Published by: Times of India
In India, around 10 lakh patients are diagnosed every year with liver cirrhosis, and further, liver disease happens to be the 10th most common cause of death in India, according to World Health Organisation (WHO). Unhealthy lifestyle, stress, consumption of alcohol, and increasing exposure to toxins has led to a rapid rise in lifestyle-related diseases, including liver diseases. As the country faces an enormous public health problem that can threaten the lives of millions of people, turning to natural therapies and practices seems to be the best way forward to tackle this growing menace.
How is the Liver Function compromised?
Proper liver function is maintained by various factors and is slowed down gradually by several unhealthy daily habits. In this age of fast life and fast foods, the consumption of significant amounts of saturated and trans fats, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and foods with high preservatives wreak havoc on liver function, draining its crucial resources to function optimally.
In addition to fast life and fast foods, people are constantly exposed to harmful pollutants that further compromise liver function. Once the liver functions deteriorate, people experience different kinds of symptoms like poor digestion, fatigue, skin eruptions, and headaches.
A sluggish/congested liver can also be attributed to digestive problems because of the inadequate production/secretion of bile juice necessary to break down fat-soluble substances and assist with digestion. If the sluggish bile activity is not taken care of, it can also lead to stone formation after years of persistent liver function deterioration. Fatty liver happens to be one of the most common chronic liver diseases in the world and is generally detected in people between the age group of 30 to 50. There are two types of fatty liver diseases – Non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases (NAFLD) and Alcoholic fatty liver disease. Though fatty liver is a reversible condition, it can cause severe liver disease in the future if left unchecked.
Naturopathic Approach to a Healthy Liver
As people are increasingly exposed to a toxic environment and processed foods, the liver plays a crucial role in eliminating the harmful toxins from the body, keeping them energetic and healthy. However, to keep the liver in optimal condition, a naturopathic approach works best when used with the right regimen and knowledge. Here are some simple naturopathic suggestions to keep the liver functioning well and detoxify it gently:
A diet that comprises mostly of vegetables and fruits is good for the overall health of the liver. Vegetables and fruits are usually high in antioxidants that have liver-protective effects. It is also important to include seeds, nuts, whole grains, and legumes in the diet, as they are rich in Vitamin B and assist with the enzymatic/metabolic processes in the liver.
At times a healthy diet alone can’t enhance the functioning of the liver. That’s where the importance of herbal medicines comes into play. Hepatic herbs like Dandelion root, Milk Thistle, Rosemary, Schisandra, Goldenseal, and Artichoke come with numerous properties that protect the liver from damage, repair damaged cells in the liver, and optimises its function by increasing the metabolic processes of detoxification. It is always a good idea to consult a naturopathic doctor before taking these herbs.
Although any form of exercise is advantageous for health, yoga is a comprehensive form of exercise that benefits the body as well as the mind. Certain yoga poses like Balasana, Salabhasana, Mandukasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana, Naukasana, and Bhujangasana stretches, stimulates and strengthens the liver. Regular practice of the above asanas can help eliminate the fat deposits in the liver and boost its performance.
Other Naturopathy Therapies
Sometimes, naturopathic doctors also use nature cure treatments like colon hydrotherapy, enema, mud pack, mud bath, hip, bath, hot and cold fomentation, castor oil pack, and abdominal pack to improve the functioning of the liver.
An optimal liver function can be encouraged by making few changes in lifestyle like consuming low-processed, fresh and clean vegetable-rich diets, abstaining from alcohol and smoking, and leading a physically active life. Naturopathy is a great way to improve renal and liver functions as well as lead an energetic and healthier life.
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