Body & Fitness

How to keep your liver healthy this party season

Liver health can be the key to weight loss, clear and healthy skin and more - so it is important your liver is getting what it needs.

The liver – our boy’s unsung hero – takes a bit of battering at this time of the year.

Here’s our guide to why you need to keep it in top shape, and how you can help it along.

Here’s what your hard-working liver does to keep you heathy:

• Produces bile, a substance needed to digest fats. Bile salts break up fat into smaller pieces so it can be absorbed more easily in your small intestine.

• Stores vitamins and iron.

• Stores sugar (glucose) and converts it to functional sugar when your body’s glucose levels fall below normal.

• Breaks down insulin and other hormones.

• Converts ammonia to urea, which is vital in metabolism.

• Destroys old red blood cells.

• Produces proteins that are fundamental for wellbeing, such as coagulation factors necessary for blood clotting.

• Detoxifies your blood to rid it of harmful substances such as alcohol and prescription drugs.

Numerous supplements contain key nutrients designed to support your liver and boost detoxification.

Patrick Holford, author of The 9-Day Liver Detox, suggests looking for ones that include the following:

  • N-acetyl cysteine is a powerful antioxidant and a superb antitoxin.

  • Milk thistle extract binds to toxins to remove them from your body and increases glutathione levels to help the toxins shift more easily.

  • Cruciferous vegetable compounds boost your intake of glucosinolates, enhancing the activity of several liver enzymes.

  • Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a sulphur compound widely known for liver support thanks to its ability to build new, healthy tissues. An extra bonus is that it’s implicated in younger-looking skin.

  • Ellagic acid is a detoxifying substance found in blackberries, cranberries, pecans, pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries and walnuts.

  • Dandelion extract helps increase the flow of bile to break down fats.

  • Alpha-lipoic acid is often referred to as the ‘universal antioxidant’ and is found in veges such as broccoli and spinach as well as offal.

For more ways to keep your liver healthy, see the December issue of NEXT magazine

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