(NaturalNews) You liver is a true natural miracle, but many people are unaware of what the liver does and why it is important to your health. The liver is your largest solid organ and has a unique ability to regenerate its entire mass from just 25 percent of its original healthy self. It helps you digest food, absorb nutrients and neutralize and remove toxic compounds from the body. Its overall health is indicative of your overall level of health - which means it's definitely worth taking care of.
Unfortunately, the liver comes under fire from all angles these days - from extra salt and sugar hidden in foods, to excessive drinking to toxic compounds in food and water - and with over one in three people in the U.S. officially obese (According to the CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and 75 percent of obese people being afflicted with some form of Fatty Liver Disease, the figures are astronomical - tens of millions is the conservative estimate.
Thankfully, the liver is tough as nails and with some simple advice and some natural supplementation, it is very easy to prevent many types of liver disease, and also to reverse any damage already done.
Exercise: Activity levels directly affect the function of the liver. When you increase your heart rate, more blood is pumped around the body and this enables the liver to clean toxins from your system. Exercise also burns calories, which stops them from being stored in the body and creating a fatty liver.
Alcohol: Too much booze can lead to Fatty Liver Disease, Hepatitis and Cirrhosis. All blood passes from the stomach to the liver, so the liver has the highest exposure to alcohol when consumed. The liver can only process so much alcohol each hour, after which your blood alcohol level rises. A good way to help balance the strain on your liver is to drink an equivalent amount of water for any alcohol you drink.
Food: Whole foods are key - they are far easier than processed foods for the liver to break down, don't contain nearly the amount of toxins and foreign compounds and will provide you with the energy and nutrition you need to live an active, healthy lifestyle. Avoid anything with high fructose corn syrup like the plague, it has been directly linked to liver disease and Type II diabetes.
Sodium: Salt is hidden in everything these days, eating whole foods and using salt sparingly will help your liver to no end.
Milk thistle (Silybum Marianum)
The roots of the milk thistle are a traditional food and contain the compound "Silymarin" which works by helping increase blood flow and bile in the liver, meaning it can function more efficiently - getting rid of toxins faster and putting the liver through less strain.
Artichoke (Cynara Cardunculus)
The globe artichoke has been known to boost digestion for centuries, thanks to its active compound "Cynarin." Its effects are similar to those of milk thistle, increasing blood flow and bile - it also increases available digestive enzymes, which means the liver has less work to do when filtering bile for nutrients and vitamins.
Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum)
A potent medicinal mushroom, reishi has a profound effect on many areas of general health, particularly the liver. It has long been known to be Hepato-protective, and by taking before an event at which you know you might overdo things, you can avoid the worst of the effects. It is also a known hangover cure thanks to its ability to neutralize toxins left in the liver after drinking to excess, indeed it works faster and more effectively than a morning after pain-killer.
Your liver exists to protect your health. It does this so well that most of the time, we are unaware of the amazing job it is doing. So, try to implement a few of these ideas to help your liver through these difficult times.
About the author: Mark Towse is a professional naturopath, nutritionist and mycologist specializing in herbal extracts, phytonutrients and medicinal mushrooms. He owns and runs the European herbal extract specialist Active Health Supplements, www.activehealthsupplements.com. He is interested in all things relating to the natural world, particularly the healing power hidden within the plant kingdom and how nature has given us the power to detoxify, re-balance and strengthen ourselves in the increasingly crazy pressures of modern life! If you are interested in high-strength herbal extracts and rare medicinal mushrooms, or are looking for more information or advice in his specialist areas, he'd love you to visit his website www.activehealthsupplements.com.