The liver is an amazing organ. But if you’re like most folks you never give yours much thought. Well, unless something goes wrong with it of course.
But we all should pay more attention to our livers.
Your liver—the largest organ in your body—performs a number critical functions that you need to survive. It helps digest your food, it stores energy and it cleanses your body of dangerous toxins.1 In fact, your liver is called on to perform hundreds of different metabolic functions in your body including forming cholesterol and other substances your body uses to create and repair cells.2
These days we’re giving our poor overworked livers more of a workout than ever before. Processed foods, environmental toxins and stress all can take their toll on your liver’s health.
4 ridiculously easy ways to support liver health
Following are four easy ways you can help protect your liver and give it the support it needs to stay healthy for life…
1. Drink coffee:
We’re big fans of coffee around here. (And when I say we I mean me, of course.) If you’re not caffeine sensitive coffee’s not just a great pick-me-up, it can also be a terrific way to help protect your liver.
Coffee is full of healthy antioxidants and may help reduce liver inflammation as it naturally detoxifies your liver. In fact, research has found a link between drinking java and a lower incidence of liver disease.3
Sip on three cups a day to slash your risk of abnormal liver enzymes by a healthy 25 percent!4 And those same three cups could be protecting you from liver cancer at the same time, according to study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention.5
And if you’re caffeine sensitive I’ve got great news! Feel free to drink decaf as experts say you’ll still reap the benefits of the coffee.6 Just be sure to skip the inflammation-promoting sugars and syrups, drink it black or with a splash of fresh cream instead.
2. Take milk thistle:
The active ingredient in the herb milk thistle is a potent antioxidant by the name of silymarin. Silymarin is a natural anti-inflammatory that research has shown can help protect the liver by supporting healthy liver function and metabolism.7,8
Milk thistle helps suppress the release of the cytokines that start ramping up with fatty liver inflammation, protecting your liver and allowing it to generate new healthy liver cells and begin to heal.
3. Pop a probiotic:
By now everyone knows that probiotics can help improve your digestion, but what you may not realize is they can lend a helping hand to your liver too. First, by supporting healthy digestion probiotics help your body rid itself of troublesome toxins before they overwhelm your liver. And second, those same probiotics help shore up your intestinal wall keeping bad bacteria from bombarding your liver.9,10
But the liver support doesn’t end there. Research also shows that probiotics can help turn the tide on early signs on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.11
4. Try turmeric:
You’re probably most familiar with turmeric as the spice that gives many Indian dishes their gorgeous golden-yellow color. But it turns out turmeric isn’t just another pretty face. This powerful herb is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and could also be your liver’s best friend.
According to researchers, curcumin—the active ingredient in turmeric—was able to help repair and even regenerate the damaged livers of diabetic rats.12 And in another animal study, published in the journal Gut, researchers found that curcumin was able to delay the kind of liver damage that eventually leads to cirrhosis of the liver.13,14
Without a healthy and fully functioning liver your body can’t effectively rid itself of toxins. Everything you take in… both the good and the bad… makes a pass through your hardworking liver. So why not give your liver the support it needs? It will return the favor by ridding your body of sickening toxins and keeping you healthy.
1. “Liver Diseases: Also called: Hepatic disease,” Medline Plus,
2. “Cholesterol, Lipoproteins and the Liver,” University of Washington,
3. “Increased caffeine consumption is associated with reduced hepatic fibrosis,” Hepatology. 2010 Jan; 51(1): 201–209.
4. “Unexpected effects of coffee consumption on liver enzyme,” Eur J Epidemiol. 1993 May;9(3):293-7.
5. “Coffee consumption and risk of hepatocellular carcinoma and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma by sex: The Liver Cancer Pooling Project, ” Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, Published Online First June 30, 2015
6. Inverse associations of total and decaffeinated coffee with liver enzyme levels in National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2010,” Hepatology, Volume 60, Issue 6, December 2014, Pages 2091–2098
7. “Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective effects of silymarin on hepatic dysfunction induced by sodium nitrite,” Eur Cytokine Netw. 2013 Jul-Sep;24(3):114-21.
8. “Anti-inflammatory/anti-fibrotic effects of the hepatoprotective silymarin and the schistosomicide praziquantel against Schistosoma mansoni-induced liver fibrosis,” Parasites & Vectors 20125:9
9. ” Probiotics in hepatology,” World J Gastroenterol 2011; 17: 2890–6.
10. “Review article: probiotics in gastrointestinal and liver diseases,” Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2007; 26(Suppl. 2): 133–48
11. “Effects of probiotics on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: A meta-analysis,” World J Gastroenterol. 2013 Oct 28; 19(40): 6911–6918.
12. “Study of curcumin on microvasculature characteristic in diabetic rat’s liver as revealed by vascular corrosion cast/scanning electron microscope (SEM) technique,” J Med Assoc Thai. 2012 May;95 Suppl 5:S133-41.
13. “Curcumin improves sclerosing cholangitis in Mdr2-/- mice by inhibition of cholangiocyte inflammatory response and portal myofibroblast proliferation,” Gut, 2010; 59: 521-530
14. “Indian spice may delay liver damage and cirrhosis, study suggests,” ScienceDaily.com
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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