With Christmas and New Year celebrations over for another year, now is the time to give your liver a boost, in order to start off 2016 with a bang!
Many people would like to have more energy, and more often than not, a sluggish liver (overloaded with work removing the toxins from our modern environments and lifestyles) is the root cause of our low energy.
Emotions such as anger, irritability and states of worry, stress and anxiety can be a symptom of an inflamed and overworked liver.
In turn, these states and emotions can add to the stress chemical levels in our bodies, so it makes sense to look after our livers!
Why is our liver so important?
Anatomically, the human liver is so fundamental for health because it performs so many important jobs in our bodies – around 500 different jobs! The liver filters our blood, removing toxins from what we ingest, including drugs and alcohol. It maintains the glucose levels in our blood, and turns that glucose in to glycogen (stored energy). In addition to storing energy the liver also stores vitamins A, D, K and B12. Our livers also produce cholesterol, urea (a compound in urine), and the substances that break down fats in to energy. Phew – your liver is working hard for you all the time!
The liver is our largest internal organ with a huge amount of blood flow. It is important that blood flows freely around the liver for the digestive system to work properly.
Holistically, a healthy liver is vital for our feelings of health and well-being. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the liver ensures that energy and blood flow smoothly throughout the body. It is called the ‘General’ for its leading role in the functions of the internal organs.
How can you help your liver to function better?
Supporting the health of the liver starts with becoming aware of and trying to reduce the toxins we ingest. Remembering that our largest organ, our skin, also absorbs a fair amount of toxins, along with our lungs. Limiting alcohol and drugs, including caffeine and sugar, and ensuring adequate water consumption are all great ways of helping the liver.
In TCM, it is believed drinking mint tea is highly beneficial to the liver. And of course breathing deeply helps the diaphragm to massage the liver and help it perform its many jobs. Any of the many therapies available can help support the health of the liver in their different ways; BCST, Acupuncture, massage or reflexology for example. Anything that helps us to relax supports the liver, as it reduces the stress in our bodies and therefore reduces the toxins that the liver has to process!
Exercise, exercise, exercise...
Exercise helps the liver to detox more efficiently by bringing optimum blood flow and oxygen to our vital organs, essentially flushing toxins out of our systems. We can also take certain herbs and tonics to support the liver, such as nettle or milk thistle.
The human liver is the only organ that can grow back when part of it is removed. An adult liver can regenerate from as little as 25% of its original size. This unique capability is an indicator of just how important, and awe inspiring the liver is. All the more reason to love your liver...