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Bess

No one enjoys being challenged in the area of excess do they!? I’m sorry to say I might be adding to the cacophony, however, do take your time to read on as it may explain some missing energy + vitality in your life.

The following are some honest facts about our internal powerhouse, the liver. And just before you roll your eyes at the healthy kid who probably has never overindulged in her life (incorrect judgement!), I’ve had liver inflammation/damage that has caused me to become a little bit serious about the following.

So here we go…

The Liver. What does it do?lemon-detox-diet

Your liver is one of your most important organs as it has a support role in each system inside you (digestion, hormone production, etc). It filters everything that we eat, drink and inhale and can convert all this energy into a storage form (glycogen) for later use. It’s a great system. And it can cope with a lot of what we throw at it. You definitely don’t need to subscribe to any special well-marketed detox magic diets, your liver can do all the detoxing that your body needs!

Makes sense that we should put useful things through the liver system as opposed to detrimental things yes? So how…

How we hurt it

The liver works pretty darn hard and is quite easy to clog. The stresses that we put into it don’t help, these even include environmental stresses such as pollutants + toxins. Another article for another day (and not by me!), but it is suggested that the toxic cigarettes that we still see around us might not just be affecting the lungs.

Psychological stress is a biggie, more and more research regarding stress impacts show direct relations between psychological stress + “hepatic disease” or, liver problems. In the brain’s ‘liver’ control area, stress can impair blood flow to the liver (not ideal) + subsequently the workload placed on the liver. Stress also produces cortisol + adrenaline and this causes the liver to release glucose into the bloodstream, spiking blood glucose levels. Basically, you are not fighting ninjas or running from prehistoric wildlife, you are likely sitting at your work desk with body systems working at 200%.

Another huge impactor on liver health is indeed, our favourite fermented friend, alcohol. The annoying truth is that it’s toxic for our body, so it gets sent straight to the detox room, the liver. The liver can cope with a small amount of alcohol. However, only a small amount at any given time. So if you drink more than the liver can deal with, drink too regularly or too quickly your liver cells struggle to process it. AND they put other jobs, such as detoxing + filtering EVERYTHING ELSE that enters your body, on the backburner.

Hmmmm.. Are you struggling with never-ending lethargy? Sluggish feelings? Hormonal mood swings? Weight gain? Tenderness near your stomach/chest? Plus alcohol is a diuretic, dehydrating us. It forces the liver to get water from elsewhere – generally another body system. Having headaches? Regular issues with constipation? I’m suggesting that if alcohol (alongside stress + caffeine excess) might be causing great pressure on one of your most important organs.

I haven’t even mentioned processed + high trans fats foods yet… I’ll leave you to mull over this information before overloading you with that!

How we heal it

Like most living things, being well looked after is the best way to heal + strengthen the liver. Your lovely liver is vital for your well-being.

Stressed? Maybe it’s time to decrease the coffee (an adrenaline promotor!) and get some herbal teas and fresh water through your body. Perhaps a new hobby in 2016? Perhaps it’s time to add some yoga, stretching, swimming, deep breathing + REST to your life. Mental + physical rest please my friends!

Maybe drinking too much? Moderate alcohol is essential for your liver health. I recommend less than 4 nights per week that have alcohol in them and no more than 4 standard drinks in one session. Maybe 2016 is the time to break some habits.

Liver Loving foods

The best way to look after this guy is to feed it properly, with real foods. Here’s some to get you started:
– Beets + green tea both have antioxidants + increase efficient liver function.
– Avocados have properties that help the filtering process in the liver.
– Lemons + grapefruit are awesome for vitamin C, a powerful vitamin in liver health. Grapefruit can also help to flush carcinogens from the liver system.
– Leafy greens, walnuts, garlic + turmeric are all foods with detoxing, cleansing + support roles in the function of your liver.

Take a moment to consider the health of your liver, keep it happy + healthy and you’ll find it does the same for you.

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Sarah

 

It feels like my brain is refusing to function at the moment.

  My yoga practice is a struggle, my gym progress is declining and just living day to day is a way bigger challenge than it should be. Studying is hard, planning for my business is harder; teaching yoga has been some what of a relief as I have to be completely present—however, during some classes I forget things and I’m left stumbling, trying to remember simple words like “back” or “thigh,” and don’t even get me started on the Sanskrit pose names… A few days ago, I decided it was time to get to the bottom of this—What’s going on? Am I losing my mind? So, I had a blood test and received a message from my doctor less than 24 hours later saying my iron levels were the lowest they’ve ever been. Wow, what have I done to myself? How did I let it get this bad? Could this just be because I’m female? Because I’m vegetarian? Does my body just suck at absorbing iron? I don’t know, but it’s been a huge wake up call. I look back at my diet over these past couple of months and realize that I haven’t been eating properly; I haven’t been taking note of where my iron is coming from in my diet. If you’re feeling exhausted all the time for no real reason and/or never refreshed even though you’re sleeping normally, iron deficiency might be something to consider. It might be a good idea to go get it checked out. Iron is an essential mineral as it carries oxygen throughout your body. If you don’t have sufficient iron, your body cannot produce enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Without enough healthy oxygen circulating in our bodies, we become fatigued easily. This can affect our memory, which explains why I keep forgetting words while teaching and why I feel overwhelmed when trying to remember things—usually, my brain is excellent at remembering dates, times and my never-ending to-do list. It can also affect our immune systems, meaning our bodies are unable to effectively fight off infections, so when winter comes, we’re prone to catching everything that’s going around. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Iron deficiency is the leading nutrition disorder in the world. Over 2 billion people worldwide are anaemic, a condition commonly caused by iron deficiency. “Iron deficiency and anaemia reduce the work capacity of individuals and entire populations, bringing serious economic consequences and obstacles to national development.” (WHO Report) Women in particular are notorious for having low iron, and it only gets worse during menstruation. Then, add in vegetarianism or veganism and bam! If you’re not watching your diet closely and making sure you’re getting the right nutrients, you could easily fall off the healthy-iron-level bandwagon—and it’s really not that fun down here. Yesterday, I received an IV dose of iron to give me a good boost, but I hope this will be a one off thing. I would hate to rely on drugs to give me a nutrient that is so commonly found in food. It’s also a very expensive option, and it resulted in me feeling quite nauseous and spiked my blood pressure for a while. The best option? Take control of the situation yourself! People have been asking why I don’t just eat meat a couple of times a week, but I know that meat isn’t right for my body; I have known this since I was a little kid. Red meat in particular negatively affects my digestion and causes a lot of pain, which is why I stopped eating it three and a half years ago. Since I stopped eating meat, my iron hasn’t been drastically low; in fact, for a while, it was higher than what it had been when I did eat meat. If you think your iron may be a little on the low side, I strongly advise you to get on top of it now. Try adding some of these foods into your diet: 1. Spinach 2. Lentils 3. Dried fruit: apricots, peaches, raisins etc. 4. Collard greens 5. Soy beans 6. Pumpkin seeds 7. Black beans 8. Kale 9. Broccoli 10. Strawberries Even if you are eating plenty of iron, your body may not be absorbing it, so make sure you eat plenty of vitamin C to help the absorption process. Try these foods: 1. Citrus fruits 2. Berries 3. Mangoes 4. Kiwifruit 5. Papayas I really encourage taking a close look at what you’re putting in your mouth, check that everything is filled with healthy vitamins and minerals so you’re getting the very best out of every meal. Don’t wait until you’re feeling exhausted, forgetful and sick before you make the change!   First published here at elephantjournal.com
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