Did you know that your health and well-being is dependent on how well your body removes toxins from the body? That’s right, everyday we are exposed to numerous toxins from our environment, personal hygiene products and foods. In reality, most of us could use a serious detox, and a liver cleanse is a great way to do this!
So, a little bit about your liver…it is the second largest organ next to your skin and is the primary way the body rids itself of toxins. It works very hard to detoxify your blood as well as several other jobs including: producing bile needed to help break down fats, break down and processing hormones, storing glucose for energy, and storing essential vitamins and minerals, including the very important iron. If the liver isn’t functioning properly, a host of issues will follow including poor digestion. Here are a few other important roles the liver plays:
- Processing nutrients absorbed by the intestines so they are more efficiently absorbed.
- Regulating blood composition (proteins, fats and sugars).
- Destroying old red blood cells.
- Breaking down and metabolising alcohol and medications.
- Producing chemicals that help with blood clotting.
- Producing cholesterol, which is very important for many roles in the body including hormone production.
So, what impairs the liver’s ability to function? Well, too much alcohol, medications, sugar, refined foods, hormone replacement therapy and poor diet. If the liver get’s hit with too much too often, then cirrhosis can occur which is when healthy liver cells are replaced with scar tissue. Scar tissue can then grow and impair function.
Here are some signs and symptoms to look for that may indicate your liver is on the sluggish side:
- Yellow/jaundice skin
- Yellow eyes (where it should be white in the sclera)
- Inability to lose weight (the liver has a huge role to play when it comes to weight loss)
- Chronic Fatigue
- Waking up hot around 2-3 am, as well as waking up with hot feet
- Excessive sweating
- “Liver lines” in between the eyebrows
- Yellow/brown tongue
Don’t worry, there is hope for your liver! Here are my suggestions for a gentle yet effective liver cleanse:
- Remove the toxic foods from your diet – If you are eating a highly processed diet of refined carbs and sugars, hydrogenated vegetable oils, processed meats, preservatives, additives, colourings and flavour enhancers then you are adding toxins to your system. The chemical structure of these foods has been altered to increase shelf life, enhance flavour, inhibit bacteria growth and preserve an appealing appearance, yet they contribute to inflammation and disease. Try to buy whole, really foods that don’t have a label, or if they do have a label, check to see that they have five ingredients or less.
- Start juicing – the liver loves vegetables but it can be difficult to eat all the vegetables to make a liver cleanse effective. Try juicing a variety of raw vegetables and you will get a lot more then 1-2 servings. Fresh juice is absorbed within 15 minutes, so you don’t have to worry about chewing or making sure it’s digestible for optimal absorption. Try a juice fast for a day, two days or even a week and your liver will thank you. A nice combination would be: carrot, fresh ginger root, lemon, parsley, beetroot and apple.
- Cruciferous vegetables – your liver loves broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussel sprouts. It’s the high sulphur content that helps detox the liver. It also loves beetroot, garlic, lemon, lime and turmeric. These foods help reduce acid levels and make your body more alklaline, which the liver loves.
- Water – I see so many people who don’t get nearly enough water, and tell me they’re just never thirsty. Well, by the time you’re thirsty you’re already dehydrated so drink up throughout the day! Our body is made of water and our brain needs it, our joints need it and our skin too. Heck, we even lose water just by breathing and talking, (and don’t get me started on the amount of caffeine that depletes water from the body). The general rule is 30 ml of water per kilo of body weight. It helps flush toxins out of the liver, and eventually out of the body, so drink up!
- Liver herbs – there are many wonderful herbs out there that are great for the liver. You can find them in a liver support formula. Some of these are Milk Thistle and Dandelion Root. Milk Thistle is known to help eliminate the build-up of heavy metals in the body, which is important because heavy metals bind to nutrients and cause you to not absorb them properly. If they’re not absorbed, they’re not being used for what they need to be. Milk Thistle is also great to help reduce any negative effects on the liver after chemotherapy and radiation. Dandelion root allows your liver to remove wastes at a faster pace as well as balancing blood sugars and soothing the digestive tract.
So even if you don’t present with any liver signs, it’s still always beneficial to try a liver cleanse. You can do it for 24 hours, a week or more. Even a simple and gentle day cleanse is good to give your liver a good flush once in a while. Make your liver happy and it will pay you back.