Listen to this story
The liver is a dark reddish-brown organ, the size of a football, weighing about three to a half pounds. It’s the largest organ in the body and has the unique ability to rejuvenate itself after damage. Some reports indicate that even after more than 70% of the liver is damaged or removed, it can regrow itself to its normal size.
As amazing as that is, it can still succumb to damage caused by medications, obesity and alcohol, in which case a liver transplant may be necessary. The liver is the workhorse of the digestive system, removing toxins from the blood, detoxifying chemicals, and metabolizing drugs taken into the system, both street and pharmaceutical drugs. It also secretes bile (the fluid that helps with digestion), produces proteins responsible for the clotting of blood and has hundreds of other vital functions for our body.
It’s one of the organs that we could not live without.
Before we go into the best foods and practices to maintain a healthy liver, here are some interesting insights that you may find equally beneficial. Ancient Chinese medicine considers the emotions you feel to have direct effects on specific organs. They believe anger, frustration, resentment and unforgiveness directly affect the liver negatively. Detoxing your emotions and healing yourself is just as important as the foods and natural remedies you consume.
Some of the foods which support liver health include, beets, berries, vegetables, fatty fish (mackerel, sardines, salmon) garlic and grapefruit.
While emotionally detoxing from anger, simultaneously remove toxic, ultra-processed foods and recreational poisons from your diet. Eating whole foods, fruits, vegetables and organic grass-fed meat will promote health and prevent health problems in the liver.
A few types of diseases that your liver needs help from you to prevent taking over include Hepatitis (A, B, C, D, and E,) non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, end-stage liver disease, liver cancer and cirrhosis.
It turns out Alzheimer’s as well may start in the liver and not the brain. A new study suggests that the protein which forms plaques in the brain and causes Alzheimer’s may have its beginnings in the liver. Since it can take up to 20 years before you see any symptoms of dementia, being proactive is crucial.
Turmeric, dandelion, milk thistle and licorice root are a few herbs to help optimize liver health. As always, consult with your physician before taking any action. A lot is riding on the body’s workhorse, aka the liver. The better we treat it, the better our ride will be.
Words by Kaba Abdul-Fattaah.