Love your liver
Posted on 16th December 2015 at 07:30
Continuing on the festive theme from last week, do you ever spare a thought for the person who clears up all the mess after the office party? Probably not.
So what about your own personal cleaner who’s on the job 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Who has a host of other duties as well. Even less likely.
In fact we’d be prepared to bet that the only time you think about your liver is when things go slightly awry. Say, a hangover. Or, perhaps, indigestion.
Oh and what about one of the myriad of other signs that your liver is feeling the strain? Spotty skin, bloating, constipation, candida, weight gain, headaches or the tell tale “grumpy bear” persona.
It’s no exaggeration to say that the liver is one of the hardest working organs in the body, carrying out an estimated 500 different functions day in day out. And this is by an organ weighing only 3 lbs.
Why is the liver so important?
Quite simply because it supports every other part of the body, whether directly or indirectly.
As a highly efficient cleaning service, the liver detoxes and removes harmful substances from the blood. These may be broken down – so that they can be safely excreted from the body – or stored in the liver or fatty tissues, if that isn’t possible.
And the process is the same whether it be old hormones, the aftermath of the immune response, drugs – of any variety (!) – alcohol, nicotine or caffeine.
The liver also produces bile which is needed for the digestion of fats. It then processes all the nutrients passing into the bloodstream from our food and helps to maintain the levels of fats, amino acids and glucose in the blood. In addition the liver handles many of the other essential chemicals and vitamins found in food, which may be stored or sent elsewhere for use.
Old red blood cells end their days here, with the resulting iron being stored for later reuse.
In addition many of the enzymes and proteins needed by the various chemical reactions within the body are produced here too.
With all this activity, as well as the ability to break down glycogen (the form in which glucose is stored by the body); it’s not surprising that the liver is a major source of body heat and supplier of energy.
While this is only the briefest summary of the liver’s functions, it’s not difficult to see why we quickly notice when it’s under strain. Added to this, from an acupuncture perspective, the liver is linked to the skin and bowel; as they all represent different ways in which the body excretes toxins.
What this means is that where one of these organs is functioning below par, then the others take up the strain. Hence, toxins not broken down by the liver remaining in the blood stream and being released via the skin or bowel. And we all know the effects of increased toxins in the blood – a headache, hangover or “grumpy bear.” Now you’ve got the idea, we’ll leave the rest to your imagination!
So what can you do to help your liver get through the festive season?
Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t have to miss out on all the festivities, but a little moderation does go a long way!
Drink plenty of water, both during the day – to ensure you’re properly hydrated and aid the detox process from the night before (!) – AND while you’re out and about. Remember that water makes up over 70% of your body and you simply can’t function efficiently without it. It will also help if you can cut down on caffeine and fizzy drinks, as these only make matters worse.
When you’re out and about stick to wine or beer, rather than spirits. And make sure you drink plenty of water alongside too.
By all means have your festive food treats, but remember to include the things your body needs as well. You know, fruit and veg and wholefoods.
And, finally, don’t forget to include some exercise to help keep your lymphatic system moving, which plays an important part in the regular detoxing of the body. It’ll also help to stimulate the immune system, making you less susceptible to all the bugs doing the rounds at this time of year.
A quick twenty minute trot round the block each day will help to get everything moving, while the fresh air will make you feel much more alert. Remember that it’s better to take a little exercise each day than to heroically spend an hour in a stuffy gym once a week!
Once the festivities are over, consider taking Milk Thistle tincture for a month as a “thank you” to your hard working liver. Perhaps the best new year’s resolution you could make – and the simplest!
As always, the choice is yours.
Share this post: