Detox has become such a trendy term. When we hear it, we usually think of juice cleanses, water fasts, crazy diets and other unsafe programs promising instant results. But is a liver cleanse really necessary?
Truth is…our bodies are wonderfully designed to naturally detox all on their own, on a daily basis, as long as we provide them with the nutrients and tools they need for max efficiency.
Why Detoxing Your Liver Is Important
Why should you care about your liver?
The liver is the body’s primary filtration system. It’s responsible for metabolizing nutrients and flushing invaders. But when the liver becomes over burdened by toxins, the detoxification process becomes sluggish and toxins aren’t effectively eliminated.
Today more than ever, our bodies are exposed to toxins and carcinogens on a daily basis, from endocrine disrupting chemicals in cleaning supplies and skincare, to pesticides in the food we consume and environmental pollutants.
Some Signals Your Liver May Be Overburdened
- Hormonal imbalance
- Seasonal allergies
- Chronic fatigue
- Weight gain
- Slow digestion
How To Support Optimal Liver Health
While it’s impossible to completely control our exposure to the toxins in our modern world, we can take some simple steps to support our liver’s natural ability to detoxify. One simple way is to choose whole foods that promote optimal liver function and natural detoxification.
Which Foods Encourage Liver Detox?
Eating beets is a great way to show your liver some TLC. Beets contain a compound called betalins, which supports the production of glutathione, an essential antioxidant needed by the liver for proper detoxification. Beets can also help make toxins water soluble, so they can be excreted through urine. Beets also increase the production of bile, which shuttles toxins through the liver.
Try adding beets to smoothies, or making a salad by shredding beets, carrots and apples for a sweet salad that promotes healthy bile.
Turmeric contains a powerful phytochemical called curcumin, which gives turmeric its vibrant yellow color and has strong anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin supports liver cleansing, reduces inflammation, and prevents toxins from converting to harmful compounds.
Turmeric is best absorbed when consumed with fat, and black pepper. Golden milk lattes are a delicious way to add turmeric to your diet. You can also simply sprinkle turmeric on top of eggs and any of your favorite dishes.
Dandelion Root and Greens
Dandelion is a bitter green that can stimulate the liver and gallbladder to release bile.
Bile plays an important role in the detoxification process by carrying toxins out of the body. When bile becomes stagnant, the liver can become congested, leading to overall impaired liver function.
Dandelion root is also a diuretic, which assists the liver and kidneys in flushing toxins from the body.
Dandelion root tea can be consumed daily, but it’s important to remember when consuming diuretics, to increase your water intake to remain properly hydrated and keep toxins moving.
A good guide to follow is to drink ½ your bodyweight in ounces of water daily, plus 8 ounces for every cup of diuretics.
Dandelion greens are a delicious addition to salads, green juices, smoothies.
Bone broth is traditionally made by slowly simmering meat and bones in water and is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. It’s abundant in minerals such as glycine and potassium, which support liver and cellular detoxification. These minerals can also act as chelators, binding to heavy metals and expelling them from the body.
Homemade broth is a great kitchen staple and can be used to cook soups, sauces, poach meat and vegetables, or simply enjoyed sipped on it’s own.
Garlic is a staple in most cooking and has many health benefits. A member of the allium family, garlic is rich in sulfur compounds, and is responsible for its strong smell and flavor. Sulfur boosts the production of glutathione to support overall detoxification in the body.
Simply adding a couple of cloves of garlic to sauteed vegetables, salad dressings, or pesto is an easy way to boost detoxification.
These cute little sprouts are chock full of health supporting benefits.
Broccoli sprouts contain powerful antioxidants, like glucoraphanin, which accelerates the body’s ability to detoxify from environmental pollutants, and sulforaphane, needed for cells to create the enzymes needed to eliminate toxins.
Broccoli sprouts can easily be grown at home and enjoyed on salads, or as a topping for burgers or soup.
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which has an alkalizing effect on the body, and may balance PH.
Acetic Acid can also help improve lymph circulation, cleansing the lymph nodes and purging toxins from the body. Apple cider vinegar also supports the beneficial bacteria in the gut, and proper nutrient absorption.
An easy and delicious way to enjoy apple cider vinegar is a switchel – A refreshing beverage traditionally made with apple cider vinegar, water, ginger, and maple syrup.
Greens such as spinach, kale, collard greens, and chard contain chlorophyll. Chlorophyll assists in chelating heavy metals, binding to carcinogens, and increases the production of liver enzymes. Greens are also packed with the vitamins and minerals crucial for detoxification, such as magnesium, calcium and B vitamins.
Some ways to eat leafy greens are adding them to green smoothies, kale chips, or using them in place of wraps.
Regularly incorporating these 7 healing foods into your diet is a great way to show your liver some love and lessen your toxic burden.
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Molly Leavitt is a Natural Chef, Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, and the recipe creator and blogger behind Vivra Wellness, a Paleo diet and lifestyle blog. A strong believer in the healing power of real food, Molly’s biggest passion is helping others discover that eating healthy should be easy, delicious, and never boring! When not creating in the kitchen, Molly spends too much time daydreaming about food,and her next travel destination. Follow her recipes and adventures on instagram https://www.instagram.com/vivrawellness/ and her blog https://vivrawellness.com/.