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Liver Health and Weight Loss

We are constantly bombarded with information regarding ‘heart health’, ‘lung health’, and even ‘colon health’. And we are constantly being told how being mindful of all three of these areas contribute to weight loss and overall health.
But did you know that #1 organ responsible for your overall health and well being is actually the liver? What if I told you that fat burning actually begins with processes in the liver. And that all the calories you burn on the treadmill don’t mater without healthy liver function. Do I have your attention now? Find out why seemingly insignificant environmental conditions can have a huge effect on our health. And how healthy liver function helps fight those conditions. And what you can do to keep your liver functioning at its best.
Even at levels considered safe by the Food and Drug Administration, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides along with heavy metals can still be toxic to the body. This is because they have the ability to mimic hormones. These toxins, known as ‘endocrine disruptors’, are now found everywhere from the air we breathe, to the water we drink to the food we eat.
The endocrine system is a group of glands responsible for producing hormones that regulate reproduction, fertility, sleep, menstrual cycles and metabolism. Endocrine disruptors have the ability to mimic, block and alter hormone communications. This can in turn cause a wide range of issues including reproductive, developmental and growth problems. Studies show that when even infinitesimal amounts of these toxins are present in our body, they have the ability to completely disrupt our system.
So how can our bodies rid ourselves of these toxins? Enter the liver. The liver is the main organ responsible for the detoxification of our body. Detoxification is the process of removing funguses, bacteria, viruses and parasites from our bodies. Unfortunately, with so many toxins in our environment, the liver can become easily overloaded. Add to this the additional stresses we place on our liver with the consumption of overly processed food, refined sugars, alcohol, preservatives, GMO foods, and medications, its a wonder the liver can keep up at all!
How does the liver eliminate these toxins from our body? The short answer is though the production of enzymes which convert the toxins stored within the fat in our bodies into a water soluble form that we can then eliminate. And the nutrients from which the liver produces those toxin eliminating enzymes can be found in phytonutrient-rich superfoods like kale, broccoli, and spinach.

The liver is an amazing organ in that is has the unique ability to regenerate itself. Given how important the liver is in removing toxins from our bodies and regulating our endocrine system, this is an awesome function. And we have ability to help the liver in the regeneration process. By eliminating those things that destroy liver function (like alcohol and processed foods), and consuming the proper nutrients that the body needs to regenerate liver tissue, we can return the liver to its full functioning capacity.
The liver is the hub of all the fat burning hormones in the body. In other words, in order for fat to be burned in the body, the chemical reactions MUST involve the liver. Let me repeat this so it sinks in. Fat cannot be burned in the body without the help of the liver. The reason why this is such an important statement is because it doesn’t matter how much you exercise, or how great your cardio is. If you have other poor lifestyle habits that impair the process of the liver, then the fat-burning process of your body will be  impeded. Conversely, it also means that the simple task of replacing overly processed and preservative rich foods with liver friendly foods will automatically jump-start the fat burning process in your body.
So how many servings of Super-foods should we consume for optimal liver health? Three to five servings per week minimum for a person already consuming a healthy diet. If you’ve spent a lifetime abusing your liver, consider adding another three to four servings each week. Given the bombardment of toxins from air water and other foods we typically consume, extra servings are always welcomed. Your body will thank you for the extra attention it receives, and will safely eliminate what it does not need.
The liver is an amazing organ considering everything it does for us. From toxin elimination to hormone regulation and weight loss, the overall quality of our life depends on the proper function of our liver. And all it asks of us is to keep it properly fueled with vitamins and nutrients found in our superfoods.

Why Should I Take a Phytonutrient Supplement?

A phytonutrient supplement is different from the average dietary supplement that contains vitamins and minerals. Phytonutrient supplements, contain Isoflavones, flavonoids and carotenoids found in plants and soy products instead of specific vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. While we need vitamins and minerals in order to survive, phytonutrients are not essential but are thought the improve health and prevent many diseases.

You can eat 3-7 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, which is the best way to get the phytonutrients that benefit our health. But what if you’re on a calorie restricted diet, you are diabetic, or you travel a lot and don’t have easy access to those foods? In such cases phytonutrient supplements can give you all the benefits of these natural chemicals without having to actually eat the foods that contain them. Phytonutrients are particularly important to people with arthritis, diabetes, and other chronic conditions or diseases; these conditions respond positively to the presence of phytonutrients in the system and can make chronic conditions more manageable and less painful.

For instance, if you have arthritis you should take a phytonutrient supplement to help relieve your pain and stiffness. Arthritis is caused by the breakdown of cartilage that cushions the joints as you move. When that cartilage is worn away by age or overuse the bones rub together, causing pain. The muscles and remaining cartilage become inflamed and swollen, which contributes to the constant ache that plagues arthritis sufferers. The anti-inflammatory properties of phytonutrients can substantially reduce discomfort due to arthritis and help improve mobility.

If you have a form of cardiac disease you’ll want to ask your doctor about taking a phytonutrient supplement. The natural, beneficial plant-produced chemicals are thought to benefit and possibly help prevent heart disease, although studies have not yet been completed. The good thing about phytonutrients is that they are not harmful.

Another good reason to take phytonutrient supplements is that our fruits and vegetables are often treated with harmful chemicals and even genetically modified to increase yield. No one knows what genetically modified foods will do to our brains and bodies a few decades from now but if you’d like to avoid the risk, phytonutrient supplements will help you control the influence of these potentially risky farming and food production methods.

Phytonutrient supplements usually come in the form of a pill or capsule but are also available as powders or liquids. If you don’t want to eat the actual plant foods to get important phytonutrients, you can get them in the form that is most convenient for you. If you normally mix up a protein shake or smoothie every day you will find the powder form convenient or you might want to add it in liquid form. If you travel a lot or are constantly on the go with a busy job or a home full of children you’ll probably find the pills or capsules more convenient.

You can live a better quality of life and quite possibly a longer one when you take a phytonutrient supplement. You’ll feel better and generally be healthier even in cold and flu season when you take a phytonutrient supplement.

Why are Phytonutrients Important?

Phytonutrients are found in plants and usually concentrated in the skins of fruits and vegetables; these elements are what give them their color, flavor and scent. Your grandmother may not have known why she encouraged you to eat apples, oranges, and other fruits but she and others have been proven right. The more colorful your vegetables and fruits, the better they are for you. You should eat at least 7 differently colored fruits and vegetables each day.

The reason that phytonutrients are so important is that they have been shown to prevent mutations of cells while others help our cells communicate with each other. Some act as anti-inflammatories; scientists are becoming convinced that heart disease is partially a result of general inflammation in the body. In fact, phytonutrients are being used in commercially produced medications that are prescribed to lower blood pressure, help with the pain of arthritis, and even in asthma medicine and those for other respiratory problems. Phytonutrients also help lower bad cholesterol, which protects your heart and overall health.

Phytonutrients help neutralize free radicals, which are naturally occurring chemicals that lead to premature aging and disease. They help boost the immune system and might even help prevent certain types of cancer. Recent research done on laboratory rats has shown that phytonutrient-rich blueberries and bilberries actually slowed aging in their brains as well as maintaining healthy vision.

Flavonoids are the phytonutrients that give fruits and vegetables their bright colors and protect them from disease, UV light, poisons, insects, and soil pollutants. They’re like an immune system for plants. They can also help prevent many diseases in humans, prevent cell damage, lower blood pressure and help stop nerves from deteriorating. They strengthen the walls of veins and arteries, reduce the build up of plaque in blood vessels and keep them flexible.

You can also find phytonutrients in whole grains, which means you can get them from healthy, whole grain breads and other baked products. If your gluten intolerant you can get phytonutrients in rice, quinoa, corn, millet and sorghum.

When you eat fruits and vegetables you get so many benefits from phytonutrients that it’s hard to list them all. You’ll be more resistant to disease, particularly viruses which are not treatable with modern drugs. There was a time when vitamin C was recommended for a cold or flu and it was thought that it could even prevent these diseases. Actually, people who ate citrus and other fruits were found to be healthier and had a lower incidence of colds and flu than those that did not. It’s still not clear if vitamin C itself or the actual fruits are the key to staying healthy in cold and flu season but eating citrus fruits are a delicious and healthy way to build up your immune system.

 

What are Phytonutrients?

Phytonutrients refers to the thousands of chemicals contained in plants that protect them from bugs, germs, fungi and other natural threats. The word comes from combining the Greek “Phyto” which means plant with the English word “nutrient”.  If Phytonutrients help to protect plants from natural hazards and help them thrive, it makes sense that as herbivores we would also benefit from them.

Common plant based foods are whole grains, nuts, beans, and tea.  These are the foods that most people think are healthy and they are correct but there are a lot of other delicious sources of Phytonutrients.  You don’t need Phytonutrients to survive but you do need the vitamins and minerals that plants contain.  When you eat or drink these Phytonutrients they can help prevent disease and keep organs healthy and functioning well.  There are more than 25,000 Phytonutrients in the plants and plant-based foods we eat.

Phytonutrients also contain antioxidants, carotene elements that convert to Vitamin A, anti-inflammatories and other elements that are not necessary but improve our health and general fitness.

There are 9 major classes of Phytonutrients:

 

  • Lignans (Phytoestrogenes)
  • Inositol Phosphates
  • Carotenoids
  • Phenols and Cyclic compounds
  • Isothiocyanates and Indoles
  • Sulfides and Thiols
  • Terpenes
  • Saponins
  • Flavonoids including Isoflavones

 

Some of these may be familiar to you through advertising and health bulletins while others are a mystery.  All of them help to keep our organs healthy and improve our cardiac health.  They are found in fruits and vegetables.

Carotenoids, for instance, protect our bodies from strokes; a person who has 3 servings a day of fruits and vegetables reduces their chance of stroke by 22%. Older men who eat dark green and yellow vegetables have been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks by a whopping 46%! Tomato products also contain Carotenoids and can reduce the incidence of prostate cancer while dark leafy greens reduce the chance of age related macular degeneration.

Flavonoids also appear to protect the heart according to medical research that has been done in the Netherlands, Finland, and the United States.

Average consumption of vegetable among Americans is 3.3 servings per day but only 0.2% of this consumption involves beneficial dark green and yellow vegetables. Only 29% of the population makes sure they get at least 2 servings of fruit per day and nearly half the population consumes less than one serving of fruit daily. This means they are not getting many of the beneficial Phytonutrients that these foods contain.

You can make sure you get the benefits of Phytonutrients by making sure that your daily diet contains berries, fruits, tea, dark green and yellow vegetables, soybeans, vegetables and citrus.

Welcome to What are Phytonutrients dot com

Information on Phytonutrient Benefits coming soon!