Applied Health JournalTopics of Health and Natural Healing
This is the third part of a series on the never-ending quest for the lasting solution to weight loss. In this month's edition, I will discuss how a properly functioning liver and colon affect weight loss.
Although, the topic of liver and colon cleansing may not be the most pleasant, they are critical to your overall health, prevention of disease and weight loss process.
The Liver and How It Effects Weight Loss
In order to restore good health and expedite the weight loss process, it is important to consider the liver and colon. These organs serve a very important purpose in our bodies. In fact, the liver has been called the supreme organ of metabolism - the major fat burning organ of the body.
As we age, many people struggle with excess weight and sluggish metabolisms. Along with the aging process, we often see large protruding abdomens and stubborn fat deposits. When proper foods are eaten, the liver and colon can focus on regulating food digestion, metabolism, burning fat, and proper elimination.
A healthy liver keeps the body clean, protects the immune system from an overload of toxins, and is fundamental to efficient metabolism and weight control. The liver is the largest organ in the body and is located on the right side of the upper abdomen. It is an extremely hard-working organ. A large amount of blood flows through the liver. It is the only organ that has two separate sources of blood supply. Because of this, a healthy liver creates a large amount of heat, increasing the body temperature.
The liver produces a yellow-green substance called bile, which is necessary to break down and absorb fats from the small intestines. Cholesterol itself is found in bile, as a byproduct of bile-salt metabolism.
Unhealthy amounts of cholesterol are due to excessive saturated fats in the diet. People who have high fat diets have elevated amounts of cholesterol in their bile and have a tendency to develop gallstones. Although the body makes cholesterol, an excess occurs when the body can not break it all down.
The liver is a "fat" pump, and is the only way cholesterol can be removed from the body. In essence, a healthy liver will pump cholesterol (from the bile) out into the intestines. However, if dietary fiber is not present in our diet, over 90 percent of cholesterol and bile acids are reabsorbed from the bowel and sent back to the liver. This is not good for your internal environment and may cause high cholesterol for those with a low fiber diet. Reasonable amounts of cholesterol are vital for human metabolism. Only excessive "bad" cholesterol causes problems.
The liver performs many metabolic and regulatory functions. The liver regulates carbohydrate metabolism, by turning glucose into glycogen for storage. It stores this glycogen as well as vitamin A, vitamin D, many of the B-complex vitamins (including vitamin B12), iron, and copper.
Often, the liver does not function at its optimum level. Some symptoms of poor liver function can be:
- abdominal bloating, weight gain, fluid retention
- general digestive problems or nausea (especially after eating fatty foods)
- constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, gallstones
- mood swings, depression, loss of memory and concentration
- allergies such as hay fever, hives, skin rashes, asthma
- headaches, high blood pressure, unstable blood sugar
- immune system disorders
- chronic fatigue syndrome
So what causes a toxic, sluggish liver?
- improper diets which are lacking low-fat, quality protein (preferably you should eat vegetable proteins)
- diets high in simple carbohydrates, such as white flour and sugar
- processed, chemical laden foods, fried foods, and diets high in saturated fats
- caffeine, alcohol, drugs and preservatives
- pesticides, toxic chemicals, air pollution
- overeating - overworks the liver so it cannot properly perform its detoxification role
Not only does cleansing the liver detoxify the body, but it will also:
- promote fat digestion and encourage weight loss
- restore energy, encourage clearer thinking
- stimulate the immune system and proper elimination
- lower cholesterol level
- improve skin condition
Obviously, it is vitally important to keep the liver functioning properly. Next is a list of the dietary principals that will aid and improve the liver's function.
- Drink at least 8-12 glasses of filtered water daily. This helps cleanse the liver, kidneys, and aids in weight loss.
- Avoid large amounts of sugar, because the liver converts this to fat, such as triglycerides and cholesterol. This can build up inside our cells causing degeneration of the organs, or will be transported to areas, such as the thighs, abdomen, and buttocks.
- Avoid foods that cause allergies. These foods put an additional workload on the liver. Allergic symptoms may include gas, fatigue, headaches, stomachache and bloating.
The most common foods that cause intestinal irritation and irritable bowel syndrome are wheat and dairy products (milk, butter, cheese, ice cream, chocolate).
Excessive amounts of coffee are toxic to the liver. When cleansing the liver, restrict coffee intake all together or limit yourself to one cup per day. If you use decaffeinated coffee, make sure that you avoid brands in which chemicals are used to remove the caffeine.
- Be aware of eating foods that contain unfriendly organisms or dangerous bacteria. These infectious agents may invade our blood stream and make us not only seriously ill, but damage the liver.
Try to eat foods that are fresh and avoid reheated food, because bacteria breeds in stored cooked foods, especially meats. Never reheat foods more than once. Better yet, avoid leftovers all together.
Often packaged and processed foods found on supermarket shelves are kept "consumable" only because they are filled with preservatives. Yet, they still contain unfriendly organisms in a dormant state. When these processed and preserved foods reach the intestines, the preservatives are broken down, and the organisms begin to grow. It is best to avoid all preserved meats, because of the bacterial content and the stress placed on the liver.
Dr. Sandra Cabot states, "We have seen cases of severe food poisoning from the consumption of preserved delicatessen meats such as fritz, cabonosi, ham, smoked meats, sausage, frankfurters, corned beef, bacon and pizza meats. In some instances, these infections can be fatal."(Cabot; The Liver Cleansing Diet)
- Avoid eating when stressed or anxious. During these times, the blood flow is diverted away from the intestines and liver to other areas of the body. Abdominal bloating and poor digestion result from eating when stressed.
- If available, eat organically grown fresh produce, free of pesticides. When purchasing meat, ask the butcher if hormone and antibiotic-free products are available. Always buy free-range eggs and chickens. These products contain less hormones, pesticides, and saturated fats. Many large supermarkets now include health food sections that contain products that are natural, organic and do not contain preservatives.
- When possible, obtain protein from vegetable sources rather than animal products such as meat, eggs, and cheese. You can obtain quality protein by combining grains, nuts, legumes, cereals and seeds during the day. Grains such as barley, oats, millet, buckwheat, spelt, kamut, quinoa, amaranth, rye, and rice are not only healthy, but contain a good amount of protein.
Legumes such as lima beans, kidney beans, soy beans, peas, chickpeas, butter beans, and adzuki beans provide valuable protein, essential fatty acids, fiber, plant hormones, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins.
Seeds are an excellent source of protein, essential fatty acids and fiber. The best seeds are sunflower, linseeds, sesame and pumpkin seeds. Nuts are rich in unsaturated oils and should be eaten fresh. If they have been shelled for a long time, or exposed to air, this will cause their oils to become rancid and no longer beneficial.
- Eat good quality breads. Seven to ten grain breads contain fiber, minerals and B vitamins. Avoid white processed breads, which contain hydrogenated vegetable oils and artificial chemicals that overwork the liver.
Yeast, rapid fermentation processes and "improvers" found in mass-produced breads, can cause bloating and irritable bowel syndrome. Supermarket "brown" breads may be just the same as white breads colored with artificial caramel.
Replace butter, especially margarine, with spreads such as fresh avocado, hummus or tahini, which contain natural essential fatty acids.
- Avoid constipation. Drink water throughout the day. Consume 35-45 grams of fiber per day by eating raw fruits/vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Try to avoid dairy products, because they can cause constipation.
- Avoid heavy alcohol consumption.
- Avoid excessive saturated or damaged fats. The wrong type of fats (saturated, hydrogenated) can place heavy burdens upon the liver. If the liver is choked with damaged fats, it will be unable to perform its metabolic functions, and the metabolism will slow down.
Often, people interested in losing weight try to eat a fat-free diet, thinking this will speed up weight loss. However, this can cause essential fatty acid (EFA) deficiency. By excluding EFA's, your liver function and metabolism will slow down - leading to weight gain!
Symptoms of EFA deficiency are dry and itchy skin, hair loss, joint pains, depression, increased rate of miscarriage, poor memory, slow metabolic rate, weight gain, reduced immune function, hormonal imbalances, liver degenerative diseases, increased rate of aging, and high triglycerides.
A healthy liver manufactures a specialized coating for fats and cholesterol called lipoprotein, which enables fat to travel around the blood stream. If the liver cannot do this effectively, fat deposits cause a "fatty liver". Once this occurs, it becomes more difficult to lose weight.
Eating the wrong foods for your liver will lead to an excess of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), and not enough high-density lipoproteins (HDL). This may increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. For a list of "healthy dietary fats" versus "fats to avoid", please refer back to May's newsletter on "The Lasting Solution to Weight Loss - Part II".
Besides adhering to the vital principals discussed above, herbal supplements can help the liver to perform its proper function, at its optimum level.
Applied Health Solutions has an excellent product called "Liver Cleanse". This highly effective liver tonic contains a powerful, herbal nutriceutical formula. "Liver Cleanse" also contains Advanced Enzyme Technology (AET) to provide maximum potency and effectiveness. These enzymes enhance the herbal activity, encouraging healthy liver function.
"Liver Cleanse" contains the following combination of nutritional ingredients:
- Taurine - reduces cholesterol
- Lecithin - dissolves fats, protects against heart disease, improves brain function, and helps repair the liver due to alcohol damage
- Psyllium Seed Husk - aids weight loss, reduces risk of coronary heart disease, aids elimination
- Dandelion Root - diuretic, cleanses blood and liver -Milk Thistle Extract- detoxifies liver, acts as anantioxidant, helps digest fats, reverses liver damage
- Artichoke Extract - breaks down fats, improves bile flow, powerful liver tonic
- Beet Root - aids digestion and cleanses liver
- Barley Grass - heals digestive tract, including colon disorders, anti-inflammatory, high in nutrients
- Carrot Powder - rich source of vitamin A, antioxidant properties
- Slippery Elm Bark - soothes and heals digestive tract, promotes better function
"Liver Cleanse" allows the liver to burn fat more efficiently, aids in digestion and eliminates toxins. Reported results from taking "Liver Cleanse" include:
- helps weight loss and fat reduction
- increases energy
- strengthens the immune system
- lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
- lessens allergies and headaches,
- improves digestion
- encourages clearer thinking
- skin becomes brighter, eyes become clearer
Keeping the Colon Healthy
The colon is a holding tank for waste matter that needs to pass from the body at least every 24 hours. Harmful toxins can form, if the bowels do not move on a daily basis. Constipation can cause many different ailments including weight gain, poor nutrient absorption, depression, fatigue, indigestion and headaches. Constipation results when waste material moves too slowly through the large bowel, which results in infrequent or painful elimination.
So, why are we talking about this topic? Because toxins and antigens, from bowel bacteria and undigested food particles, play a role in the development of diabetes, Candida, chronic gas and bloating, migraines, colitis, and even colon cancer.
In most cases, constipation arises from insufficient amounts of fluid and fiber in the diet. Other causes of constipation are inadequate exercise, aging, bowel disease, and heavy consumption of junk food.
In order to keep the colon healthy and to achieve maximum weight loss, high fiber foods such as fresh fruits, raw vegetables, and grains should account for a large portion of the food intake.
Vegetables and fruits like cabbage, broccoli, carrots, garlic, apples, kale, and brussel sprouts are excellent sources of fiber. Prunes and figs are natural laxatives. Drinking a lot of purified water, with these foods, helps with elimination and weight loss. Dairy products, fried foods, soft drinks, meat, white flour, coffee, alcohol, sugar, salt and processed foods are difficult to digest and do not contain fiber.
Physical activity speeds up the movement of waste through the intestines. A thirty-minute walk not only increases the metabolism and helps burn fat, but also can relieve constipation. Nutrients, which are important for colon cleansing, are:
- Garlic - destroys harmful bacteria in the colon
- Vitamin C - for a cleansing and healing effect
- Acidophilus - allows survival and rapid passage of "friendly" bacteria through the stomach into the small intestines
- Applied Health Solutions 'Liver Cleanse" - encourages fat digestion and elimination of toxins
- Flaxseeds - provide essential fatty acids plus many added benefits, such as fiber and vitamins
- Multi-Vitamins, Minerals - constipation blocks proper absorption of nutrients resulting in vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- Vitamin B Complex - needed for proper digestion of fats, carbohydrates, and protein
- Vitamin D, Calcium, and Magnesium - helps prevent colon cancer.
- Blue Green Algae and Aloe Vera - detoxify the body and have a healing, cleansing effect on the digestive track.
In conclusion, remember the liver and colon are the filters and holding/elimination tanks for the body. Being aware of these vital organs, eating the correct foods, and taking proper supplementation can add quality and health to our lives.
Next month, we will focus on the proper exercise regime for maximum weight loss.
For a complete list of past and current articles,
visit Applied Health Journal Archives.
Copyright © 2000 Applied Health Solutions, Inc., Scottsdale, Arizona
All rights reserved. www.appliedhealth.com 480.998.0992
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