James Brown used to call himself “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business” because he performed hundreds of live shows per year. But, compared to your liver, the hard-working James Brown looks downright lazy.
Your liver is a multitasking powerhouse: it plays a role in regulating glucose, blood pressure, blood sugar, insulin, estrogen, testosterone, and blood cholesterol production and removal; it acts as a filter to remove toxins like ammonia and alcohol from the bloodstream; and it aids in weight loss by helping to breakdown fat — to name just a few of its many functions.
Clearly, your liver has a lot to do! And a liver that’s functioning optimally is essential to your overall health and weight.
Sadly, a growing number of people have sick livers… and most don’t even realize it!
In today’s article you’ll discover:
- Why 1 in 5 Americans now have a liver condition that used to only occur in heavy drinkers and alcoholics
- Organic fruits and vegetables: are they worth the added cost?
- The common substance (it’s in 80% of our food) that’s as toxic to your liver as alcohol
- 5 delicious anti-inflammatory foods that promote healthy liver function
- And more!
How Healthy Is Your Liver?
Harvard Medical School estimates that as much as 20% of Americans have too much fat in their liver, a condition known as fatty liver disease. 
Other experts, like Dr. Mark Hyman, believe as many as 90 million Americans could have fatty livers.
But no matter how you tally up the figures, one thing is certain: an alarming number of Americans now have fatty liver disease — a condition that, until very recently, occurred almost exclusively in heavy drinkers. Why?
Blame it on two of the most common epidemics of our time: obesity and diabetes.
Harvard researchers report that “fatty liver affects between 70% and 90% of people with these conditions”, so as obesity and diabetes rates skyrocket, so too does the number of people with fatty liver disease.
And while anyone can get fatty liver disease, people between 40 and 60 years old are at greatest risk.
What Is Fatty Liver Disease?
Scientists are still exploring the precise causes of fatty liver disease, but the leading theory is that the condition gets started because of insulin resistance.
In a nutshell, when people become insulin resistant their muscles, cells, and liver stop responding to insulin, and as a result the hormone builds up in the bloodstream.
Insulin resistance is a very complicated metabolic process, but one of the results is an increase in the amount of fatty acids circulating in the body. As these fatty acids accumulate in the liver it leads to fatty liver disease.
What Symptoms Will You Notice
If Your Liver Is Unhealthy?
Fatigue is the most common symptom.
So if you feel sluggish, tired, and like you never quite have the energy to do what you’d like to do, an overtaxed liver may be the reason why.
Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite, brain fog, digestive problems (gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea), dark orange or brown urine, and jaundice, which causes the whites of your eyes to yellow.
If you’re worried about the health of your liver, talk with your doctor about a liver function test, aspartate aminotransferase (AST) test, or alanine aminotransferase (ALT) test.
Then, consider incorporating the liver health tips from this article into your lifestyle.
Liver Healthy Lifestyle
Before we look at how to improve liver health, here’s something to keep in mind:
When adopting a liver healthy lifestyle, it’s best to start with small, gradual changes.
Related: Top 5 Herbs For Liver Health
You might begin by choosing one of the suggestions from the list below; and, once you’ve established this suggestion as a habit, add in another suggestion every week or two until all five are part of your lifestyle.
Yes, this will be a slower process than if you dive in with all five suggestions at once, but in my experience having coached thousands of clients I’ve found that starting slow and building on victories (no matter how small) is the surest path to lasting success.
Remember: Your journey towards better health is a marathon, NOT a sprint. Take it one day and one decision at a time and I promise you’ll reach your goals!
How to Improve Liver Health in 5 Steps
1. Feast on Anti-Inflammatory Foods
When fatty liver disease occurs your liver cells swell with fat molecules; and the presence of this fat can trigger inflammation in the liver as well as the surrounding tissue.
As this chronic inflammation continues to scorch your liver cells, a dangerous domino effect begins: Your liver tries to regenerate itself… this causes scar tissue to form… and this scar tissue impairs liver function.
You’re probably familiar with the name of this condition — cirrhosis. There’s no way to reverse the damage caused by cirrhosis and the condition can lead to total liver failure. It’s also been linked to an increased risk of liver cancer.
These facts make prevention all the more important. And that’s where an anti-inflammatory diet can work wonders for your liver health.
Liver health (and whole body health) begins with the foods you eat. By feeding yourself fresh, wholesome foods you’ll be nourishing your body while keeping liver-damaging inflammation in check at the same time.
Some of the best anti-inflammatory liver foods include:
Leafy Green Vegetables
You simply can’t eat too many leafy greens like spinach, romaine, kale and Swiss chard. These vegetables are packed with anti-inflammatory flavonoids and are a good source of antioxidants that protect your liver cells.
They also provide potassium, a nutrient associated with liver health.
If you’re like me and find yourself hungry between meals, a handful of walnuts make a perfect snack.
Walnuts are a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ALA omega-3 fatty acids and can help to protect you against cardiovascular issues, metabolic syndrome and, crucially important for liver health, type 2 diabetes.
Salmon is chock full of essential fatty acids, omega-3s in particular, which are among the most powerful anti-inflammatory substances.
Take special care to only purchase or eat wild-caught salmon, as farm-raised salmon can have up to sixteen times the amount of cancer-causing PCBs. Another suggestion is to get your omega-3s from a pure, pharmaceutical-grade fish oil supplement.
Turmeric, a tasty spice that gives Indian curry it’s distinctive golden color, can naturally soothe chronic inflammation.
In multiple studies, curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, has been found to be strongly anti-inflammatory because it inhibits molecules that play a major role in causing chronic inflammation.
Even better: Studies suggest curcumin can help to regulate blood pressure, improve circulation and prevent toxins from building up in your body.
Turmeric has many health benefits and you can buy quality, organic turmeric powder for just a few dollars. This is one liver-healthy spice you should consider adding to your menu.
Are blueberries the perfect fruit? They just might be!
Blueberries are packed with a flavonoid called quercetin, which fights inflammation as well as cancer. On top of that, a recent study found that eating blueberries can slow cognitive decline, improve memory, and improve motor function.
The worst foods for your liver include:
- Non-organic fruits and vegetables (they’re sprayed with toxic pesticides and insecticides that burden your liver)
- Processed foods and drinks
- Sugar (experts like Dr. Robert Lustig argue that sugar is as toxic to your liver as alcohol!) 
2. Buy Organic Fruits & Veggies
According to Environmental Health Perspectives, that’s how much less insecticide you stand to have in your urine when you eat organic fruits and vegetables. 
Non-organic fruits and vegetables are awash with toxic insecticides, pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals that overtax your liver.
By eating fresh organic produce you’ll get all the liver-boosting health benefits of fruits and vegetables WITHOUT the nasty toxins.
It’s true that some (although not all) organic fruits and vegetables are a little pricier than pesticide-heavy produce.
But I challenge you to see this not as a cost, but rather as an investment in your good health. For more on getting the most out of your fruits and veggies, check out the Environmental Working Group’s FAQ page.
3. Read The Labels
Here’s some food for thought:
In 2011, the UN Secretary General declared that metabolic syndrome (type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease) and other non-communicable diseases (liver disease, cancer, dementia) are now a greater threat to both the developing and developed world than is acute infection, including HIV.
What’s the main driver of this frightening reality? Sugar. And no country on earth consumes more sugar than America.
There are approximately 600,000 different foodstuffs available in America, and 80% of them include added sugar. The most popular form of added sugar by far is high fructose corn syrup, and that spells big trouble for liver health.
A full 100% of the fructose that enters your body is metabolized by your liver. The metabolic demands of fructose induce fatty liver disease, insulin resistance, hypertension, and a host of other negative conditions. 
High fructose corn syrup is bad news for your liver and overall health, and you’ll be shocked to discover how many foods in your fridge and pantry right now include this toxic ingredient.
My advice: Carefully read the labels when you grocery shop and avoid any foods that include high fructose corn syrup like the liver-poisoning junk it is.
Although diet is essential for your liver health, so, too, is getting adequate exercise.
Now, that doesn’t mean you need to sign up for the next 5K marathon in your town. If you haven’t been active in a while, or if significant weight gain makes activity difficult for you, all you need to focus on is getting started.
That could mean a 10 minute walk around your neighborhood, taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work, parking at the end of the lot and walking into the store, strolling through your local mall (hey, look at that — a legitimate reason to shop!), or signing up with a friend at your neighborhood fitness club — ANYTHING that gets you up and moving!
The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate activity at least 5 days a week.
If that seems like an exhausting goal, don’t let that stop you. Some activity is better than none! Set a daily goal that works for you (even as little as 5 minutes!) and get started.
5. Avoid Eating At Least Three Hours Before Bedtime
I like Dr. G. Anton Decker’s description of the liver’s main function:
“Your liver process anything you eat or drink and either repackages it for your body to use or eliminates it.” 
And considering the average American eats about a ton (yes, a literal ton) of food per year — well, I’d say our livers are staying mighty busy!
Processing the food and drink we consume may be the liver’s main function, but it’s certainly not its only function. That’s why it’s a good idea to avoid eating for at least three hours before bedtime.
This will give your liver plenty of time during the night to perform its other functions unimpeded by digestion.
Now It’s Your Turn
Your liver is the ultimate multi-tasker.
And because it’s responsible for so many functions it is especially susceptible to stress, environmental toxins, and dietary choices, but the five steps you’ve learned in this article can help you safely and naturally improve liver function.
If you’re concerned about your liver health, there’s something else you need to know.
Discover the five sneaky foods that beat up your liver and add pounds of flab to your belly. These foods are marketed to you as health foods, but nothing could be further from the truth. Watch this eye-opening presentation now for the full story.