Your liver is your second heart. That is what I always tell my clients, it is one of your truest and most hardworking friends. Think of it as a built-in, ultra-effective toxin remover and a master of another 500 functions; it manufactures bile, produces quick energy, clears the blood of particles and infections, stores iron, vitamins and other essential chemicals, controls levels of fats, amino acids and glucose in the blood and many more important roles to keep you healthy and kickin’! Our modern lifestyle is filled with air pollution, food additives and high amounts of stress. All of that gives the liver plenty of chores. Consequently it can become sluggish, making it a factor in many poor health conditions: allergies, arthritis, asthma, bad breath, chronic fatigue syndrome, sugar cravings, depression and headaches.
Let us discuss some of these issues:
1 || Feeling achy and some sort of a dull pain in the upper right area of your abdomen is a sign that your liver needs checking. Remember that the liver’s job is to detoxify and help the body filter out waste, and help the body digest food into nutritional soldiers. When your liver isn’t happy and overloaded, it cannot operate efficiently and it swells painfully, which is a sign of toxicity.
2 || When your liver is over-worked it tries to repair itself at the cost of forming scar tissue. The more scar tissue there is, the tougher it is for the liver to function, which finally leads to portal hypertension. The latter causes fluid to accumulate in the legs (Edma). However, the swelling is painless, it may affect both legs, the calves, or the thighs. But you need to be aware of these signs.
3 || People always strive to clean their diet and make an effort to become active, but often they still struggle with weight issues. If you experience weight gain that does not seem to stem from overeating or hormone malfunction, you might want to check your liver. What happens is the liver cannot deal with all the toxins coming in (alcohol, artificial sweeteners, a high-fat diet, certain medications, etc), or sometimes it can be the consequence of old bad lifestyle. The only thing the liver can come up with is to store the unfiltered toxins in fat cells. This mess will not let you lose weight unless you help your body cleanse the overworked liver.
4 || Allergies can be a result of an overloaded and sluggish liver. When there are too many alien substances entering the bloodstream, the brain recognizes them as allergens and releases antibodies and chemicals (histamines, etc), which cause itchy rashes or a cough. The healthy liver however, keeps the blood clean from all these harmful molecules.
5 || Do you look into someone’s eyes or their skin and you see some kind of a yellowish tone? This is often not an illness or just blame-it- on-the- genes, but rather a symptom of a possible malfunction in the liver due to excess Bilirubin in their blood— a yellow pigment that is formed by the breakdown of dead red blood cells in the liver. Guess what happens when the liver fails to get rid of bilirubin along with old red blood cells? You turn yellow!!
6 || Chronic fatigue syndrome resembles a prolonged flu-like illness. Research says that you should experience the symptoms for at least 6 months before you can be diagnosed with chronic fatigue. The reason behind this is the intoxication of the liver. This mighty organ is crucial when it comes to energy supply; it turns glucose into glycogen and stores it for later use. A healthy liver pours out glucose whenever the body needs energy or nourishment. A poor liver, however, can hardly produce glucose and has very little space to store it because it’s pre-occupied with other duties.
My advice – eat your fruits and vegetables, avoid additives, focus on sulfur rich foods like broccoli and onions. Add flaxseed to your diet to help filter excess hormones. Ensure adequate vitamin C intake, munch on raw nuts and seeds for their fatty acids and super nutritional value which can aid in the liver’s hormone and enzyme production. And of course – avoid commercial oils and sugar that gives your liver so much unnecessary work.
Zein Nimri is an AFPA certified sports nutritionist, NESTA kids nutritionist, long distance runner, cyclist and traveller with big dreams. Follow her on Instagram @Zeinutritionist she is currently an “Eating Disorder Recovery Coach”.