The liver is our largest internal organ, and it is a powerhouse. Everything you eat has to get past your liver, and for a very important reason. The liver is a filter. It protects the body from chemicals and toxins. It also produces hormones, bile, protein, and cholesterol while storing vitamins and carbohydrates for when the body needs them. Having a healthy liver is paramount to good overall health. In this fourth article on hormone health, ASEA reviews the importance of antioxidants and the liver.
So, then, how do liver and hormones work together? Body-detoxing and hormone balance are linked. The toxins we are exposed to contain large amounts of estrogen, and without the liver, estrogen levels would spike. High estrogen increases the amount of fat the body stores and leads to obesity, changes in sex drive, and infertility. Testosterone and progesterone are also found in toxic chemicals, and an overabundance of either of these would put the body into extreme hormonal imbalance.
Antioxidants and Liver Health
Antioxidants are good. They are a counter to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress leads to liver disease, and a poorly functioning liver cannot cleanse the body. Believe it or not, many liver “cleanses” actually do more harm than good because of the influx of free radicals they create, which increases oxidative stress. That is why it is important to know what can harm the liver.
ASEA reviews topics like this because most people don’t think twice about their liver and how the foods, medicines and beverages they consume affect it, and ASEA strives to help people live their best lives. The liver is pretty easy to take care of. The worst thing a person can do to their liver is put harmful things into their bodies. Alcohol, for instance, causes liver scarring and swelling. Medicines, even over-the-counter painkillers, are also hard on the liver, especially in high doses. So, to maintain liver health:
- Be careful around cleaners, pesticides and toxins. Don’t touch them or inhale them.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- Take care when using herbal and dietary supplements, and be aware of their side effects — even liver cleanses can cause harm.
- Don’t use illegal drugs.
- Follow directions carefully on all medications. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be particularly hard on the liver.
- Exercise and consume a healthy diet.
As with all things health-related, diet and exercise play an important role. Exercise at least three days a week, and consume a diet rich in liver-healthy foods. So what foods, exactly, are good for the liver? Lots of things, and some of them may surprise you.
- The number one food recommended for liver health is coffee. Coffee has been proven to protect the liver from diseases including cancer. Even a liver that is already diseased sees health improvements from daily coffee consumption.
- Green tea has been shown to help prevent liver disease.
- Black tea, in lab rats, was shown to reduce the damage of a fatty diet on the liver.
- Blueberries, cranberries, and grapefruit are loaded with antioxidants, which help counter oxidative stress.
- Fatty fish is loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent the buildup of liver fat.
- Nuts have vitamins and fats that improve enzyme levels in people with fatty livers.
So, now that you know how important your liver is, start taking care of it. It’s never too late to improve your health.