as a coffee substitute. This is an ancient medicinal herb that is well-known for its ability to cleanse the liver. The ancient Persians, Romans, and Indians all used chicory root and leaves to help prevent and cure gallbladder and liver stones, kidney stones, indigestion, headaches, and even depression.
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Any way you like to eat them, grapefruits are simply loaded with vitamin C and an important antioxidant called naringenin. All of these important nutrients will prevent your liver from storing fat and have it acting like a detoxifying stick of dynamite! No wonder so many people start their day with a half a grapefruit for breakfast. Read more how grapefruit detoxes your body naturally.
12. Borotutu Bark
The bark from this tree is another super powerful substance when it comes to supporting the digestive system and cleansing the liver. This bark even shows great promise in helping to fight jaundice and biliary colic. Borotutu bark also contains powerful antioxidants that can also help protect the liver from damage.
13. Green Tea
Green tea has been found to have so many healing properties; you should find ways to drink a couple of cups of this super antioxidant tea every single day. One of these antioxidants, called catechins, is found only in green tea and will prevent your liver from storing fat. This will help your liver work more efficiently.
14. Chanca Piedra
Used by the indigenous people of the Amazon for centuries, this herb has been found to encourage the elimination of gallbladder, kidney, and liver stones. It also encourages the liver to purge itself of foreign particles and dangerous or harmful toxins. This herb will stimulate the production of bile, soothe the liver, and reduce the formation of calcified stones.
Avocados are full of healthy fat, which helps to remove harmful toxins in the liver. It will also add that super healthy antioxidant glutathione to your body, which is really bad news for toxins in your body, but good news for your health, and the health of your liver.
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Adding more of this spice to your diet is a super easy way to improve your health and cleanse the liver at the same time. Turmeric will kick start the production of enzymes that will remove harmful carcinogens from your liver and increase the production of bile.
17. Leafy Green Vegetables
If you listen closely, you can hear your liver begging you to eat more of these super healthy foods. Chlorophyll will help filter out toxins at an incredible rate and encourage the production of bile. So look for ways to eat more kale, spinach, beet greens, and mustard greens into your diet.
18. Cold Pressed Oils
Consuming organic oils such as hempseed, flaxseed, or olive oil will help to remove a great deal of toxic stress on your liver. These oils encourage lipid production, which help to absorb harmful compounds and keep them from making your body their home. Always buy virgin, cold pressed oils for the best health benefits.
19. Greater Celandine
This age-old herb is one of the most powerful liver cleansing agents around; even the ancient Greeks and Romans used it for this purpose. In fact, the famous French herbalist Maurice Messegue used this herb for his patients with liver problems. This herb will stimulate the production of enzymes from the pancreas, which will help the liver remove toxins. It also stimulates bile production, soothes the gallbladder, and stimulates a sluggish liver.
20. Globe Artichokes
This type of artichoke has a compound called caffeylquinic acid, which has strong liver regenerating effects that are very similar to milk thistle. This is usually sold in capsule form, as a supplement, and the recommended dose is between 300 to 500mg each day.
If you believe that you might have a liver condition, or if you are consuming any prescription drugs, always check with your doctor before consuming any herbs. Even foods as common as grapefruit can cause serious drug interactions. If you are pregnant or have any type of health condition, you should always consult your holistically minded physician before you begin any herb or other type of cleansing program.