Our liver is one of the least discussed organs in the body and happens to also be one of the most important.
The liver is the center of our digestion and detoxification system, working in perfect harmony with the body to absorb essential nutrients and dispose of waste. It’s ability to remove toxic build up is what keeps our body humming.
However, our liver can only do so much. When excessive toxins are introduced into the body, the liver can quickly be overwhelmed, leaving remaining toxins that eventually turn into harmful diseases and in some cases even death (1).
Fortunately, there are an increasing number of easy techniques that aid the liver in the detoxification process, allowing it to do its job more efficiently.
The Liver and Detoxification
Our body disposes of toxins through four major organs; the liver, the kidneys, the intestinal tract and skin (2). The liver, in particular, is responsible for filtering blood that makes its way through the digestive tract.
Once the blood has been cleaned through the process, it is returned to the rest of the body, delivering nutrients to cells and organs. This process also affects how our body absorbs chemicals and drugs (3).
The substances introduced to the body (and eliminated by the liver) include the following (4):
- Processed Sugars
- Natural Sugars (such as those found in fruit)
- Chemicals found in processed food such as canned or packaged items
- Food Coloring
- Flavor Enhancers
- Air Pollution
Most of these toxins enter our body through oily or fatty substances or are breathed in from the environment around us. Those absorbed as water solubles are most often excreted from the body rather than held in.
How to Support Liver Detox
While our liver works hard for us, there are many factors that can play into lessening its ability to do its job. Blood pressure is a lesser known factor in the detoxification process, due to its ability to cause hepatic ischemia, meaning a lack of blood and oxygen sent to the liver. This can prevent the liver from detoxifying blood and can even damage liver cells in the long-run (5)
Another factor could be the presence of Cirrhosis or damage and scarring of the liver. This can be caused by infections, genetics, or excessive alcohol in the blood stream. When Cirrhosis is present it becomes difficult for the liver to properly function, and detoxification can also come to a halt (6).
Fortunately, there are many safe and all natural ways to detox. One such way is by increasing your consumption of beets. Beets are a high-antioxidant vegetables that are known for cleansing and detoxifying (7). Beets contain high amounts of betaine, which are used by the liver to eliminate toxins (8).
Beetox Cleansing Smoothie
To incorporate the detoxifying benefits of beets, try this easy detox recipe.
- One Cup of Water
- One Beet
- One Carrot
- One Apple
- Wash the beet, carrot, and apple and cut them into small pieces.
- Blend all of the ingredients together until you get a smooth liquid, if you find that you did not put enough water, keep adding until you have the right consistency.
Try to have the drink before your largest meal of the day (typically breakfast or lunch) for 3-5 days. Take a 10-day break before repeating the cycle.