We usually think of our liver in relation to alcohol, but in reality its relationship to our health is much more complex. The liver is a living organ that processes and filters almost everything that goes into our bodies.

Every day we are bombarded with toxins that have the potential to damage our body. These toxins are everywhere — in the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, household cleaners, cosmetics — they’re even produced in our own bodies by bacteria, yeast, and hormones.

Because toxins are impossible to avoid, our bodies are intelligently built to continually detoxify. While there are a few body systems that have a part in this detoxifi cation, the liver plays the starring role. It works hard to filter out these toxins by regularly cleaning our blood, producing bile, and effectively neutralizing and eliminating almost anything that might do harm.

The problem occurs when your liver becomes overloaded and it can no longer effectively detoxify. Toxins begin to accumulate, triggering headaches, acne breakouts, weight gain, fatigue, infl ammatory disorders, and psoriasis. This toxic overload can also render you more sensitive and susceptible to other chemicals and bacteria because your liver can no longer handle them.

Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to keep your liver healthy and strong. With the right support, not only can you help enhance your liver’s detoxifi cation efforts, but you can also help it repair itself.

1. Water (with lemon in it)

Drinking water and caffeine-free herbal teas flushes toxins out of your body through urine and regular bowel movements. Adding lemon to your water, especially first thing in the morning, can help promote the liver’s detoxification processes. Freshly squeezed lemon juice provides a boost of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that can help neutralize toxins.

2. Bitter greens

Dandelion leaves, parsley, endive, alfalfa, and rapini all stimulate the liver’s bile production. Bile aids the body in eliminating toxic substances by carrying them to the intestines where they are excreted.

3. Fibre

Fibre is needed to bind to toxins in the gut and eliminate them from your system. Without enough fi bre, toxic substances can be reabsorbed and re-circulated through your body. Increase your fibre intake with flax seed, chia seeds, quinoa, amaranth, apples (with the peel), and a diet rich in whole grains.

4. Garlic and onions

Not only are these foods rich in flavour, they also are high in sulphur. Sulphur contains compounds that power the process of sulfation, which makes it easier for toxic substances to be eliminated.

5. Milk Thistle

Silymarin, a group of flavonoid compounds in milk thistle, helps to protect the liver from damage and enhance its detoxification processes.

When it comes to liver care, a good strategy is one that is balanced and on-going. By including these five simple things in your life, you can make a big difference for your liver and overall health.