The Importance of the Liver in Weight Loss Print
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
The liver is the major fat burning organ in the body and regulates fat metabolism by a complicated set of biochemical pathways. The liver can also pump excessive fat out of the body through the bile into the small intestines. If the diet is high in fiber this unwanted fat will be carried out of the body via the bowel actions. Thus the liver is a remarkable machine for keeping weight under control being both a fat burning organ and a fat pumping organ.

If the diet is low in fiber, some of the fats (especially cholesterol) and toxins will not be eliminated and will actually be recycled in the body back to the liver, which puts huge strain on the liver. The liver then becomes more of a fat storing organ that a fat burning organ.

A high fiber diet will reduce the recycling of fat and toxins from the gut back to the liver. This is vitally important for those with excessive weight, toxicity problems and high cholesterol. The inclusion of plenty of raw fruits and vegetables as well as ground-up raw seeds will increase both soluble and insoluble fiber in the gut, and reduce recirculation of unwanted fat and toxins. Some people find that rice or oat bran, and psyllium husks can boost fiber efficiently.

Ways to Support the Liver

The most important way to support the liver is to make sure your body is creating a good quality bile. Bile is synthesized and secreted by the liver and helps the liver break down fats. It is a detergent-like substance that literally breaks up and dissolves cholesterol and fats.

Bile cannot do its job, however, if it is lacking certain nutrients that make up the bile salts or if it is congested or thickened with chemicals, toxins, excess hormones, drugs, and/or heavy metals. So we need to eat foods that help us to create quality bile and that aid in thinning the bile out so that it can work effectively.

Some of the foods that can help us achieve this are:

Lemon water in the morning - Warm lemon water thins the bile and is also essential for optimal fat metabolism and helps regenerate the liver. It also promotes peristalsis, the movement in the bowels that keeps waste moving along the digestive tract and out of the body for elimination.

Eggs - One of the primary ingredients of bile is lecithin - a highly effective emulsifier with a detergent-like ability to break up fats. Eggs, particularly the yolks of eggs, contain lecithin.

Vitamin K Foods - Green leafy vegetables and alfalfa sprouts contain vitamin K and contain other nutrients benefical to liver function.

Arginine - Arginine is an amino acid that helps the liver to detoxify ammonia, which is a toxic waste product of protein metabolism. Arginine is found in legumes (beans, peas, and lentils), carob, oats, walnuts, wheatgerm and seeds.

Antioxidants - These are helpful nutrients that cleanse the liver. They are found in fresh raw juices such as carrot, celery, beet, dandelion, apple, pear and green drinks like wheatgrass and barley-grass juice, and fresh fruits, particularly citrus and kiwi fruit.

Selenium - Selenium is an antioxidant that is especially helpful to the liver. sources of the antioxidant selenium are brazil nuts, kelp, brown rice, molasses, seafood, wheatgerm, whole-grains, garlic and onions.

Methionine - Methionine is an amino acid that is essential for detoxification. It is found in legumes, eggs, fish, garlic, onions, seeds and meat.

Essential fatty acids - Essential fatty acids are necessary for helping the liver break down the other fats in the diet. Theses are found in seafood, cod liver oil, flax oil and fish oil. Seafood may be fresh, canned or frozen such as sardines, salmon, mackerel, tuna, trout, mullet, blue mussels, calamari, tailor, herring, blue eye cod, gemfish. Plant sources of essential fatty acids are fresh avocado, fresh raw nuts and seeds, legumes (beans, peas, lentils), wholegrains, wheatgerm, green vegetables such as spinach, green peas and green beans, eggplant, cold pressed fresh vegetable and seed oils, freshly ground seeds, especially flaxseeds, evening primrose oil, black-currant seed oil, and star flower oil. Essential fatty acids are required for healthy membranes in every cell of the body and plentiful amounts are required for healthy liver function. This is why strict low fat diets are not beneficial for general health, weight control or liver function.

Natural sulphur compounds and Cruciferous Vegetables - Sulphur compounds act like liver scrubbers and are found in eggs (preferably free range), garlic, onions, leeks, shallots and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.

Milk Thistle (also called St, Mary's Thistle) - Milk Thistle is an herb with remarkable detoxifying and liver protective effects. It is a very well-known liver herb, and has been used as a liver cleansing tea since the 1600's.

Foods to avoid
Caffeine and alcohol are both liver stressors and should be avoided or significantly reduced to enhance liver function and to speed up weight loss.