Most people don't think about liver health in terms of weight loss, but the liver is responsible for helping metabolize fat. It produces bile, which breaks down fat while also working like a filter to clean toxins out of our blood, helping us feel energized. Optimizing your liver health can help you lose weight and meet your athletic goals.
Most people struggle with overburdened livers due to a toxic diet and lifestyle. This means their bodies are ineffective at digestion and fat breakdown, resulting in weight gain, feeling heavy, bloated, and sluggish. The liver's role is therefore crucial for efficient circulation, metabolism, and fat breakdown. There is no other organ like it.
Here are five ways you can improve your liver health for weight loss support:
1. Reduce or eliminate processed foods.
Pick up anything that comes in a box – frozen meals, pizzas, microwave dinners, mac and cheese – and look at the ingredients. Most of the things you can't pronounce are toxins that must be filtered out by your liver. The more foreign substances you ingest, more your liver health is compromised.
Our liver was biologically designed to filter naturally occurring metabolic byproducts out of our blood, not all the chemicals and preservatives we are now eating through processed foods. These chemicals significantly reduce liver health and cause it to be ineffective at its other functions.
TIP: When grocery shopping, try walking the perimeter of the store first instead of weaving through the aisles. All of the fresh foods are usually located on the perimeter, while the processed foods fill up the aisles.
2. Monitor meat and dairy intake.
The digestion of meat and dairy are taxing on the liver when overconsumed. Eat them in smaller quantities to avoid overwhelming this important organ. Because the liver works like a filter, it can become clogged when we eat too much, too fast. The digestion of meat and dairy in particular produce byproducts that the liver must filter and eliminate from our bodies. If we are eating poor quality meats, or dairy from animals that have been fed antibiotics or hormones, the liver must also filter those foreign chemicals out of our bodies. If it is ineffective and cannot keep up, we may become sick and gain weight.
TIP: Try replacing cow's milk with almond milk and choose grassfed products. Instead of meat, use legumes like black beans or chickpeas as well as root vegetables like carrots and beets. Mushrooms are a great meat substitute since they can have a similar consistency and they're both flavorful and filling. Instead of eating meals where meat is the main dish, make soups or stews or chili. With these dishes it is easy to cut back on some meat and throw in more vegetables instead.