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Heart of the Matter, Issue #004 -- The Liver and Heart Disease
February 22, 2016
The Liver and Heart Disease
The liver is located below the right side of the ribs in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen. It is the second largest organ of the body, second only to skin or epithelial tissue. As it is related to the cardiovascular system not by size but by function.
The function of the liver ranges from producing enzymes for every function of the body, destroying old cells, eliminating waste, storing vitamins and nutrients and metabolizing food toxins and chemicals. The liver produces over 500 different enzymes for various functions in the body. There are two functions that directly relate to the heart. That is elimination and metabolism.
In order for the body to function properly is the need to eliminate waste the body produces. How disgusting and impossible would it be to live in house full of garbage. It would be quickly suffocating to live in the cesspool. The body is no different. The body eliminates the waste by two systems in the bowels and through the urinary system. It is important to keep these systems running well. Eating a high fiber diet will help absorb and eliminate wastes in the bowel and drinking lots of water to flush out wastes in the urinary system. Waste that sits around because not enough water or fiber is ingested will cause mild inflammation in the bowel.
It is the process of metabolism that interests me, especially in relation to heart disease. Metabolism is the process the liver uses to change food stuff to usable energy or change non foodstuff to safe chemicals to be excreted out of the body. Certain food stuff like a high protein diet will cause the liver to change purines found in protein to uric acid. High amounts of Uric acid has been proven to increase the blood pressure. Therefore, a " meat and potato" diet will cause high blood pressure . Non foodstuff like fructose, food preservatives, alcohol and taste enhancers (found in commercially prepared food) has no nutritional benefit, meaning the body can't use it for energy or anything. The liver must then breakdown the chemicals to be excreted. It is this process of breaking down the chemicals that causes inflammation in the liver by producing JNK enzymes. This liver metabolism pathway also produces triglycerides (fats) and cholesterol . Even without eating a high fat diet your body will produce fat if not given the right type of foods.
The North American diet is wrought with the perfect storm for heart disease. Not drinking enough water will dehydrate the body causing the body to hold its water and therefore not eliminating water soluble wastes such as uric acid. Not eating a diet with fiber causes a lack of bowel elimination causing the chemicals in the bowel to irritate and cause bowel inflammation. Lastly eating a diet high in commercially prepared foods will cause the liver to produce high amounts of uric acid causing high blood pressure and inflammation in the liver.
The body is now primed for heart disease. Interestingly, to detoxify the liver is the same substances that are used to prevent heart disease. Omega 3's , Garlic and Co-enzyme 10's (to name a few) are specifically linked to prevent heart disease but are also liver cleansers, Coincidence? Something to think about.
Next, I will examine inflammation and the link to heart disease.
Recipes that prevent heart disease
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