Hit Your Daily Fibre Goal
“Aim to eat 30g of fibre per day, from fruit and vegetables as well as nuts, seeds, pulses, lentils and wholegrains,” Clarissa advises. Eating adequate amounts of fibre will encourage regular bowel movements, enabling toxins to be eliminated from the body. If you don’t eat enough fibre, waste will sit in your colon where it ferments, raising toxin levels and creating an extra burden on your liver.
Consider Herbs & Spices
Although a good diet is vital for optimal liver health, you can also support it with herbal remedies. “Some of the most revered include milk thistle, turmeric root and burdock,” says Lola. “Green tea is also a good choice – it’s brimming with an antioxidant called catechins, which research shows can support and protect the liver.” Of all the medicinal herbs, milk thistle is particularly prized for its liver-protecting benefits and is even being researched as a treatment for serious liver diseases. Clarissa recommends taking milk thistle in capsules or as a tincture but be mindful if you are pregnant or breastfeeding as it can have oestrogen-mimicking properties.
“Drinking plenty of water may sound simple but it can be hugely beneficial for the liver,” Lola says. “The liver works best when we are adequately hydrated. Skip the fizzy drinks and go for water and herbal teas, which provide an additional boost as they often contain liver-supporting plant pigments. Bonus points if you can fit in a couple of green juices every week. Green foods are the liver’s best friend. They contribute to an alkaline environment in the body and the plant pigments they release directly protect liver cells. Think spinach, broccoli, celery, cucumber and kale.”
Think About Environmental Toxins
Toxins don’t solely come from food and alcohol, says Lola. In fact, your environment could also be taking its toll on your body. “Bioaccumulation is the gradual accumulation of substances such as pollutants and pesticides, and occurs when an organism, such as the liver, absorbs at a faster rate than it can filter out. It stands to reason, then, that your home environment and proximity to urban areas where air pollutants are high, could influence your liver’s function.” Lola says using non-toxic cleaning products and personal self-care products can reduce your exposure. “In an ideal world, we’d all be spending more time in green spaces too,” she adds. “Where possible, walk against the traffic to reduce the impact of fumes, and take side roads where possible.”
“Regular exercise is crucial for keeping your liver healthy,” says Dr Powles. “Regular, consistent exercise that increases your heart rate will help you to lose any excess weight, and this can improve your liver function. It may also help to reduce damage to your liver, even if you don’t lose any weight.” A recent study found exercising aerobically for 60 minutes, at a low-to-moderate intensity, four times a week, helped reduce liver fat. In another study, participants who did four weeks of cycling reduced liver fat by 12%. “As a guide, aim for 150 minutes – or two-and-a-half hours – of moderate intensity each week,” advises Dr Powles.
Know What To Look Out For
“Your liver does a lot to keep you healthy, but when you work it too hard (such as with heavy drinking or eating a poor diet for a prolonged period of time), it can become damaged,” explains Dr Powles. Liver disease doesn’t always cause noticeable symptoms or signs, but it pays to know what to keep an eye out for. “You may feel generally unwell, or experience symptoms like abdominal pain or swelling, itchy skin, dark urine, a loss of appetite or a tendency to bruise easily. You might also notice a change to your physical appearance, for example yellow skin and the whites of your eyes appear yellowish.” Lola adds that it’s not uncommon to notice mood and character changes, brain fog and memory dips; unexplained weight changes; and erratic sleep patterns. If you notice any persistent symptoms, speak to your GP, who can organise specific tests. However, Dr Powles stresses that you should only have liver tests if advised by your doctor. “The results of these tests can sometimes be misleading or falsely reassuring without an appropriate clinical reason to have the test,” he says, “So always check in with your doctor first.”
For more information visit TogetherHealth.co.uk, Bupa.co.uk and ClarissaLenherr.com
Shop The Best Supplements For Liver Support Below...