The liver plays a crucial role in hormone balance. A liver that is functioning well, will both manufacture and metabolize hormones. It is the ultimate detoxifier, filtering everything we put into our bodies from food, liquids, alcohol to even what we breathe in and absorb in our skin.
The liver breaks down excess hormones such as estrogen (preventing estrogen dominance) as well as testosterone, (preventing high levels that contribute to issues like PCOS). It does this by creating bile, to break down fats and fat soluble toxins. It also helps convert nutrients from carbohydrates, fats, and protein into energy and the building blocks of hormones.
It’s also responsible for storing excess sugars such as glycogen, an energy reserve. When blood sugar levels fall between meals, the liver will release glycogen to help balance energy. If these glycogen reserves are full, than excess sugar will be stored as fat in the adipose tissue.
Signs of a Sluggish Liver:
- Gastrointestinal issues: indigestion, flatulence, bloating
- Blood Sugar Imbalances (from not being able to break down fatty foods)
- Hormonal Issues: such as excess estrogen leading to menstrual cramps, fibroids, endometriosis, uterine cysts, severity of moonpause (menopause) symptoms, and PCOS
- Improper conversion of carbohydrates, fats, and protein into energy and nutrients leading to nutrient deficiency
- Skin issues such as cystic acne, blemishes, psoriasis and eczema
- Inability to lose weight
- Eye diseases
- Emotional stagnancy, such as anger, as in Traditional Chinese Medicine, a well functioning liver is both filtrating physical substances that enter our body as well as energetic Qi flow, that allows the proper release and flow of emotions
What Causes a Sluggish Liver?
- Exposure to chemicals from pesticides, air toxins, heavy metals, pollutants, and pharmaceuticals
- Xenoestrogens: chemical compounds that mimic estrogen in the body, making the body think it has more estrogen. It comes from ingesting plastics in beauty products, food and water containers, etc. The skin absorbs it from beauty products that have ingredients like phthalates and fragrance, as well as from drinking from plastic water bottles and storing food in plastic containers
- Heavy alcohol and drug use
- A diet heavy in sugars and fats
Often, my clients will ask for recipes that specifically support the liver. My “Summer Beet Salad for Liver Support” contains the nutrients and antioxidants to keep your filtration system working strong.
The liver loves a diet high in dark leafy greens, food high antioxidants such as vitamin E, vitamin C and, glutathione, as well as cruciferous vegetables and lemon in water.
One of my favorite ingredients, red beet, is something I encourage clients to add into their diet regularly. Whether juiced, shredded, boiled, or steamed, red beets contain an antioxidant called betaine that helps the liver dispel toxins, as well as betalains which give beets their bright redish pink color and helps reduce inflammation to assist further in the detoxification process. They also contain pectin, the fiber that helps eliminate toxins from the body once the liver has filtered (this is why beets can increase bowel movements). In addition, beets are high in Folate (B9), which is incredibly important for healthy pregnancy, and also for the conversion of the amino acid homocysteine into methionine (important for healthy skin, hair and nails).
The berries in this salad include additional antioxidants to negate the harmful free radical byproducts produced during the metabolism process, that can damage cellular membranes.
I love topping this salad with quinoa, as it is a complete protein which adds additional amino acids for blood sugar balance. It is important to properly cook quinoa, and all grains by soaking and rinsing (you can find my step-by-step method in the cooking directions below). This method is vital for increasing digestion and nutrient absorption and reducing inflammation and bloating.
In addition, for more protein, I sprinkle with beautiful green pistachios, a nut that is high in B6, which is a vitamin that helps build progesterone levels. Whenever there is excess estrogen, there is usually a lower amount of progesterone, as excess estrogen will fill cell receptor sites preventing progesterone from being utilize. Estrogen dominance is defined as: the ratio of estrogen is too high in relation to progesterone.
It is my greatest joy to share these recipes from my kitchen to yours! Blessings and radiant hormone health to you!
Allie, Modern Goddess Lifestyle