Imagine for a moment that your liver is an island beneath the sea. Stay with me here… On the island live workers (your liver cells) whose job it is to recycle everything in the sea (your bloodstream).
That’s a big job.
If one of the workers gets overtired, the island will create another worker to keep things running optimally. However the island can produce only so many workers. When the number of workers starts to decrease or the workload starts to increase, the island prioritises to cope with the load. The most important items are recycled first, and the remainder gets sent back out to sea (the blood stream), where it floats around until the island can process it. Or it gets sent to the water’s surface (your skin) where it sits on top. The surface of the water, just like your skin, will reflect what is going on underneath.
Increasing liver function is key when treating skin conditions and for maintaining healthy, glowing skin. Giving your liver the help it needs to maintain clear skin can start with some very simple changes.
1. Avoid the foods that pack the heaviest load. Alcohol, caffeine, trans-fats, refined sugar, synthetic substances (medications, pesticides, topical skin creams, lotions, washes etc.).
Tip: Try having a break from alcohol and notice the effects on both your energy levels and your skin.
2. Keep things clean and green. Amp up whole foods, green smoothies and juices. Include plenty of wholegrains, dark green leafy vegetables – think broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts and even cabbage and cauliflower.
3. If you’ve suffered an infections or viruses (e.g. glandular fever), a few too many big nights out, or a caffeine habit your liver will be working overtime. Milk thistle, globe artichoke and schisandra are all fantastic herbs which support liver function. The quality of these herbs is important, so be sure to consult a naturopath or herbalist, especially if on existing medication.
Tip: Switch up that second cup of coffee with herbal tea containing the above herbs or green tea for its antioxidant properties. Rooibos is a great caffeine-free option.
4. It goes without saying that the fundamentals of health are ample sleep, hydration, nutritious food, exercise, correct breathing (yoga is an excellent way to learn diaphragmatic breathing) and a peaceful mind. Over time the choices you make day-to-day have a large impact on the health of your liver and skin.
Tip: When you wake up in the morning, rehydrate by drinking a glass of warm water with lemon or diluted with a capful of apple cider vinegar with ‘the mother’. Brush your teeth afterwards to help protect tooth enamel.
Detoxification happens daily, making choices each day that support this process (or hinder it) will affect the health of your skin. By following some of the tips above, you can help your liver do its job properly, leaving you fresh faced and radiant.
Written by Danielle Ramaekers, Naturopath and Yoga Teacher