Liver disease is a serious issue and can be life-threatening. The liver happens to be the largest internal organ and plays a huge role in regulating our health. It produces bile, which digests your food and gives you all the essential nutrients, and regulates the levels of protein, fat and sugar in your bloodstream. It also helps remove waste and toxins from your body that accumulate throughout the day.
There are three stages of liver disease: fatty liver, hepatitis (liver inflammation) and liver cirrhosis (liver fibrosis). But for the scope of this piece, I am not going to go into much detail about these stages, but will focus on artichoke juice and how it helps reverse the progression of liver disease.
Fatty liver is the first stage of liver disease. The moment you get fatty liver, you should be more alert and start caring for your liver. If left untreated, it can lead to more severe liver damage like cirrhosis and even liver cancer. Fatty liver occurs when the liver becomes enlarged due to the accumulation of fat cells.
What are the major causes of fatty liver?
- Excessive intake of processed food such as refined flour, sugar and hydrogenated fats, additives, colors, preservatives and pesticides
- Obesity or excess weight around the torso
- Taking several medications for a longer period of time
- Diabetes or insulin resistance
- Poor nutrition, or simply a lack of antioxidants and phytonutrients for healthy liver support and detoxification
If you are diagnosed with a fatty liver, it’s time to start incorporating a liver-focused diet into your lifestyle to protect it from further damage. It will amaze you to know that artichoke extract is an excellent tonic for the liver and can be used to reverse fatty liver. Artichoke contains luteolin which supports liver cell regeneration and liver tissue health, and also aids bile flow which improves digestion, nutrient absorption and reduces the strain placed on your liver.
During the 18th century, European doctors prescribed artichoke extract to patients with livers problems. In the June 2010 edition of the Biological Trace Element Research, Turkish researchers discovered the effect artichoke leaf extract had on the liver: it decreased fat and cholesterol levels.
In the September edition of Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology, studies found when artichoke extract is administered prior to clinical treatments, it can prevent liver injury. In other words, artichoke extract can help protect against liver damage.
Artichoke belongs to a member of the milk thistle family. Milk thistle is known as the top herb for liver health. It helps generate new liver cells, repairs damaged ones, aids in detoxification, overall liver function, and acts as an anti-inflammatory.
Milk thistle and artichokes are excellent sources of folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin B, quercetin, rutin, anthocyanin, copper, iron, and potassium. They are also rich sources of two phenolic compounds, silymarin and cynarine. These compounds do a great job in accelerating liver cell regeneration.
Cynarine is known to help increase bile secretion, while silymarin is a flavonoid which assists in the production of liver cells and cell membranes. Bile is necessary for the digestion of fats and flushing away of toxins out of the body. Cynarine is also believed to be responsible for artichoke’s cholagogue and choleretic properties.
- Cholagogue. Cholagogue is a medical agent which promotes the discharge of bile from the system by simply increasing the amount of bile being released by the gallbladder.
- Choleretic: Choleretics on the other hand is simply a substance that stimulates the production of bile in the liver.
These two functions are highly necessary for the liver’s well-being because if the bile is not transported properly to the gallbladder, the liver runs a high risk of being damaged.
Artichokes also have diuretic properties which aids in digestion and helps lower LDL (low-density lipopretein which is a bad cholesterol for the blood).
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A study published in a 2008 edition of Nutrition and Cancer revealed the protective effect artichoke extract has on human liver cell lines. It was revealed that artichoke extract demonstrated a significant antioxidant effect capable of protecting liver cells from damage. In addition, the artichoke extract hindered liver cancer in human liver cells.
When selecting an artichoke, go for the fresh looking ones with no brown spots or wilted leaves. Also, take note that the heart and flesh at the bottom of the leaves are very nutrient-dense. Most commercial artichokes are sprayed with pesticides which can be harmful to your liver. I suggest you wash them with a baking soda solution or apple cider vinegar. Always go for organic produce and check the labels of marinated artichokes because they are usually high in sodium or loaded with unnecessary oils.
Milk Thistle with Artichoke & Turmeric helps regenerate your liver and protects and improves its function
Some supplements come bundled with these three ingredients. I know of a particular one called European standardized milk thistle with artichoke and turmeric, which is available on Amazon. If you can get your hands on some, it’ll be even better. But if you can’t, prepare to go the traditional way and prepare your own concoction. Turmeric is great for this remedy because it plays a significant role in liver health. It attacks enzymes responsible for inflammation and pain, thereby reducing stress on your liver. It improves bile production and flow which aids in digestion. It also induces phase 2 detoxification enzymes to assist your liver in the breaking down and release of toxins and waste from your body.
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
- 2 teaspoons of milk thistle seed
- 1 cup of artichoke juice
- 1 cup of boiled water
Crush the milk thistle seeds with the help of a mortar and pestle. Put the crushed seeds into a cup. Pour hot water followed by turmeric powder and artichoke juice into the crushed seed. Let it steep for about 30 minutes. Then sieve out the resulting mixture. Drink this tea daily for best results. You can also try the Lemon Chicken with Artichoke Hearts or the recipe below:
- 4 organic artichokes
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 tablespoons organic lemon juice
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- pinch of sea salt for boiling water
Cut off the stems and tips of the artichokes. Place a pot containing salt water over medium heat and bring it to boil. Add your lemon juice and garlic cloves to the water and simmer artichokes for about 15 minutes. Do note that older artichokes take longer to cook. After 15 minutes, check to see of the artichokes are done by pulling off a leaf (it should come off easily if it’s done). Drain the water and dry the artichokes. You can now enjoy your artichoke leaves by dipping them into a sauce.
Below is an artichoke juice recipe that is quite potent for the liver:
- 3 organic Carrots (peeled and washed)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 organic Beet (peeled and washed)
- 4 Jerusalem artichokes
- ½ inch of ginger root
- ½ organic lemon, peeled
Get your juicer ready. I suggest you use a masticating juicer or a green star because I find they juice vegetables really well so that very little goes to waste. Wash all the produce with diluted baking soda or apple cider vinegar. Cut them all up and put them down the chute of your juicer. Enjoy the resulting liquid.
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