Mind Your Liver

This time of year, and day 4 of 12 days of Christmas, I’d like to remind everyone of the huge job our livers do, processing and storing the food and drink we eat. In addition our livers also do the job of breaking down toxic and allergenic products in our diet and on our skins. Too much food and too much Alcohol is well known as a challenge to the liver, but I’ll list a few other surprise challenges to the liver.  Also I’d like to give you some advice on getting your liver in better order……………………

Moderation in food and alcohol are of course first in my advice list, to help your liver. Not everyone is good at moderation, but a few skipped meals, or delayed meals can be easier to cope with. Recent studies in animals show that restricting eating to a narrower window of the day, greatly improves health and reduces weight gains that would occur if the food were extended over the usual 24 hour timetable. Michael Moseley’s 8/16 diet is one I would recommend, and you can read about it on his website. He suggests restricting eating to 8 day-light hours only and try and do “non-eating” for a further 16 hours, which means the rest of the day. This gives your entire body system a 16 hour rest, and in particular perhaps your tired old liver.

The best tonic for the liver is a combination of tonic liver herbs, such as my Des Lardner Liver tonic (needs consult) or Fusion Liver Tonic tablets. Also Dandelion coffee too is available in store. Use 1-2 cups prior to meals or between meals for improved digestion.  Bitter herbs/foods are the simplest liver tonic and include: vinegar, lemons, olives, apple cider vinegar, ginger, and turmeric. Less common tonics are globe artichoke, rhubarb and dandelion plants, occasionally used in cooking in the kitchen.

Signs your liver is stressed, include weight changes, digestive disorders and tiredness, along with headache, muscle aches, memory loss, allergies, mood disorders, poor skin, trouble digesting alcohol, pale stools, dark urine, dark circles under the eyes and around 25 other symptoms. Any of these would suggest a more thorough questioning and testing would be wise, preferably from a natural therapists like our naturopaths. The liver generally responds well to tonic therapy and can heal itself, once the cause of the problem is located and the right repair started.

Foods to avoid or cut back after Christmas include sugar and sugary drinks, especially with Fructose, also short chain proteins that occur in some muscle building supplements, caffeine, excess alcohol as above, high fat foods, and exposure to modern chemicals. In the meantime relax and enjoy those Yuletide feasts.

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