If you’ve been trying to achieve better hormonal health, you probably already know about the important role liver plays in the process. Your liver is responsible for ridding the body of toxins and excess hormones. To keep it functioning properly, there are some ideas on how to care for your liver.
How to Care for Your Liver
Most people only think about their liver in the context of alcohol consumption, but there are quite a few things that can impact how hard your liver has to work to rid the body of toxins (besides just alcohol). Processed foods, medications, and even environmental toxins all have an impact on the liver’s burden.
By avoiding things that make your liver work harder and adding things that help your liver function better, you can make sure this essential organ is up for the job.
Here are some ways to care for your liver:
Consume foods that encourage liver repair.
One simple way to encourage your liver to function properly is to eat more foods that promote liver function. Foods that are high in antioxidants and healthy fats are key. Consider rotating these in your daily diet:
- Green tea/matcha
- Blueberries and cranberries
- Cruciferous veggies (like broccoli)
- Oily fish (salmon, sardines, etc.)
Address negative emotions.
When I started seeing an acupuncturist, she informed me of how negative emotions can impact certain organs, like the liver.
Many Eastern modalities subscribe to the idea that anger and other negative emotions affect the liver. It’s no wonder that this idea is slowly making its way into the Western school of thought when it comes to wellness. According to NCBI, “A growing body of evidence suggests that anger may lead to liver dysfunction…”
Whether or not you’re fully convinced that negative emotions are linked to liver health, it has been proven time and again that stress has a negative impact on your hormones and overall well-being. Learning to reduce and manage stress will only be helpful and you can find some actionable steps to mitigate and manage stress here.
Avoid processed foods.
Processed foods are typically high in trans and saturated fats, sugars, and other unnatural ingredients that tax the liver. A general rule of thumb is to keep these foods limited to less than 20% of your diet and focus on whole, unprocessed foods.
Technically, alcohol is a toxin. Unfortunately, your liver does the heavy lifting when it comes to filtering it from your system. Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum if you choose to drink at all. It’s also a good idea to avoid sugary mixers and wine with lots of additives.
Be cautious about medications and herbs.
Certain medications can be hard on the liver. Even some medicinal herbs are bad for your liver if you take too much. Kava is one example of an herb that has other benefits but can be damaging to the liver when overconsumed.
Approach herbs the same way you approach pharmaceuticals when it comes to caution. Always do extensive research on potential side effects and contraindications.
Exercise and practice other healthy habits.
Most people think about healthy habits in terms of weight loss and maintenance. However, practicing good wellness habits like daily exercise, time outdoors, and quality sleep all keep your body and its organs functioning properly.
I just posted a guide for creating a simple home gym, which is a great place to start if you’re having doubts about hitting the gym.
Avoid pesticides when possible.
Opt for organically grown produce when you can. If that isn’t available or accessible, always soak or wash your produce to remove pesticides and other harmful matter. You would be surprised at how many toxins are lingering on non-organic produce!
Another way to avoid pesticides is to reconsider the use of traditional pest control in your home. Nowadays, there are non-toxic alternatives you can buy for a DIY approach. You can also search for a safer pest control company in your area.
Avoid household toxins.
It’s also a good idea to be more mindful about where you buy furniture. Many of the most common furniture items contain forever chemicals that linger for years after they’re placed in your home. When it comes to how to care for your liver, this is a more unconventional way to think about avoiding toxins.
Use castor oil packs.
Many natural health practitioners recommend castor oil packs to promote liver detoxification. Apply a high-quality castor oil to the area above your liver and cover it with an unbleached cloth. While there isn’t much research on this practice, there is lots of anecdotal evidence that it helps.
Support your body’s natural detox processes.
Since the liver is just one stop in the detoxification process, you can take some of the burden off by focusing on other detoxification-promoting practices such as magnesium baths, sauna sessions and eating enough fiber.
There are lots of ways to show your liver some TLC. By making mindful decisions about what you consume and your lifestyle, you can keep giving your liver the love it needs to keep it functioning properly.