The liver deserves much respect and care. It has literally thousands of jobs that it does every single day for us…and honestly, as a culture we don’t treat it with the reverence it deserves! Alcohol, sugar, fried foods, stress, a sedentary lifestyle, environmental pollution, toxic body care products, insufficient (or poor) sleep…all compromise liver functioning in one way or another. Including liver health in daily self-care intentions is a must for us all.
Here are some highlights of what the liver does for the body:
With this lengthy list in mind, it’s no wonder that liver health is a hot topic in the wellness world. Liver supportive foods and nutrients, cleanses and detoxification programs are abundant on the internet, including our own website and blog.
Supporting liver health is critical to maintaining whole-body health.
While targeted programs may be warranted and recommended by health care providers, there are some daily self-care practices that can help optimize the liver’s efforts.
There are a number of things I think about when planning my self-care efforts that puts my liver’s health in focus, but one of my favorites is to drink tea.
Green tea, rooibos and chamomile tisanes all increase the production of glutathione in the liver. Glutathione is considered to be the master antioxidant in the body, meaning that it helps combat oxidative stress in every organ system. Increasing glutathione not only loves up our livers, but helps to bring balance in our mental health, digestive health, immunity, cardiovascular system, kidneys and more.
It takes several cups of tea daily to make a big impact on glutathione production, but other factors like diet and lifestyle also contribute...it all adds up! Making a pot of tea to sip on these cold days is certainly a welcome habit. Here are some of my favorite combos and brands (no affiliation or sponsorship):
What are your favorite ways to enjoy these teas? Share your recipes and tips in the comments!
To learn more about the holistic perspective on liver health and other daily self-care practices, check out these articles:
Then, try out these liver-loving recipes:
When you're trying to get 9-13 servings of veggies in everyday, you have to start at breakfast. And what a delicious challenge it is! I've been sharing my favorite "V for B" ideas on Instagram lately. Here's one more winner to add to your repertoire.
Makes 4-6 servings
Ingredients for the Hash
If you have a home garden, chances are you are flush with raspberries right now!
I don't eat much fruit because as far as I'm concerned fruit is only good when it's in season and close to the source. Living on the North Coast means we have a small window in time to enjoy fresh berries, cherries, apples and pears.
I grow two varieties of raspberries - red and yellow - and plan to add a black raspberries next spring. Our berry vines are overflowing with summer bounty right now, so every night I'm out picking fruit...and shoving it right in my mouth!
Raspberries bring something special to the table - more than just deliciousness. They are the best source of ellagic acid, a polyphenol (antioxidant) nutrient that has potent anti-cancer activity. In animal studies, ellagic acid has slowed the growth of cancer cells and helped make them inactivate1.
Ellagic acid also shows up in research on beauty and aging, showing some promise for reducing wrinkles and skin damage caused by UV-B rays (that will make my mom happy)2. Can you imagine your esthetician advising you to eat more raspberries for your skin health? Best. Homework. Ever!
The power of plants continues to awe and amaze me.
While I love fresh raspberries more than anything, I just cannot keep up with the volume of raspberries coming in from my backyard (can I just say what an awesome problem that is to have?!). I'm not much of a baker and try to limit my sugar intake anyway, so this week I worked on a new smoothie recipe that combines a couple of my all-time favorite anti-cancer ingredients. For fun, I made it a little thicker than you can slurp through a straw.
Hope you like it!
Matcha Berry SmoothiE Bowl
I love me some dinner in a bowl.
One of my favorite memories from traveling in China was eating with a bowl of rice in one hand and chopsticks in the other, serving myself bite after bite of spicy green beans and crispy tofu. There may be fewer chopsticks in my weekly meal plan, but the principle of rice paired with a few flavorful dishes has persisted.
This recipe highlights my favorite things about summer eating: seasonal veggies and lots of herbs. Shop at the farmers market for the best ingredients.
*Soaking whole grains for 6-12 hours provides two nutritionally beneficial gifts:
1) It starts breaking down phytic acid, an anti-nutrient that has anti-cancer properties, but also binds to zinc and other minerals in our food, prohibiting their absorption in our digestive tract, and
2) It shortens the cooking time by almost 50%! That means you might be more likely to choose brown rice and other whole grains over their refined counterparts. To soak: Measure your rice into a large bowl or saucepan and cover with 1-inch of water. Cover and leave on your countertop for up to 12 hours. Longer soaking is fine, but you'll want to rinse and refresh your water after 12 hours and/or move the soaking mixture to your refrigerator.
**Soy is one of the most heavily engineered crops in the US, making buying organic soy products a priority.
I love food.
I love thinking about it, talking about it, writing about it. I love growing food, cooking and eating food. I use this space to try to convey that. Follow me on social media for more day-to-day inspiration on these topics.