Located under the rib cage on the right side of the abdomen, your liver plays several important roles in the function of the body. The liver aids in digestion and metabolism and acts as a filter system for the blood, breaking down harmful substances into waste that is expelled from the body through urine and stool.

Liver dysfunction may cause the following symptoms:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • Pain and swelling in the abdomen
  • Swelling of the legs or ankles
  • Changes in color of stool and urine
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Easy bruising
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

While liver disease can be genetic, other factors like viral infections, age, obesity, or excessive alcohol use may also cause liver damage or dysfunction. If left untreated, this damage can be fatal.

The liver is the only organ in the body with the ability to regenerate new cells and repair damaged ones. Repairing liver damage can be challenging; however, it is possible through diet and lifestyle changes. These include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Eating a nutritious and balanced diet
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Avoiding harmful additives and chemicals
  • Avoiding excessive or continued alcohol or illegal drug use (damage from alcohol abuse can cause irreversible cirrhosis of the liver)

In addition to lifestyle changes, nutrition can have an impact on liver health. Many beverages, such as water, tea, and grapefruit juice, are beneficial for your overall health and can aid in improving liver function.

Water

Water is the best way to recharge the liver. In addition to causing several physical symptoms, dehydration can greatly affect liver function, especially the ability to detoxify blood. On average, people should drink 8-10 glasses of water a day; some people with health conditions may need to increase their water intake beyond the recommended amount.

Teas

There are a few natural teas that may assist in liver function. Several popular and possibly beneficial teas for liver health include:

  • Lemon Ginger Tea – reduces the risk of liver disease
  • Peppermint Tea – improves digestion and detoxifying functions of the liver
  • Green Tea – reduces the accumulation of lipids in the liver and contains antioxidants

Research the health effects and benefits of specific teas to ensure safe recommended use or discuss it with your health care provider.

Grapefruit Juice

Grapefruit juice contains specific antioxidants that stimulate the liver and help filter and excrete toxins from the body. Grapefruit also contains flavonoids naringin and naringenin, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may help protect the liver. However, it is recommended to not consume more than six ounces of grapefruit juice per day. Grapefruit juice also interacts with many prescription medications, so please check with your doctor or pharmacist and read your medication warning labels before adding it to your diet.

Turmeric Water

Turmeric is a commonly used supplement that may decrease inflammation and assist with liver repair, due to its ability to help flush out harmful toxins while decreasing fat buildup in the liver. For safe use, medical studies recommend mixing 1-3 grams of dried turmeric root in hot water each day for up to three months.

Lemon Water

Many citrus fruits, including lemon, can be added to water to help stimulate and flush out the liver. To help improve liver function, enjoy 4-6 tablespoons of lemon juice mixed with water each day.

Ginger Water

Ginger helps protect your liver from toxins and reduces inflammation in the body. It may also boost immunity and improve digestive health. The recommended consumption is less than 4 grams of ginger per day, mixed with warm or cold water.

As with any change in nutritional intake or supplement use, please use caution. Some people may experience unwanted results or side effects, and some herbs and foods may interact with certain medications. Also, the information presented above is based on adult studies and should not be used for children, specifically children under two years of age. Research any supplements and consult a health care professional before making abrupt changes to your diet or lifestyle.

For more information on ways to naturally detox your body read our article on 9 Foods to Naturally Detox or visit your local Patient First to chat with a physician.

We are here when you need us! Patient First is able to evaluate and treat a wide range of illnesses and injuries. You can visit any Patient First  center  from 8am to 10pm, every day of the year – no appointment is needed.


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