Separating Fact From Fiction
The liver stands out as the champion of all organs due to its remarkable capacity and contribution to optimal health and longevity. Responsible for everything from converting essential nutrients from the food we eat to protecting us from harmful toxins, this powerhouse is virtually the commander of our body’s army. Through a plentiful source of circulatory blood, both arterial and vascular, nothing ingested or passively accumulated through environmental exposures escapes the gatekeeper of the liver. Its mission is to filter anything we encounter to ensure that we receive what we need to live and excrete what we don’t. This includes the various bacterial and viral invaders that threaten to do us harm, playing a dynamic role in immune system function and making sure that each player in the dance executes its responsibility accordingly.
Positioned in the upper right side of the abdominal cavity just under the ribs, this four-lobed organ weighs in at approximately three pounds and can regenerate its own tissue with ease. Despite popular opinion, there is no scientific basis for liver cleansing, as this task is already inherent to the liver’s role. In fact, the biggest threat to liver function is abdominal fat, a measure of visceral fat surrounding vital organs that interferes with circulation and enzymatic functions. Unlike many other organs in the body, no artificial means currently exist to operate for the liver in the case of failure – the only option is liver transplant, which is limited. For these reasons, maintaining and cultivating liver health is critical to longevity. So, how do we influence our liver health?
Eat The Colors of the Rainbow
It should come as no surprise that the same prescription applies for liver health as it does for virtually all other health problems – a balanced diet favoring plant sources above all else. In addition, minimal consumption of processed foods that ultimately amounts to excessive sugar intake, and most importantly, modest intake of alcohol and drugs (prescription or otherwise), will preserve the liver’s ability to continue doing its miraculous work. How do we avoid becoming a slave to prescription drugs? By actively staying committed to practices known to prevent the inevitable health consequences of excess weight, stress and inactivity.
A 2015 study asserts that the key to preserving liver function is to combat oxidative stress that results from the metabolic process. Although oxygen is critical to life, the molecule also has the potential for extreme reactivity by forming free radicals – the result of oxygen splitting into two atoms, each with unpaired electrons. The presence of these atoms destroys cell membranes and potentiates a host of diseases. Building up our antioxidant defense is the best way to combat free radicals and phytonutrients from plant sources are undeniably the best source available to us. Vegetables rich in color have higher antioxidant value compared to lighter varieties, where a red grape is preferable to a green, a red onion is preferable to a white, and so on.
Supplementing with quality sourced, plant-based superfoods from Navitas Organics will augment these antioxidant defenses even further, as many of the products exceed nutrient values found in common vegetable varieties. The power of food as medicine demonstrates time and again that our diet choices matter. There’s no better time than today to start actively preserving liver health, because without our commander, we won’t have a chance at winning the battle.