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January 31, 2008

What your liver is telling you

From: Nancy Desjardins R.N.C.P.

Our bodies are a wonderful thing. Even while we're sleeping, they're rebuilding themselves. New blood cells. New bone cells. New tissue cells. New brain cells! It's truly out with the old and in with the new each year. Of course, some tissue takes longer to replace than others. The liver, for example, needs regeneration every three weeks or so.

It's little wonder. As one of the largest organs in the body, the liver is busy 24/7 performing many important jobs. Among other things, it cleanses the body of toxins and bacteria, produces bile to help digest food, and gathers and stores important nutrients, such as vitamins, for our bodies to use later. With such a key role, it's critical for the liver to stay healthy. And that's why it needs to rebuild itself so often.

But while the liver is an amazing organ, it can't do everything itself. It needs your help every day.

What can you do?

The first thing is to listen, because your liver, throughout the regeneration process, sends out signals when all is not well. Indigestion, constipation, moodiness, depression, impaired concentration, poor memory, foggy brain - these are all signals that point to a sluggish liver. Even conditions such as hay fever, hives, skin rashes and asthma are signs that action is needed. Then there is hypoglycemia - unstable blood sugar levels - dizziness and light headaches. These are also symptoms your liver could be in trouble.

With so many things riding on a healthy liver, that's why I try to pay attention to this organ every day, just as I do the colon. And daily action is especially important for us women over 40!

Like the colon, the liver is begging for a cleanse. But don't worry, it's easy to do.

First, start your morning with freshly squeezed lemon in hot water. This helps to cleanse the liver and promote detoxification. It also stimulates bile production, cleanses the stomach and bowel and stimulates bowel motion.

Here's a recipe for an amazing drink for the liver that I highly recommend:

A.M. Liver Cleanse

  • 1 large grapefruit
  • 2 lemons   
  • 1 cup of filtered water   
  • 1 tablespoon of cold pressed flax oil   
  • 1 inch of fresh root ginger   
  • Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

Squeeze the juice of the grapefruit and lemon into a blender. Next, grate the ginger and squeeze this into the juice. Add the water and oil, then blend for 30 seconds. Add more ginger.

This juice contains all the most potent ingredients to cleanse your liver, giving a gentle flush. For best results, drink it 30 minutes before breakast.

If you're pressed for time and want to keep it simple, try this instead:

Hot Grapefruit Water

  • 3 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup fresh grapefruit juice

Place the water in a large jug; stir in juice. Drink up!

You can also help the liver's regenerative process by adding these foods and nutrients to your diet:

  • Fresh vegetable juices
  • Chlorophyll-rich foods:  Wheat- or barley-grass juice powder, along with chlorella and spirulina, or wild blue-green algae have in many cases proven to be useful in clearing up a sluggish liver.
  • Garlic and onions:  Garlic contains allicin, which is a sulphur-based compound needed by the liver for effective detoxification. Garlic helps the liver rid the body of mercury, certain food additives and hormones.
  • Fresh vegetables: Eat plenty of fresh, lightly cooked, or raw vegetables, especially dark green, leafy vegetables such as parsley, kale, watercress, alfalfa and collard greens. Orange, yellow, purple, and red-colored fruits and vegetables are also good, as they contain living enzymes, fibre, vitamin C, natural antibiotic substances and anti-cancer phytonutrients.
  • High-antioxidant fruit:  Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and  raspberries are all high in antioxidants, which help to protect the liver from the high levels of free radicals that are naturally produced during the process of detoxification.
  • Bitter foods: The bitterness of foods such as dandelion, arugula, endive, radicchio, sorrel and watercress helps to stimulate bile flow within the liver.
  • Herbs:  Dill, caraway seeds, garlic, onions, boldo, turmeric and cayenne are easy to use in your food and can help protect the liver.
  • Dandelion root tea:  Enhances the entire digestive track. It is particularly  excellent at relieving digestion after a high-fat. Dandelion is also an excellent herb for weight loss, as the leaves are diuretic and the root improves fat metabolism.
  • Omega-3 fats: Good sources of these important fats are ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil, walnuts, borage oil, krill oil, cod liver oil, chia seeds, purslane, acai, algae, hemp seeds, grape seed oil.
  • Water:  Drink 8 to 12 cups per day, because it helps the kidneys get rid of the toxins that the liver has broken down.
  • Nuts, seeds, avocados:  These are good food sources of polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, all less harmful to the liver than saturated fats.
  • A hot lemon drink and good, nutritious food. What could be easier?

Cleansing your liver isn't about time-consuming lotions and potions. It's about giving your body nutrient-rich fuel that can, and will, keep you healthy. The rewards are many, and will positively affect every aspect of your life.

So listen to your liver. And work with it. Consider it a lost opportunity if your body is not functioning in the healthiest manner possible each and every day.


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