Monday, June 3, 2013

For the Good of Your Liver

When it comes to overall wellness your liver may be your most important organ. How much time do you spend thinking about your liver? What do you do to support its proper functioning?

The liver is responsible for over 500 functions, including many that are vital to life. It is one of the largest and heaviest organs in the body. The liver’s main functions include processing nutrients from food, making bile, removing toxins from the body and building proteins.

When we eat, macronutrients from our food go to the liver for processing and storage. They are then made into what the body needs and carried through the bloodstream to where they are utilized. Aside from the foods we eat, everything we breathe and absorb is also processed through the liver.

New statistics recently released by the Canadian Cancer Society indicate that liver cancer has been increasing annually since 1970 by 3.6 per cent for men and 1.7 per cent for women, the society's figures show. (link) Although other cancers are on the decline, liver cancer continues to plague Canadians increasingly.

Our health is impacted by the world around us. Environmental factors such as air pollution, water quality and pesticides in food affect liver functioning. Building materials, furnishings and carpeting lend toxins to the air we breathe every day. Skin care products and perfumes commonly contain dangerous chemicals, and house cleaning and laundry products contribute toxins to our homes and environment in significant ways.

Our liver copes with every toxic chemical we encounter. As well, stress, greasy foods and alcohol also interfere with its processes. A normal, healthy liver processes toxins without any trouble. A damaged or weak liver has difficulty processing these toxins out. As they accumulate, problems begin to occur. A weak liver may weaken the kidneys and contribute to digestive problems.

A good way to check liver functioning is by using a liver test kit. The Osumex 10P Urine Analysis Kit is non-invasive and checks for the presence of bilirubin, blood, glucose, ketone (acetoacetic acid), leukocyte, nitrite, pH, protein, specific gravity and urobilinogen in urine. The test is capable of detecting glucose in the urine and can serve as an early warning sign of Type 2 Diabetes. Please note that after using this test, it is important to follow-up with your health care professional to confirm results.

By arming yourself with the test results and taking steps to prevent disease, you have the power to impact your health for the better. The 10P test kit is a very good preventative tool that allows you some insight into the functioning of your liver.

Here are some things to keep in mind when considering liver health.

• Consider the importance of hydration, antioxidants and bitters in the support of optimal liver functioning. A healthy whole food diet supports a healthy liver (and digestion too!)
• Water is important for the flushing of toxins from the body.
• Antioxidants fight against free radicals and aid in the prevention of cellular damage. They help the liver carry out its cleansing process.
• Bitter foods such as such as radicchio, arugula, endive and dandelion encourage the detoxification function of the liver.

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