The liver is a powerful organ that performs over 500 different functions. You may have heard the phrase “Love your liver”, as a healthy liver is key to your overall health. Many people don’t realize the connection with the liver and sex hormones, and how important the liver is for hormonal balance. A healthy liver is critical for any woman’s health.
The liver is responsible for filtering toxins in the body. But the liver can only handle so much, and overtime it can become overburdened due to our dietary and lifestyle habits. Poor dietary choices, alcohol, medication, stress, etc… can create a sluggish liver. When the liver becomes overworked, it doesn’t detoxify as well as it could, and this causes a backup of toxins that become difficult for the body to process. Toxins backed up in the liver can cause a multitude of issues such as weight gain, headaches, lowered immunity, and so much more.
The healthy liver is vital to maintain proper estrogen balance. A healthy liver breaks down excess estrogen in the blood and sends it to the kidneys to flush out of the body. If liver health is compromised, the liver can’t break down estrogen as efficiently, which leads to an excess of this hormone, which then throws off the delicate balance of your hormones. Too much estrogen is one reason why women have trouble losing fat around the abdominal area, as a decreased rate of estrogen detoxification contributes to what we commonly know as “estrogen belly”.
The liver is also critical for manufacturing cholesterol, which is the starting material for all steroid hormones. A healthy liver can produce all of the cholesterol that the body needs for this. However, an under functioning liver cannot fulfill this task.
Changing dietary and lifestyle habits can significantly improve liver health and hormonal balance. There are many different tips and tricks for kick starting the liver’s detoxifying powers, and getting it back into tip-top shape.
Foods For Detox
A diet that is comprised of whole fruits and vegetables is critical for liver health, however certain foods are known to be better for liver health and detoxification.
- dark leafy greens such kale, swiss chard, spinach, collards, spring greens, dandelion greens, etc…
- cilantro and parsley
- sprouted greens (such as alfalafa sprouts, broccoli sprouts, and pea shoots)
Foods to specifically detox estrogen can be found here.
- Drink a glass of fresh lemon juice and water each morning to kick start digestion and clean the liver
- Drink plenty of pure filtered water daily (such as reverse osmosis or distilled)
- Limit or avoid alcohol consumption, as this significantly impairs liver health
- Eat whole foods in their natural state as much as possible, including whole fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, and superfoods
- Drink fresh pressed fruit and vegetable juices on occasion
- Minimize the consumption of refined foods such as white sugar, refined flours, fried foods, chemical ingredients, preservatives, and artificial colours and flavours – instead eat the foods that nature provides!
- Drink dandelion tea for a good liver cleanse
- Eat organic and pesticide free foods as much as possible, as pesticides really slow down the liver’s ability to clear toxins (avoiding the Dirty Dozen foods can help reduce your pesticide exposure by up to 80%!)
- Get adequate, good quality sleep every night, as the liver is very active at night time and can’t regenerate as needed if sleep is impaired
- Minimize stress whenever possible by practicing stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and more
- Regular exercise helps to clear the liver, at least 30 minutes of exercise 3-5 times per week as recommenced
- Bathe in epsom salts to help expel toxins from the body (fill your bathtub with about 1 cup of epsom salts and soak in the tub for at least 30 minutes)
- Sweating helps to body to get rid of built up toxins (hot yoga, exercise, and saunas are all excellent to help the body sweat)