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How to Improve Liver Health in 5 Steps

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Liver Health

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 Liver Healthknown as fatty liver disease. [1]

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?

tiredFatigue 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.

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Related: Top 5 Herbs For Liver Health
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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

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.

Walnuts

Walnut

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

Salmon

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

Tumeric

 

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.

Blueberries

Blue berries

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:

Sugar

  • Alcohol
  • 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]

2. Buy Organic Fruits & Veggies

Organic fruits and veggies

Sixty-five percent.

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. [3]

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

food-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. [4]

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.

4. Exercise

Exercise

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

Avoid eating

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.” [5]

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 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.

36 Comments

  • Nancy Bilby says:

    How many teaspoons of tumeric would be a daily dose? I have arthritis and am obese and feel this may help.

  • Tanya says:

    What foods could you eat 2.5 hours before bedtime?

  • Kendra Grissom says:

    Thanks Dr Livingston i am so confident now i can reach my health goals.

    • Dr. Charles Livingston D.C. Dr. Charles Livingston D.C. says:

      I’m excited for you Kendra, remember how to eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Tiny steps make big differences.

  • Carole annis says:

    Very interesting articles, I am incorporati g these health tips into my life.

  • Thomas Watkins says:

    Ah! 3 hours before bedtime, eh? That’s a new one I hadn’t read in your other literature yet. Thanks!

  • Elsa says:

    The article is very good but the reality is more complicated, and I am learning a new ‘Life Style’ that I am happy to share with you about inflammation, arthritis and high cholesterol (320) and how control them.
    -Corn is equal to inflammation and Whole Wheat it is not what it was.
    Grain Crops are no good since the progress of Genetic Modification Process that contaminate Organic Ones
    ( Laboratory investigations start in 2008 in USA, UK, Brazil and China and declare in 2014 (to the USA government documents that the Crops in USA are not safe for Human Life. (Quinoa/Seeds/Hawaiian Avocado, some etc ? )
    I learn to cook and bake and also sweet desserts with flower and sweeteners listed in The Matrix. ( The problem is not the test of sweet, the problem is where, the origin of where that sweet comes from and how fast affect our insulin spike.
    The other inflammatory danger are the Lectins. I understand that All vegetable, plants, fruits , roots , have inside themselves or in their skin (example Are Almonds) a protection for do not be destroy for us, that is poison for us, we know it, notice it or not.
    For the develop and propagation of plants We are the predators in junction with others been.
    for that the plants make our digestion process a challenge. Depend of your Blood type and your family genetic information you can process the digestion or not better. No good are Beans, Lentils, Soy, Peanut.
    You can replace Peanut Butter with Blanch Almond Butter, organic, no salt and no salt added.
    Dr. Esteven R. Gundry, MD, FACS, FACC Director, The International Heart and Lung Institute , Palm Spring, Founder and Director The Center for Restorative Medicine, After an impressive career as a physician and surgeon in treatment of heart disease, famous surgeon cardiologist , pioneer in Surgery by Robots (30 years ago) invented some of the most widely used heart-surgery devices, renowned as an infant heart transplant surgeon and an incredible credentials ) was inspire to apply his experience, intellect and scientific background to prevent health measures . He give advice for heart health and general physical improvement. While people have no choice in their heredity and genetic composition, they can work with the inherited genes, improve their personal comfort, and possibly extend life expectancy . Dr. Gundry is passionate to teach us to control our genes through food, and also for better life he recommends THE MATRIX diet, and also ingest a custom quantity dosses of Vitamins and Supplements (each of us is different and need different approaches) , and also Dr. Gundry also is a wise counselor about food resources in accord with each patient blood test (he recommend the periodical control and follow up, until we can do That LIFE STYLE in balance with ourselves. (we do not call it the Diet, we call it Life Style)
    Amazing is that other very famous doctors are coincident with Dr. Gundry principles and protocols:
    Dr. David Pearl Mutter, Brain Surgeon, specialize in Alzheimer disease , lost memory Seizures;
    Dr, Ammen , Psychiatric, Wise Scientific Investigator and Therapist of awareness and control of Depression, Alzheimer, Senile arteriosclerosis, etc. without drugs.
    Dr. D’Adamo ( Author (with his father legacy) “Eat for your Blood type”)
    All them , and many more, are coincident in What do not to Eat, The concept of Lectins, how we can eat safe, and also kind and quantity of Supplements and Vitamins we need.
    The truth is All of Us Will Died anyway, but the difference is when and how.
    It is Scientifically prove that for each year that we do a healthy Life Style we elongated 7 years the possibility of be in these dimension alive, healthy, active . And of course do not be a Burden for our descendants.
    Thank you for yours shearing today I learn somethings more about the liver and liver test with other information.

    • Dr. Charles Livingston D.C. Dr. Charles Livingston D.C. says:

      Elsa! This is a fantastic share and great points. Thank you for your contribution 🙂

  • DR,ILEANA BRANCOV says:

    HI,
    THANK YOU VERY MUCH DR CHARLES LIVINGSTON.
    I AM HAPPY TO REACH MY HEALTH GOALS USING YOUR HEALTH TIPS INTO MY LIFE .THANK YOU AGEN TO HELPING A LOT OF PEOPLE WITH YOU E-MAILS .CONGRATULATIONS !!!DR. ILEANA BRANCOV

  • Christie Curtis says:

    I have fatty liver. I intend to try your suggestions for what to do about it. I will start by adding tumeric to my cooking . Someone asked how many spoon fulls a day and you said 1-2 grams. How much is a gram?

    • Dr. Charles Livingston D.C. Dr. Charles Livingston D.C. says:

      Hey Christie! 1/4 of a teaspoon would approximately equal 2 grams. hope that helps!

  • Hello Dr.Livingston,can you tell me the most effective way to get my body in better health,I am 5ft.10in.240pds. that is at least 60pds. overweight.It has elevated my blood pressure because all of the bodyfat is from the waist the face,where the heart and all the vital organs are located.Another important factor is heart disease is common in family DNA. THANK YOU

    • Dr. Charles Livingston D.C. Dr. Charles Livingston D.C. says:

      Hey Stephen, I think that one of the best things that you can do is to cut out wheat/white flour/pasta/breads/baked goods or anything that contains any of that. The first step to better health is to stop the toxins going into your body. “White” foods and wheat are VERY inflammatory and are linked to numerous health problems. Start with that 😉

  • rosie caraveo says:

    I have this disease of the liver. please email me as much information possible of dieting/foods to eat to be able to get it back to normal. seems like I am doing something wrong and do not understand what exactly it is. thank you so much, rosie

  • Thomas A Lord says:

    Hi Dr Livingstone I been have slight elevated Liver enzymes and constipation than loos bowels what could I do to get regular

    • Dr. Charles Livingston D.C. Dr. Charles Livingston D.C. says:

      Hi Thomas, I suggest taking our Livlean Formula #1. I’d also make sure you are getting 30-40 grams of fiber a day, drinking 6-8 glasses of water daily, and staying away from Wheat and dairy. Hope that helps!

  • Daniel Britt says:

    Dear Dr. L,
    I want to thank you for your insight and information on this subject. I am a 40 year old male. I am 5′ 8″ and 167 lbs. My blood pressure is consistently around 118 over 77 and my cholesterol levels are within the normal range as is the glucose levels in the last few routine blood tests i’ve had performed. I am not an avid exerciser, although I do meet the exercise standards outlined in your article. Unknowingly, I have been eating blueberries and walnuts my entire life, with the addition of kale into my diet as of the past few years. Now having stated all of this, you may wonder why I am concerned about my liver health. The short answer is that both of my parents have type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. I am obviously planning on not aquiring these conditions, but, is it an unavoidable outcome due to my hereditary genetics or is it possible to remain free of these issues? Also, I drink almost a gallon of iced green tea with ginseng and honey about every 48 hrs. It contains 15 grams of sugar per (8 oz.) serving. I know that there are some health benefits to green tea, such as antioxidants etc. I drink this much because I no longer drink soda, knowing that they can contain a range of 30-48+ grams of sugar per serving, I also no longer consume alcoholic beverages but for maybe 4 times a year. It seems clear to me that the green iced tea is a better option than soda, alcohol and bleach… but am I fooling myself thinking that it is beneficial to my health at all? I eagerly await your response and thank you in advance for your time and advice.

    • Dr. Charles Livingston D.C. Dr. Charles Livingston D.C. says:

      Hey Daniel, you are doing fantastic. Keep it up. You are not your father and you are not your mother. Think of your genes as a light switch that flip on and off according to your environment. This means that if you are doing healthy things, then you have a lesser chance to activate those genes that lead to type 2 diabetes and HBP. They’ve proven time and time again that you can improve your genetics by changing the environment that you live in. This is called the study of epigenetics. You don’t have to go down the same path of your family. Iced greentea with ginseng and honey sounds delicious. 7.5 grams a sugar a day is fine. Use raw honey and organic tea as much as you can. Great job Daniel!

  • Georgia Moore says:

    Dr. Livingston,
    I am a 69 year old female and 5’6″ 242 lbs. I have type two diabetic, high blood pressure,depression,heart desease ,cholserol problems and a nerve problem. What can I do to help all these and loose weight. I also have sleep apena and breathing problems. I need help. I am on a fixed income and it is hard to get the things I need.
    Please help me.
    Georgia

    • Dr. Charles Livingston D.C. Dr. Charles Livingston D.C. says:

      Hi Georgia, it’s nice to meet you! If you are on medications, losing weight will be an uphill battle. (Read the contraindications that come with each prescription) With that being said, nothing is impossible, it will just make it a bit harder. Start with this: Get rid of wheat in your diet. If you can do this for 1 month and replace it with white rice, or sweet potatoes or quinoa, you will feel much better. Once you do that, work on getting rid of dairy out of your diet for the next month as well. These 2 things in and of itself are lifechanging 🙂

  • linda says:

    I had endometriosis most of my life then after my last chlld was born I was 39 year of age. A year after I was diagnosed with ulcerative pan colitis which i have had for 13 years now.. gone from one doc to another – btw also have sleep apnea and wear a CPAP machine, i was dx with that when i was only150lbs, tried to work with each Dr. just going round and round and passed to diff drs but after having a hysterectomy two years ago have gone from my usual 140 lbs to 187lbs i am so devastated!!!!!!!! I am not in a position to buy expensive meds but I really need help.

  • Michael Karvasales says:

    I’m very pleased with your pinpointing ( filtering ) the foods which help and those that should be avoided . Up until now I had to explore multiple sources for the same info . My most recent blood test revealed the enzyme levels in my blood were just two digits above the standard (Kaiser Permanente standard ) . My guestion is how long should I take your formula . I plan to maintain your diet recommendations long after

    • Dr. Charles Livingston D.C. Dr. Charles Livingston D.C. says:

      Hi Michael, thanks! Glad you like the information! I always recommend a minimum of 3 months because that’s about the amount of time it takes for your cells to turnover and start with some new building blocks that Livlean provides. I don’t have Liver problems personally, but I have been taking livlean daily for over 3 years as protection.

  • Holly says:

    Good Day Sir !
    I am currently waiting for my 1st order. I’ve purchased a 6 month supply. It’s been a little less than 2 weeks since I 1st started reading about you and your program. I read for about an hour the 1st time and then again the next day because something peaked my interest. The next day I placed my order. Long story short, I went home and emptied every cupboard and the fridge. Went to Costco and FarmBoy, Restocked them both with many of the things that you’ve made clear will change my life. They have !! Even though I have yet to receive the Livlean my life has changed . I thought it important to let you know that you’ve affected me in a profound way. Can’t explain it ! I’m a 50 year male who just wants to live longer ! For whatever reason I’ve attached myself to you and your program. There’s been a million and one other plans/products over the years that I wanted nothing to do with probably because I’m a sceptic ! I read every email and I appreciate and look forward to the next. In closing , I want to say ” Thank You “.

    • Dr. Charles Livingston D.C. Dr. Charles Livingston D.C. says:

      Hey! awesome! 🙂 Great job on taking action. You are going to do fantastic on this program. I’ve based my life around it because I’ve seen the results for my self and my clients.

  • Annis Andrews says:

    Hi Dr Livingston.
    I received my order of LivLean Formula yesterday, i start taking 2 capsules this morning. I will let you know how am doing . Thank you so much for this product, listening to you about yogurt and how much sugar they contain i all most fall of the chair, i used to eat at least 2 per day not any more am feeling better knowing its not good for me. Also i eat a lot of bread with my digestive problems i think the bread helps a lot but am trying my best to cut down . Thank you so much for this product . Annis Duncan.

    • Dr. Charles Livingston D.C. Dr. Charles Livingston D.C. says:

      Hi Annis, congrats! I love this product and yes, I do take it myself daily. Look for Gluten Free bread which would be a better option than regular bread 🙂

  • Penny says:

    I found out 10 years ago that I had a fatty liver, I never knew what that was. I had no one to explain that to me, so in the meantime I went about my daily routine. I started to notice that I was gaining weight and feeling tired, I attributed that to taking care of my elderly parents. I never had a problem before losing weight, now all of a sudden I just keep gaining weight (60+ pounds) even though I watch what I eat. Frustrating isn’t even the word for what I’m going through, I’ve asked Dr.s and they tell me that they’ll help me lose the weight and help me understand what a fatty liver is. So far I’m batting a 1000, unless I pay them every week to walk me through a process they don’t want to help me. I don’t have that kind of money and I know my health is important, so I started researching myself. Right now I’m talking all kinds of vitamin’s, i.e. Milk Thistle, Turmeric, Activated charcoal, and about 10 others. As of today I’ve gained another 6 pounds in the past 60 days.
    So, I’ve ordered your LivLean Formula #1, I’m praying that helps. My question is do I stop taking all my other vitamins?

    • Dr. Charles Livingston D.C. Dr. Charles Livingston D.C. says:

      Hi Penny, I’d say you have something else going on. Make sure that you stop eating wheat and dairy for the next 30 days and see how that does. BUT you need to make sure you are getting at least 1200-1500 calories a day. Eat more healthy fats and keep your carbs below 100g. You don’t have to stop taking the other supplements, but don’t take activated charcoal every day. Only for a few weeks at a time and then only when you eat bad meals like pizza.

  • Julie Greco says:

    Hello Dr Livingston. I stumbled onto your web sight 5 days ago. I’ve been looking for something like this for a long time! I immediately ordered Live Lean Formula #1. Should receive it in a few days. In the meantime I downloaded the free book & started on the 2 – 3 lbs per week eating plan. The results are amazing! Has only been 4 days & have already lost 4 lbs! You gave me the info I needed to continue & accelerate my weight loss. Thank you so much!

    • Dr. Charles Livingston D.C. Dr. Charles Livingston D.C. says:

      AWESOME!! Glad to hear it Julie. Don’t be afraid to reach out to us if you need anything!!

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