Love The Liver: The Importance of a Holistic Health Program
Posted by Andrea Nakayama
Why love your liver?
Your liver is a powerhouse of activity! It’s the biggest internal organ in your body and has hundreds of functions. One of its key functions is to act as a gatekeeper by filtering toxins and unknown substances from the bloodstream, breaking them down, and helping them find their way out of the body.
There are both voluntary and involuntary invaders that your liver has to contend with. Some of the toxic substances it encounters are actually produced within your body. These include excess hormones, neurotransmitters and other metabolic waste products. Other toxic substances come from your environment — what you eat, what you breathe and even what you put on your skin.
Functional Nutrition 101: Understanding the liver’s role in digestion
When it comes to digestion, the liver creates enzymes and hormones that are critical for metabolism. In fact, as soon as you take your first bite of food the liver is triggered to produce enzymes that will break that food down into smaller particles that can easily move through your gastrointestinal tract and be absorbed into your bloodstream to feed your cells.
Macronutrients and the livers actions:
Each macronutrient requires different actions from the liver. Just think about how hard your liver is working everyday to keep up with your intake!
Carbohydrate digestion and your liver
Carbohydrates divide into glucose in the digestive tract. Those glucose molecules move into your bloodstream where they’re used as your body’s primary source of energy. All blood then moves to the liver for filtration. Any excess glucose, not used for immediate energy, is stored as glycogen in the liver. The liver can then convert the glycogen (the storage form of glucose) back to glucose in times of need.
Protein digestion and your liver
Protein breakdown occurs in the stomach and the small intestine. The end products are amino acids and other byproducts that are converted into enzymes by the liver. These enzymes are responsible for the chemical transformation of the toxic byproducts that come from the breakdown of proteins and prepare them for elimination through the kidneys.
Fat digestion and your liver
The breakdown of your dietary fat depends on the bile created by your liver and stored in your gallbladder. The liver manages fat levels in the blood all day long. Dietary cholesterol and triglycerides are absorbed into the bloodstream and processed by the liver for delivery to the cells.
Natural detoxification and digestion are only some of the jobs of this multitasking organ!
Appreciating your liver
It stands to reason that at least occasionally you need to pamper your liver. Love it. Give it some extra attention. Say thank you to your liver for all that it does for you. Unfortunately your liver won’t appreciate a simple Hallmark card.
Our top 10 Functional Nutrition tips to love your liver
Not sure where to start with your liver love? Download my favorite tips and get started loving your liver right away.
Another liver-loving essential
A daily massage?! Doesn’t that sound good? I love the idea of liver massage as much as my liver appreciates the lovin’. It’s gentle and effective and anyone, any age, can do it. I’m preparing to wrap my liver in some love with castor oil, washcloths and hot water bottles this coming week.
This protocol of massaging and oiling the liver is called a castor oil pack. It’s a great way to love your liver and boost its productivity. Castor oil—massaged on the liver region, located beneath the right rib cage—can penetrate the skin to increase circulation, promote elimination and enhance the healing and rejuvenation of the cells beneath the surface. It’s remarkably effective, if not a little sticky.
I invite you to give it a try too. All you need is some castor oil, an old washcloth and a hot water bottle.
Quick Health Advisory: If using a castor oil pack is new for you try it for a short time at first. Castor oil packs work well for most, but everyone is unique and responds differently. Be cautious and consider working with a Functional Medicine or Functional Nutrition Counselor to find the liver support that works for you.
Understanding the importance of a holistic health program for your liver is key to maintaining overall well-being. By appreciating and caring for your liver, you can enhance its functionality and support your overall health and health outcomes. Start by implementing self-care practices, nourishing your body with healing foods, and giving your liver the rest it deserves. Download our favorite liver-loving tips and embark on a journey to love and care for your liver today.
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