When you hear the word detoxification, it usually brings up images of exotic juice fasts or powders that leave you sitting on the loo all day!
But your body has its own detoxification system – your liver.
It’s an amazing thing your liver – did you know it’s the largest organ in the body, weighing over four pounds? And if you lost three-quarters of it, it would regenerate into a whole new liver?
And it has so many jobs to do. Over 500 at the last count.
Are you looking after it? That doesn’t just mean watching how many glasses of wine you’re drinking. Of course that’s important, but did you know that as well as detoxing alcohol, your liver also regulates your hormones?
And deals with all the chemicals you are exposed to (that includes the perfume you spray on, the chlorine in your tap water, the pills you take and the pesticides on your fruit and veg).
Your liver is working harder than ever. Over the last few decades, it has had to deal with thousands of new chemicals – in the air you breathe, the food you eat, the products you use and
the water you drink. And clear up that nightly glass or two of wine!
And when your liver struggles to cope, toxins and waste can get backed up (like a Hoover bag full of dust) and they can get recirculated back into our bloodstream.
How does that affect your hormones?
1. Oestrogen; one important role of the liver is to get rid of excess oestrogen, a very important process as too much oestrogen can cause PMS, heavy periods, breast tenderness, bloating, weight gain and headaches. You might also have a build-up of more dangerous metabolites of oestrogen, the ones that can cause increased risk of breast cancer and other chronic diseases.
2. Thyroid – your liver is where a lot of your thyroid hormones get converted into active mode, so if the liver is struggling, a deficiency of active thyroid hormones can slow down your metabolism, hang on to fat stores and crash your energy levels. And equally a sluggish thyroid inhibits liver function! And round you go again…
3. Blood sugar; your liver plays a vital role in blood sugar balance. If your diet is too carb heavy, or you have a lot of stress going on, your liver can struggle to regulate your blood sugar which can cause fatigue, sugar cravings, fat storage (especially belly fat), mood swings and brain fog.
10 tips to love your liver
1. Drink more water, less alcohol! Now you don’t need me to tell you this one, it’s a no-brainer, but as you get older your liver is less able to cope with alcohol, and hydration is even more important (just saying…!)
2. Eat more broccoli – and cauliflower, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, rocket, watercress – they are all cruciferous veg that are loaded with something called indole-3-carbinol which helps to detoxify that excess oestrogen. Aim for two portions a day (if you can’t manage that, DIM is the supplement that does a similar thing).
4. Eat enough protein – protein helps your liver processes. A protein shake is an easy way to get protein into your diet. Make sure it’s a good quality whey or plant based if you are dairy intolerant.
5. Get your bowels moving – if you’re constipated, your toxic waste is going to build up in your gut, and guess what? Your oestrogen is going to get recycled. So eat plenty of fibre, supplement with magnesium (citrate is best for relaxing the bowel), drink plenty of water and exercise daily.
6. Watch the pill popping – don’t just pop a pill without thought! Your liver has to detox any kind of medication, including paracetamol, ibuprofen, birth control pills and indigestion tablets.
7. Reduce stress – make time for your food (try mindful eating), balance your cortisol by practising daily relaxation techniques (mindfulness, deep breathing, long baths, music, etc).
8. Switch your personal and household products to natural organic ones – what you put on your skin goes straight into your bloodstream. Put your product into the App ‘Think Dirty’ to see how ‘toxic’ it is.
9. Go organic – reduce your exposure to harmful pesticides and other mass chemicals by switching to organic for fruit, veg, dairy, eggs and meat where possible.
10. Get a sweat on! Sweating is a great way to get rid of toxins. The skin is one of your most important detoxification organs. Exercise, saunas, steam rooms – try anything that gets your sweat dripping.
Supplements can be helpful too. DIM as I've mentioned, add in some Magnesium, Milk Thistle, NAC or Glutathione and a good multi to provide the basics.
If you would like to talk to an expert about any aspect of your health, do get in touch! You can apply for a free Discovery Call here.