Your liver is responsible for cleaning all the crud out of your body and breaking it down to a form that can be expelled through the skin, urine, or feces.
Toxin overload, evidenced by one or more of the symptoms below, may be telling you that your liver needs a little help.
Eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies will give your liver the nutrients it needs to detoxify naturally. If any of the following applies to you, you might want to consider making changes to your current diet.
- History of alcohol/drug use or hepatitis
- Long-term prescription drug use
- Sensitive to chemicals (tobacco smoke, personal care products, fumes, perfume, cleaning agents, etc.)
- Stomach upset by greasy foods
- Greasy or shiny stools
- History of nausea, motion sickness, or morning sickness
- Light or pale-colored stools
- Headache over the eyes
- Gallbladder attacks
- Bitter taste in the mouth (especially after meals)
- Becoming sick or easily intoxicated when drinking wine
- Easily hung-over
- Pain under right side of rib cage
- Hemorrhoids or varicose veins
- Chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
Nutrients Needed for Natural Liver Detoxification
How to Cleanse: Liquid/Powder/?
Some people swear by liquid cleanses. These will surely clean you out but there are two things to consider: 1) if it’s too harsh you could be hurting yourself and 2) you’ll be hungry and may end up falling off the cleansing wagon. Proteins are toxins’ escorts so cutting back on these while trying to detoxify may be self-defeating. A short-term fast of 1-3 days may help you feel lighter and cleaner but a 3-week deal is probably too much and may result in nutrient deficiency, which is contrary to the healthifying objective.
You may opt for a whole-food cleanse to support your liver and the rest of your digestive system to do what comes naturally. A regular nutritionally-sound diet obviates the need for detox; by cutting out all the toxins you can and eating to support optimal cell function, everything runs smoothly–including your liver.
If you change your diet and eliminate the obvious offenders but still feel sluggish or experience some of the signs above, then a more aggressive regimen may be indicated (you should always consult a certified healthcare provider before embarking on a traditional cleanse). Your body is exceptionally adept at telling you what it needs; you simply have to pay attention.
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Best Liver Detox Foods
Beets – uniquely formulated to thin bile, beets loosen up the flow. After toxins leave the liver, they are dunked in bile; if bile flow is sluggish (a common situation), it doesn’t work as well. Eating beets is like adding washing soda to the machine. Raw is best for detoxification: shred some and try a slaw with apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and salt.
Fresh fruit – vitamin- and fiber-rich with nutritious phytonutrients, all fruit is good fruit. Those highest in vitamin C are especially good for the liver: grapefruit, orange, papaya, pineapple, kiwi, and berries.
Milk Thistle – The vibrant antioxidants in this spiky plant have been shown to reverse effects of liver cancer, inflammation, cirrhosis, and “fatty liver”. You can get it in a pill or tea–we like the tea.
Proteins – For detox, reduce/change animal proteins and increase the plant proteins. Animal muscle proteins are very complex and hard to break down, requiring a certain set of amino acids to do so. Ease up (but not out) on the kind of protein you are feeding your liver.
“Non-inflammatory” proteins of fish, eggs, quinoa, cultured dairy, beans, and–ironically–organ meats are supportive of liver detox, providing the necessary nutrition without having to work as hard to break down a steak, for instance. Bone broth is a good source of protein, easy and inexpensive to make, and versatile.
Water – Pure, filtered, fluoride-free water. Lots of it.
Liver health can’t be overemphasized. Next to the skin, our liver is the largest organ and is responsible for over two hundred metabolic processes. And we have only one.