Your liver plays a major role in weight loss. The liver is a chief organ in the body for metabolism functions. Keeping our liver at optimal health should be a main focus of your weight loss plan. I write a chapter in my book, Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism, called Tired Toxic Liver...this is my mom's favorite sub-chapter because it all makes sense!
The liver makes and secretes bile for storage in the gallbladder. During digestion, the bile is moved to the intestine to break down fats. But, if the liver is congested, it doesn’t produce enough bile for fat to be broken down. The liver can become congested from chemicals, toxins, drugs and heavy metals. Evidence of a "fatty liver" is often shown by a roll of fat at the waistline, which happens because the liver has stopped breaking down fat and started storing it. Only once you bring your liver back to full function, will you lose this fat. This is why I list specific ingredients like "aluminum free baking powder." All of these steps help the body in little, yet important ways.
Like every American, you're probably totally puzzled on which is the right weight loss plan. You've been flooded with emails of new miracle diets, and wondering if there are any health risks associated with them. Before choosing a weight loss programs, you need to discover if your liver could be to blame for your issues. When the liver is overloaded and toxic, every organ in a person's body is affected and weight loss efforts are stalled. Some signs of a toxic liver are weight gain, cellulite, abdominal bloating, indigestion, fatigue, mood swings, depression, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and skin rashes. Many people struggle with weight gain and a sluggish metabolism most of their lives, and go through lots of yo-yo dieting unsuccessfully. “So why doesn’t anything really work?” we may ask. We have been tackling the symptom when we should be addressing the cause; weight gain is often due to poor liver function.
The liver performs more than 400 different jobs, and is the body's most important metabolism-enhancing organ; it acts as a filter to clear the body of toxins, metabolize protein, control hormonal balance and enhance our immune system. Your liver is a “worker bee” that can even regenerate its own damaged cells! But our liver is not invincible. When it is abused and lacks essential nutrients, or when it is overwhelmed by toxins, it no longer performs as it should. Fat may build up in the liver and just under the skin, hormone imbalances can develop, and toxins increase and get into the blood stream.
The liver metabolizes not only fats, but proteins and carbohydrates for fuel. It breaks down amino acids from proteins into various pieces to help build muscle; which directly impacts your calorie burn. It also transports amino acids through the blood stream for hormone balance; which is critical to avoid water retention, bloating, cravings, as well other undesired weight issues. Amino acids also help move waste, such as damaged cholesterol, and used estrogen and insulin to the liver, for detoxification and elimination through the kidney.
The liver's most important function, and the one that puts it at greatest risk for damages, is to detoxify the numerous toxins that attack our bodies daily. Working together with the lungs, kidneys, skin and intestines, a healthy liver detoxifies many damaging substances and eliminates them without polluting the bloodstream. When we cleanse the liver and eat the right foods, liver metabolism will improve and we start burning fat. As liver function improves, so does energy. With more energy, fitness improves, because we have the ability to exercise more and improve our muscle tone.
The following are the most common symptoms of a toxic liver; being edgy, easily stressed, elevated cholesterol, skin irritation, depression, sleep difficulties, indigestion, kidney damage, heart damage, brain fog, hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue, weight gain, poor memory, PMS, blood sugar imbalances, allergies, or obesity. The liver also plays a role in migraines. If this vital organ is overloaded with toxic substances, it can cause inflammation that triggers migraine pain. If you have tried many ways to improve your health and energy level and nothing seemed to help, it is possible that your tired liver is triggering your difficulties. Restoring liver function is one of the most essential actions you could ever do for your health. When the liver gets congested it will remain that way and get worse until it gets cleaned and revitalized.
Some AMAZING liver cleaners included in this recipe are:
1. GARLIC: Garlic contains compounds that have sulfur which activate the liver enzymes responsible for flushing out toxins from the body. It also contains allicin and selenium, two powerful nutrients proven to help protect the liver from toxic damage, and aid it in detoxing the liver.
2. CITRUS: Lemon and lime are rich in natural vitamin C and antioxidants, two powerful liver cleansers. Like garlic, citrus contains compounds that boost the production of liver detoxification enzymes. It also contains a flavonoid compound known as naringenin that causes the liver to burn fat rather than store it.
3. TURMERIC: Turmeric, one of the most powerful foods for maintaining a healthy liver, it actively protects the liver against toxic damage, and even regenerate damaged liver cells. Turmeric boosts the natural production of bile, shrinks engorged hepatic ducts, and improves overall function of the gallbladder, another body-purifying organ.
If you want more ideas on food to eat for your liver, see the chapter TIRED TOXIC LIVER in my Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism Book. Some things that cleanse the liver are lemon, garlic, herbs and healthy oils. So here is a tasty liver-cleansing recipe.
"HEALTHIFIED" PROSCIUTTO and ZUCCHINI SALAD
1/4 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
1/4 cup chopped mint
2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 tsp finely grated lemon or lime zest
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1/2 tsp Celtic Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 medium zucchini, very thinly sliced lengthwise on a mandoline
6 oz thinly sliced prosciutto
Preheat grill. In a bowl, combine the citrus juice with the mint, garlic, lemon/lime zest, turmeric and the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Thread the zucchini and prosciutto onto 12-inch bamboo skewers. Lightly brush the zucchini and prosciutto with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the skewers over high heat until the zucchini and yellow squash are lightly charred, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Serve with the mint dip on the side. Makes 4 servings.
NUTRITION INFORMATION (per serving):
"Healthified" Salad = 221 calories, 16g fat, 11.7g protein, 9.5g carbs, 3g fiber (6.5 effective carbs)