A healthy liver is imperative to long-term health and maintaining a healthy body weight. The liver is the principal organ responsible for fat-burning and must be cleansed, or flushed, for it to operate effectively, according to nutritionist Ann Louise Gittleman, MS, CNS, author of the book "The Fat Flush Foods." Gittleman further states that your liver, affected by unhealthy diet choices and clogged with pollutants and toxins, is the number one reason for not losing weight. When your liver is overloaded with toxins, chemicals and the byproducts of excess food, it does not function properly. Everything we consume -- food, beverages, drugs and alcohol -- is processed by the liver before continuing through the body’s systems. While watching what you eat can help maintain proper liver function, periodically performing a liver flush can produce a more efficient metabolism and, as a result, you will lose weight.
The liver is one of the larger organs in your body and lies on the right side of the abdominal cavity. It's important for many reasons and, in simple terms, aids in digestion and acts as a filter for all food and liquids consumed, according to the Center for Disease Control's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. The liver assists in breaking down fats, retains vitamins and minerals, converts excess glucose to glycogen for storage and cleanses the blood of harmful substances, such as alcohol. According to Mamashealth.com, the liver produces about 80 percent of the cholesterol found in the body.
Because the liver is typically the first organ to filter everything you consume and drink, it can become overwhelmed with fats and toxins, according to Gittleman. Even overeating can decrease liver function, because the liver stores excess food as fat. A result of a clogged liver is weight gain. This is evident in thicker waistlines or an increase of fat around the abdomen, according to "Alive" magazine author Brad King, M.S., M.F.S. Flushing, or cleansing the liver, increases its ability to properly metabolize foods and liquids consumed as well as to store appropriate amounts of vitamins and minerals.
According to both Gittleman and King, one benefit of flushing the liver is weight loss, because a healthy liver’s metabolic functioning is better when the liver is cleansed. A liver flush rids your body of toxins via urination and bowel movements. Plus the food you eat is burned more effectively and your body becomes leaner.
Certain foods and liquids act to detoxify and clean the liver. King notes that by detoxifying the liver, you will drop unwanted pounds as waste passes through your digestive system. Eat foods that are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants protect and repair past damage to the liver and include foods such as beets, broccoli, onions, eggs, garlic, tomatoes, lemons, cranberries and watermelon, according to Gittleman in her article for "Experience Life Magazine." Eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables will flush the liver and promote better liver function overall. Additionally, drinking eight cups of water daily helps your system flush toxins from the liver and reduces water retention, which can result in pounds lost from water weight. Finally, limit your intake of alcohol and nonessential medicines or drugs. Because everything you consume must first pass through the liver, certain medications are not easily metabolized by the liver.
As with any change to your diet or routine, consult a physician. This will help you to further understand the importance of diet and liver function and the correlation of a healthy liver to weight loss.
- Mamashealth.com: Liver
- "The Fat Flush Foods"; Ann Louise Gittleman, M.S., C.N.S.; 2004
- Center for Disease Control: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
- Alive: Your Liver
- Lifetime Fitness: Experience Life Magazine: Fast Track Liver Detox