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Tips for Liver Health

Eventhough it plays thousands of roles to maintain health in the body, the liver is one of the most neglected organs. Unlike the colon or the heart, the signals of liver distress are often not obvious. Skin imbalances, hormonal irregularities, weak digestion, low energy levels - these all may indicate signs that the liver is in a state of stress. But rarely do we attribute the imbalances to the liver.


In Ayurveda, various organs and tissues in the body are considered to be governed by certain natural elements. The liver, a hot and fiery organ, is understood to be the home of the element of fire. In fact, pitta (the body/mind constitution associated with the fiery quality) is the word for bile, the yellow-green fluid created by the liver that aids digestion of fats and many other functions. Because of the fiery nature of the liver, it is important to be especially mindful of nurturing our liver as we approach the hot summer months.


There are actions you can take to support your liver to function optimally. If you make these simple changes, you put your liver in a better position to produce good quality bile, remove toxins from the body through the bile, regulate and store glycogen (our most important source of energy), regulate hormones, break down fats and much more. So here are a few simple tips that will help you and your liver to feel more ease.


  1. Drink a gentle cholagogue tea daily. (A cholagogue stimulates bile flow from your liver to your gall bladder.) I recommend a blend of lemon balm and hibiscus for these summer months. You can also add fennel seeds to support your capacity to digest the nutrients in the tea.

  2. Minimize fats before 10am. This includes animal protein that are sources of fats, such as eggs or bacon.

  3. Drink warm lemon water upon waking. Combine ½ fresh lemon (including the peel), 2 cups warm water. Sip on this upon waking. It is best to wait for at least 20 minutes before eating.

  4. Strive to make at least 50% of your food be vegetables and fruit. In particular, increase bitter greens, especially in these coming summer months. Most bitter foods support healthy bile flow. Some good options are kale, beet greens, collard greens and dandelion greens. S ome of my favorite fruits for the liver are apples, dragon fruit (pitaya), lemon/lime, cucumber, berries (especially wild blueberries).




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