This past weekend, in my neck of the woods, the weather was stunning – and with balmy weather comes patios and summer sippin’.
Summer sippin’ happens to be one of my favorite pastimes. I take great pleasure in having a few cocktails on a patio with my friends (as I suspect many of you feel the same!) But alcohol does quite a number on our bodies, and in particular, on our livers.
Now, the liver plays a key role in the metabolism of fats and proteins, and as a blood cleanser, it breaks down hormones, medications, alcohol and other toxic substances, rendering them harmless.
However, excessive use of the aforementioned toxins weakens our body’s ability to perform, with alcohol being one of the most abusing forces on these essential little organs.
But, I wouldn’t ask anybody, even myself, to give up drinking…especially during the summer! So with that alternative out of the way, I want to arm you with the knowledge to tip the scales back in your favor!
Milk Thistle is renowned for its ability to support healthy liver and kidney function, as it contains an active ingredient called Silymarin, boasting strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Silymarin comes from a group of flavonoids which research shows helps repair and protect liver cells from toxic substances. Milk Thistle is often prescribed by doctors and physicians to severe alcoholics suffering from cirrhosis of the liver to improve liver function and increase survival rates.
I take milk thistle every morning because I endeavor to keep my liver on the up and up.
And since our immune response is found within our gastrointestinal tract, the merits of milk thistle should be highly considered. And as an added bonus, for those nights when the wine is flowing, taking milk thistle and chugging a big glass of water helps to stave off the dreaded hangover!
If you want to know more, check out this article on mile thistle from LiverSupport.com!
In addition to supplementing with milk thistle, we can fortify the function of this crucial detoxification organ with certain foods.
Top Five Liver Boosting Foods
Garlic - Even in small doses, this pungent ivory bulb has the ability to activate key enzymes that enable the body to flush out toxins. However, I wouldn’t advise garlic on a first date, unless of course your date is a liver lover…which would make him or her a keeper, anyway
Grapefruit - High in vitamin C and antioxidants, grapefruit increases the effectiveness of the natural cleansing process of the liver. Grapefruit is the cousins of the lemon, a well-known friend of the liver. Get to know grapefruit and others in the citrus family and your liver will thank you!
Green Tea - It’s full of catechins, a powerful antioxidant which are known to assist in overall liver function. What can possibly be said about green tea that hasn’t already been? All you need to know is that green tea is AMAZING for our bodies – so pour yourself another cuppa.
Leafy Green Vegetables - When eaten raw, cooked or juiced, leafy greens are allies to our liver, boasting an enviable amount of chlorophyll. These greens literally suck up and eliminate toxins in our bodies. Organic leafy greens have the unique ability to neutralize heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides swirling through our environments, too.
It’s super important to consume organic leafy greens, as they find themselves on the Dirty Dozen List, and are often heavily sprayed with pesticides.
Cabbage - Eating cabbage helps stimulate the activation of two crucial liver detoxifying enzymes that help flush out toxins. If you don’t happen to like cabbage, try broccoli or cauliflower as they boast the same benefits!
With the exception of garlic, all of the aforementioned liver boosting foods find themselves well-placed in smoothies and juices. So this summer, sip responsibly and have your milk thistle ready!