Gut health is the secret to a healthy immune system. Your microbiome (the trillions of beneficial bacteria living in your belly) accounts for 70% of your immune system.
While healing the gut is an extremely individualised process, and what works for one person, may not work for the next, everyone's gut loves a healthy liver. So, taking care of your liver will aid gut health so your microbes can focus on enhancing immunity. A stressed liver puts undue pressure on the gut, which can compromise immunity.
If you would like to find out what would work best to heal your gut, please contact me for details on how we can do so.
So, here's why we are focussing on the liver;
In today's world we are exposed to an endless amount of unnatural toxins. They are hiding in the food we eat, the alcohol (and even water) that we drink, the potions and lotions we rub on our bodies, in the powders that wash our clothes, and in the air we breath.
We can always choose cleaner alternatives to limit our toxic exposure (and of course, this does help!) but no matter how much you try it's near impossible to be completely toxin-free.
But thats okay, all thanks to one organ that works in 24-7 to purify our insides - your liver!
This super-organ has over 500 vital functions such as;
Producing bile, which transports waste and breaks down fats during digestion
Regulating almost all chemicals in the blood
Supporting healthy hormone production
Producing cholesterol to help carry fats throughout the body
Conversion of excess glucose (sugar) for storage (as glycogen which can later be converted back to glucose for energy)
Balancing or making glucose as required
Regulating the amount of amino acid in the blood, which are the building blocks to create proteins
Processing hemoglobin for use of its iron content. (Hemoglobin is a protein in your red blood cells that carries oxygen to your body's organs and tissues and transports carbon dioxide from your organs and tissues back to your lungs.)
Processing and clearing the blood of drugs and other toxic substances
Regulating blood clotting
Fighting infections by eliminating pathogenic bacteria from the bloodstream
When our liver is working in overdrive (which for most of us is all the time) it has the ability to tag in a friend for help - your gut! Your gut works as backup in processing toxins. Like a second liver.
Ahh, I see where we are going here.
Considering the work load we pile on to our poor little livers it is no wonder that our gut health and immunity are in desperate need of some TLC.
In holistic wellness we always want to take a step back to treat the root cause, not the symptoms. So in order to have a strong immune system, we need a healthy gut, and in order for your gut health to have the capacity to keep itself healthy and strong, we need a liver with a healthy work-life balance.
Show your liver some love.
You don't need to buy expensive products, supplements or juice cleanses in order to support your liver function. Your liver wants to effectively do its job. Below is a collection of wellness tips and tricks to nourish your liver, and therefore your gut and immune system.
Consume ancient plants with superior nutrition that cleanse and renew the liver:
Chlorella has been on the planet for over 2 billion years. Inside the nucleus of chlorella is a unique nutrient complex known as "chlorella growth factor" (CGF) which is created during photosynthesis when every chlorella cell multiplies into 4 cells every 20 hours. This extreme rate of growth in CGF encourages the repair of damaged cells in humans. This means it not only helps all organs in our bodies renew its cells, but also slows down the ageing process.
Wild blue-green micro-algae are highly cleansing and nurturing for the liver. They also are helpful against bad moods and sluggishness. However, I do not recommend this for anyone who is weak, frail or easily chilled.
Seaweed is incredibly cleansing restorative to the liver.
Consume fruits rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants for liver cell renewal:
Berries (all kinds!) pomegranates and grapes contain phytonutrients that renew liver cells. Grapes are also a source of the antioxidant proanthocyandin, which protects liver cells. For both berries and grapes, choose organic when you can as these foods are on the Dirty Dozen list.
Lemons and Limes are traditional liver cleaning foods. Their bitter and sour flavours break down stagnant material in the liver - another reason why I love to start my days with a glass of warm lemon water.
Utilise plant extracts and teas to maximise liver cleansing:
Lavender essential oil supports the breakdown of toxic material in the liver and lymphatic system. Just one drop of quality lavender oil in a glass of water, or in 1/2 tsp olive or flaxseed oil (not with food) does the trick.
Chamomile tea helps to cleanse the liver and gallbladder gently when consumed over time. One cup in the evenings is great to incorporate into a nighttime routine.
Potassium rich foods: (for those without kidney issues)
Sweet potato - one of my favourite sources of starchy carbohydrates!
Tomato sauce - a 100% tomato sauce, not your heavily processed, heavily sweetened condiment type.
Beans - white beans, kidney beans and lima beans are all fabulous sources of potassium. I like to blend them up with herbs and spices to make a delicious dip, or just toss the beans through my salads.
Bananas - the OG when it comes to potassium. For those monitoring sugar levels, I do not recommend having banana alone on an empty stomach. Pair your banana with a form of healthy fats, such as almonds, to balance blood sugar levels.
Superfoods, herbs and spices:
Milk thistle is known as the king of detoxifying herbs and it well and truly deserves the title. Milk thistle assists the elimination of toxin build up in the liver whilst also strengthening the liver cell walls and boosting healthy regeneration.
Dandelion root has a natural diuretic effect which supports the liver elimination process, boosts immunity, balance blood sugar and soothes digestion.
Turmeric contains a super anti-inflammatory compound, curcumin, which enhances liver metabolism, reduces joint pain, aids digestion, balances blood sugar and even has effective antidepressant qualities. Pair your turmeric with a little black pepper to enhance curcumin's bioabsorption by 2000%!
Flaxseed oil (cold pressed and unrefined) - cleansing and regenerative to the liver and gallbladder
GLA (gamma-linoleic acid) fatty acids found in certain seed oils (borage, evening primrose and black-current). Especially beneficial for anyone who was cesarian born or experienced many colds/flus/infections as an infant.
Garlic activates liver detoxification enzymes that assist in the break down and removal of toxins. It also contains up to 40 antibacterial agents!
Beetroots are an incredible blood boosting food rich in antioxidants that activate liver enzymes and enhance bile's ability to transport toxins from the body.
Broccoli sprouts enhance glutathione which makes them ideal for supporting both phases of liver detoxification.
Walnuts are known for the brain boosting benefits, but they're also great for the liver. Walnuts enhance blood flow and circulation so that toxins are more effectively transported to your liver.
Papaya helps to reduce liver inflammation by blocking the overproduction of inflammatory cytokines. Papaya is also great for fuelling beneficial bacteria in your gut. Squeeze fresh lime over your papaya to make the flavours really pop!
Last, but certainly not least - in fact arguably most importantly - clean up your diet! Minimise your consumption of toxins to begin with by avoiding packaged foods, inflammatory oils, sugar and heavily processed foods. There is no better way to put your liver, gut, and immune system into burnout than to load up your fork with a never ending steam of processed crap. Instead opt for seasonal whole foods.
Remember; your body wants to be healthy. It spends all day, every day, trying to do so. We just need to learn to get out of its way, stop sabotaging this innate ability and instead feed it the building blocks it needs to help you become your healthiest, happiest, most vibrant self.