The importance of liver health
The liver is one of the most valuable organs in the human body, performing hundreds of vital tasks to help ensure processes in the body run smoothly. In fact, the liver is so important that if it fails, our body will too. Some of the most important functions of the liver include:
- Filtering the blood and breaking down harmful toxins and chemicals into less toxic substances that are excreted from the body.
- Producing a substance called bile that’s used to break down dietary fats and absorb important nutrients such as vitamins A, D, E and K1.
- Converting carbohydrates into glucose for instant energy and glucose into its storable form (glycogen) for later use.1 This ensures a steady supply of energy for the body.
- Storing iron, vitamin B12 and copper2.
- Making cholesterol and other fats that are needed by the body2.
- Using amino acids to manufacture important proteins required for many body functions1.
A healthy liver contains billions of specialized cells that help perform these functions and filters around 1.7 litres of blood each minute.3 It’s the only organ in the body that has the ability to regenerate itself if required.
How can I look after my liver health?
Although the liver is a resilient organ, if it’s subjected to an array of toxins on a regular basis it can eventually take a toll on liver health. To avoid putting undue stress on your liver and to support liver function:
- Eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, organic where possible.
- Consume sulphur‐rich foods such as garlic, onion and eggs as well as cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli and brussels sprouts. These foods contain substances that help the body activate dozens of enzymes needed for the various phases of detoxification4.
- Drink alcohol and caffeine in moderation
- Don’t smoke
- Drink plenty of water, ideally filtered
- Consider a liver health supplement containing Milk thistle, which has antioxidant properties, supports the regeneration of liver cells and the detoxification processes of the liver.
Always read the label. Use only as directed. Consult your healthcare professional if symptoms persist. Vitamin supplements should not replace a balanced diet.
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Published May 10, 2014
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