It’s that time of year when it’s just all too common to over-indulge. It’s been a tough couple of years and we were all ready for a bit of a celebration. Is your liver and gallbladder ready though?
Did you know that all the blood leaving the stomach and intestines passes through the liver? The liver processes this blood, breaks it down and creates nutrients in the configuration that is easier for the rest of your body to use. The liver also metabolizes drugs into structures that are nontoxic.
Your gallbladder is the part of your digestive system that stores bile. Bile helps your digestive system break down fats.
What can you do to include liver and gallbladder friendly food in your diet especially during festive times? Here are my top 7 tips for liver and gallbladder health.
Eat Bitter food
Bitter food may not sound very appetising but you may be surprised to know that such as apple cider vinegar, sauerkraut, pickles, rocket, lemons are considered bitter. Bitter foods in meals trigger the salivary response. Consuming bitter foods with meals, or better yet before meals, prepares the stomach for the food you are eating, and triggers stomach acid production. Stomach acid creates the correct acidic pH needed to trigger bile release in your small intestine to complete successful digestion of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
Try not to snack in between meals. Having a break from eating gives the digestive system a rest, which allows the small intestine to undergo detoxification which helps to clear toxins out of the digestive tract as well as prevent dysbiosis, an imbalance in your microbiota.
Eat a balanced meal.
Ensure meals contain a balance of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Don’t follow low-fat diets long term, if at all, as this will most certainly affect gallbladder function in the long run. Not sure, what a balanced meal looks like. Download my handout for creating a balanced meal here.
Don’t skip on the fibre. Fibre obtained from eating vegetables and flaxseed meal and slippery elm are important to keep the bowel moving; (no-one wants to be constipated!) Fibre also binds to toxins for to remove them from the bowel. This prevents toxins from being reabsorbed into circulation.
Watch your portion size
Portion sizes began to grow in the 1970s, rose sharply in the 1980s, and have continued in parallel with increasing body weights. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1447051)
Ensure that meal portions are not too big, eat slowly and mindfully. Smaller portions are easier to digest and take less stomach acid and bile to complete this process, thus putting less pressure on the gallbladder.
Eat fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kefir to get all the prebiotics and probiotics you need for healthy gut function and to keep the gut microbiota balanced. This will ensure healthy bile and liver function.
Don’t rush your meals.
Make sure you sit and eat your meals in a peaceful environment, with family and friends, as often as you can . Eating on-the-run or in between meetings does not create the best environment to ensure proper digestion. Taking time out to eat also gives your mind a break so you start refreshed.
Keep these tips in mind, especially during times of celebration to ensure you keep provide your liver with nutrients that it needs.