The liver can take a lot of abuse and still keep functioning. In fact, you may not even know that your liver is not functioning to its maximum potential as there are very few tell-tale indicators.
Too much toxic buildup can overwhelm the liver. Toxins come from processed and refined foods, as well as medications such as oral contraceptives or pain killers. Processed and refined foods contain a lot of chemicals. Raw vegetables if not properly washed may also contain traces of insecticides. Too many medications, too much alcohol consumption, smoking, environmental pollutants can also add to the toxic buildup of the body. In addition, overeating can overstress the liver. As a result of this overwhelming overload, both the digestive and detoxifying functions of the liver may become impaired. They may not function as efficiently as they should leading to weakened overall health.
Diets low in protein and high in carbohydrates and fats can be especially hard on the liver. Fried foods, foods rich in saturated or hydrogenated fats do not provide enough proteins for necessary repair work that the body needs. Too much sugar and foods with little or no nutritive value rob the body of essential nutrients needed for proper functioning.
Digestion, detoxification and energy production are the three most important functions of the liver. All of these functions are vital to the overall health of the body.
Digestion: The liver secretes liquid called bile which is stored in the gall bladder and released as needed for the digestion of fat. Bile breaks down fat into small globules which the body can absorb. Bile also assists in the assimilation of fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as calcium. It also promotes intestinal peristalsis, thus helping to promote bowel regularity.
Energy Production: Nutrients absorbed through the intestinal walls, pass through the liver. Here the liver stores nutrients such as iron, Vitamin A, D and B12 and releases it every day as and when the body needs it. Excess fat is sent to fatty tissues to be deposited there. The liver regulates the oxidation of fats to produce energy for the body. Sugar is converted to glycogen by the liver and stored in the liver and muscles. Glycogen is converted back into sugar when the body needs energy.
Detoxification: The liver is largely responsible for the detoxification of the entire body. Several metabolic functions of the body produce toxins as the byproduct. This happens especially in the breakdown of amino acids and bacterial fermentation of food. Toxins also enter the body through the food we eat, environmental pollutants and through our skin.
How to Support a Healthy Liver
* Maintain a regular routine. Wake up early and avoid late nights.
* Eat smaller portions and follow a regular eating pattern. Avoid overeating.
* Have a good breakfast every morning. Try to include protein in your morning breakfast along with fresh fruits.
* Avoid over-medication as far as possible.
* Avoid processed and refined foods as they contain preservatives, additives, artificial sweeteners, food colorings and other chemical additives that add to toxic buildup in the body.
* Use healthy cooking oil and avoid fried foods.
* Quit smoking and drink alcohol and caffeinated beverages in moderation.
* Get at least 8 hours of sleep in the night.
* Take a liver supplement regularly.