The Surprising Benefit of a Healthy Liver
If you’ve been trying, but can’t seem to lose that stubborn weight, then maybe it’s time to look at an unlikely culprit: your liver may be what is causing you to hold on to the fat. Yes, you read that right! Your liver health may be directly linked to those extra pounds.
Did you know that your liver performs over 500 processes for your body, all of which are essential to your health and wellness? This tiny organ has a great deal of responsibility for your health, especially when it comes to losing weight. If you want to maximize your weight loss efforts, then you’ll need to make friends with your liver first. Let’s take a look at the liver’s role in weight management and what you can do to improve your liver function.
The Role of Your Liver in Weight Loss
Your liver plays a role in almost every metabolic process in the body. When it comes to weight loss, the liver is essential for breaking down nutrients into usable energy. It also helps the body to remove metabolic waste that can occur due to poor nutritional and other factors, such as smoking. Let’s take a look at how your liver helps with weight loss specifically.
Calorie Burning: The liver helps to metabolize or breakdown fat cells, converting them into usable energy. If your liver is unhealthy, this may interfere with the rate at which your body is burning calories. When your goal is weight loss, the more calories you can burn, the better.
Fat Storage: As mentioned above, your liver is responsible for breaking down fat, so it should come as no surprise that when your liver is unhealthy, it’s not getting the job done. Experts suggest that poor liver health correlates with fat storage, not fat metabolization. In other words, your liver is more likely to store fat from excessive sugar consumption than to burn it.
Waste Removal: Think of your liver as the detoxification station of the body. All roads lead through your liver as it has to filter out harmful compounds from the foods you eat and the environments you visit. A healthy liver can maximize waste removal and this may help with weight loss.
How to Improve Liver Health
So now that you know how important a healthy liver is to managing your weight, let’s now look at how we can improve its function. While diet and exercise form the foundation of any successful weight loss plan, focusing on your liver health may actually help you achieve your goal weight faster. Do both for the best results!
Here are the best ways to care for your liver
The best way to improve your liver health is also exactly what you should be doing to promote weight loss: eat a cleaner diet. Focus on natural and whole food sources of lean meats (chicken, turkey), fish (wild caught salmon, tuna), vegetables (dark leafy greens, cruciferous veggies like broccoli, brussels sprouts) and asparagus, fruits (coconut, avocado, berries), nuts and seeds (almonds, pumpkin, flax, hemp), and superfoods (cacao nibs and goji berries).
Avoid These Foods
The worst foods that you can eat for your liver include: alcohol, processed food products, fried foods and those that contain trans-fat, high-sugar foods, and artificial sweetener-based foods. But not all sweeteners are bad. If you’re going to use a sugar-free sweetener, we recommend Stevia, Monk Fruit, organic raw honey, or pure unprocessed maple syrup.
Consider Going Low-Carb
Diets that are based on low-carbohydrate, high-fat, and moderate-protein intake (like the Ketogenic diet) are trendy right now, and there are studies are showing this type of diet is effective for weight loss. But studies also show that a low-carbohydrate, moderate-fat, and high-protein diet is even better for weight-loss. And if you do try high-fat versions of this diet then keep in mind is that you must monitor your cholesterol levels, especially if you increase your fat intake from animal sources (which we don’t recommend).
While many popular “liver cleanses” are really nothing more than a marketing gimmick, there are natural ways to recharge the liver, and there is one ingredient that has been shown can significantly improve your liver health. Milk thistle has been used for many years as a natural way to improve liver function and help protect the liver. The recommended dosage for milk thistle is 400 mg per day.
Another supplement that’s great for liver health is Curcumin, the bioactive compound found inside turmeric root. Curcumin has been shown in clinical studies to improve liver metabolism and overall function. If you take a curcumin supplement, make sure it contains the right support ingredients, to ensure it can go to work quickly.
Be More Active
Another essential element to successful weight loss is physical activity. This isn’t restricted to gym-based exercises — there are plenty of ways to increase your physical activity level to burn calories and improve liver function. Jogging, running, biking, gardening, swimming, hiking, and physical-based chores are all great ways to get your body moving. If you are able, we highly recommend starting a resistance training program that features cardiovascular exercise. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity, 75-100 minutes per week of high-intensity activity, or a combination of both.
The choices you make in your day-to-day life can impact the health of your liver dramatically . Excessive consumption of alcohol has been shown to contribute to a condition known as liver cirrhosis, which is scarring of the liver that will negatively impact liver function and health and possibly even cause liver failure if it continued. Many drugs (legal and illegal) can also severely damage the liver, as this is the organ that has to filter out all of those damaging compounds. Anabolic steroids are especially harmful to the liver with long-term users often needing a transplant. Quit smoking, limit your intake of alcohol, stop using any harmful drugs if you currently are.
Care for Your Liver, Lose More Weight
Even if you are currently living a less-than-optimal lifestyle, your liver is forgiving and for most people it’s not too late to turn your health around. You’d be surprised at how resilient and tough your liver is, and how it responds to a little TLC. Within just a few weeks of changing some bad habits, you may notice a big jump in your energy levels and overall wellness — all signs of a healthy liver.
Try incorporating the changes that we suggest here. Remember, it’s okay to start slow. If you can’t do it all or do it perfectly, don’t worry… just try to be consistent. It’s better to make slow, consistent progress than be overwhelmed by trying to be perfect. As always, follow up with us and let us know about your results!