There are more than 100 types of different kinds of liver diseases and fatty liver disease is by far the most common.
On its own, fatty liver disease can be dangerous but left untreated, it can progress into cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), which can be deadly.
Liver disease can be caused by a range of factors, many of which are lifestyle-related. These factors include a poor diet, drinking too much alcohol, drug use, obesity, infections, as well as exposure to environmental pollutants.
Understanding Your Liver
Before you can recognise the signs of liver disease, you should understand how your liver works. Not only will this knowledge give you a deeper respect for this hard-working organ, but it can help you better pick up on the cues that there may be something wrong.
Your liver is actually your largest internal organ (it’s roughly the size of a football) and it's responsible for crucial functions like digesting your food, storing energy, as well as removing toxins from your body.
Many ancient populations considered the liver to be the most important organ— hence the word “live” in its name.
The liver works tirelessly to detoxify our blood, produce the bile(anions) needed to digest fat, break down hormones, and to store essential vitamins and minerals, like iron.
If you haven’t been eating a vegetable-based diet, regularly getting exercise, and making sure to limit your alcohol and toxin exposure, you might be in need of a liver cleanse.
Learn more: Essential Plant-Based Foods for Balanced Nutrition.
The Liver's Process
It’s the liver’s responsibility to process nutrients absorbed by the intestines so they’re more efficiently absorbed.
The liver also regulates blood composition to balance protein, fat and, sugar.
Finally, it removes toxins from the blood and breaks down both alcohol--especially hard alcohol--and toxic medications.
Today, we’re faced with many environmental toxins occurring in our homes, places of work and in our food supply, so it’s essential for our general health and well-being to keep our livers functioning properly.
Sobering Liver Disease Stats
Liver disease is a serious problem that affects millions of people in the United States each year alone.
One out of every 10 Americans is affected by liver disease, making it one of the top 10 causes of death in the United States yearly.
How to Spot the Signs of Fatty Liver Disease
If the fat in your liver makes up 5–10 percent of the organ’s weight, then you are diagnosed with fatty liver disease.
There are often no symptoms of fatty liver disease, so you may live with the condition and not realise it. Over time—sometimes it can take years or even decades—some signs and symptoms may begin to surface.
These signs of fatty liver disease include:
* weight loss
* loss of appetite
* trouble concentrating
* pain in the centre or right upper part of the belly
* enlarged liver
* bloating and gas
* dark urine
* bruising easily
* excessive sweat
* pale or dark tar-colored stool
* dry and dark patches on the neck and underarms; swelling in legs and ankles
Fatty liver disease can eventually progress to cirrhosis if no steps are taken to improve the disease and behaviours worsen.
Cirrhosis refers to the irreparable scarring of the liver. Aside from a liver transplant, there's nothing that can be done to fix cirrhosis and the disease can be fatal.
Symptoms of cirrhosis include:
* the buildup of fluid in the body
* muscle weakness
* internal bleeding
* yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
* liver failure
How to Heal Your Liver, Naturally
If you have cirrhosis, nothing can heal your liver, but a clean diet rich in vegetables can stop the damage from getting any worse.
If you have fatty liver disease, you can completely undo the damage in as little as a few weeks with a healthy, clean diet rich in vegetables and fruits.
But especially vegetables.
An easy way to increase your vegetable intake is by juicing vegetables. With impaired liver function, juicing vegetables has the added benefit of making the vegetables easier to digest and more readily available for absorption.
Vegetables that are ideal for a liver detox include kale, cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, beets, and celery.
You can try something like beetroot juice with carrots, apples and lemon juice added to start. Lemons are particularly beneficial for cleansing your system.
Learn more: 9 Incredible Health & Healing Benefits of the Lemon.
Lemons also have anions, which the liver makes in the form of bile.
If you want the benefits of juicing but don’t want to have to do the juicing yourself--or if you want a great juicing option to take on the road--grab our Raw Juice Powder. With more bio-active ingredients, you can enjoy complete nutrient vitality and delicious, fresh taste--just as if you’d juiced it yourself.
Best Foods for Liver Health and Healing
As often as you can, include these liver-loving veggies in your meals and juices:
* leafy greens like kale, spinach, dandelion, watercress
* Brussels sprouts or cabbage
* herbs including parsley, mint, cilantro, basil
Let's take a closer look at a few more foods for liver health.
High fiber foods help support a healthy digestive tract, speeding up the elimination of toxins in the body. For example, ginger root benefits the digestive system. Make ginger tea by boiling ginger slices in green tea or water.
You can also add ginger to a salad or smoothie.
Because of their potassium content, they help cleanse the liver. One sweet potato contains nearly 700 milligrams of potassium! It’s also rich with vitamins B6, C, D, magnesium, and iron.
Sweet potatoes are easy to eat because they’re naturally sweet. The sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream through the liver, so it won’t cause a spike in blood sugar they are natures healthy sugars like all fruits have.
Containing 470 milligrams of potassium, bananas are also great for cleansing the liver and overcoming low potassium levels. Plus, bananas assist in digestion and help release toxins and heavy metals from the body.
The vitamins and nutrients present in dandelions help cleanse our livers and keep them working properly.
Dandelions also aid our digestive system by maintaining the proper flow of bile. They’re natural diuretics and allow the liver to eliminate toxins quickly.
Dandelion tea and stems are high in vitamin C, which helps with mineral absorption, reduces inflammation and prevents the development of the disease.
As a liver support and aid, milk thistle is a powerful detoxifier. It helps rebuild liver cells while removing toxins from the body that are processed through the liver.
According to a study published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences, milk thistle has the power to improve mortality in patients with liver failure just like lemons do.
Milk thistle is able to naturally reverse the harmful effects of hard alcohol consumption; pesticides in our food supply; heavy metals in our water supply; pollution in the air that we breathe; and even poisons.
According to a 2010 study, milk thistle benefits help treat alcoholic liver disease, acute and chronic viral hepatitis, and toxin-induced liver diseases.
So now that you can recognise the importance of your liver, as well as the signs of fatty liver disease, be sure to take this advice to heart. The well-being of your entire body depends on it.
Kickstart your liver detox with a favourite juice for liver detoxification. It’s packed with loads of antioxidants and liver healing properties. Enjoy it every day, in a fasted state for best results.
Liver Detox Recipe
Total Time: 5 minutes
* 1 beet (medium size)
* 6 celery stalks
* 1 cup fresh cilantro
* 1/2-1 full lemon
* 1 knob ginger
Add all ingredients to vegetable juicer. Gently stir juice and consume immediately.
Learn more: Fruit & Vegetable Juicing: What You Should Know.
Tolman Self Care.