As the New Year approaches and we are reminded of all of our over-indulgences during the holidays, it may be a good time to consider a liver cleanse. It is through the liver that many of the harmful chemicals we’re exposed to are converted into water-soluble molecules and flushed out in urine or feces. Healthy detoxification to support liver health is essential to proper digestion, metabolism, and thyroid function.
Telltale Signs Your Liver May Benefit from Detox:
- History of alcohol/drug use or hepatitis
- Long term prescription drug use
- Sensitive to chemicals (tobacco smoke, fumes, perfume, cleaning agents, etc.)
- Pain between the shoulder blades
- 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)
- Become sick or easily intoxicated if drinking wine
- Easily hung over
- Pain under right side of rib cage
- Hemorrhoids or varicose veins
- NutraSweet (aspartame) consumption
- Chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
There are many foods that can help cleanse the liver naturally by stimulating its natural ability to clean toxic waste from the body, including:n toxic waste from the body, including:
- Garlic – activates liver enzymes that help your body flush out toxins. Garlic also contains allicin and selenium that aid in liver cleansing.
- Grapefruit – contains lots of vitamin C and antioxidants, as well as increasing the cleansing processes of the liver.
- Beets and Carrots – high in plant flavonoids and beta-carotene which improves overall liver function.
- Green Tea – loaded with plant antioxidants called catechins that assist liver function.
- Leafy Green Vegetables – extremely high in plant chlorophyll, greens are like “pac men”, gobbling up environmental toxins from the blood stream and neutralizing heavy metals, chemicals, and pesticides. In addition, foods such as arugula, dandelion greens, spinach, mustard greens, and chicory increase bile production and bile flow, removing waste from the organs and blood.
- Avocados – help produce glutathione, a substance that helps the liver cleanse harmful toxins.
- Olive Oil – cold-pressed organic oils like olive, hemp, and flax seed provide a lipid base that rids the body of toxins.
- Cruciferous Vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, etc.) – increase enzyme production in the liver, flushing out carcinogens and other toxins out of our bodies which may significantly lower risks associated with cancer.
- Lemons & Limes – contain high levels of vitamin C, aiding the body in synthesizing toxic materials into substances that can be absorbed by water. Try drinking freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice in the mornings to help stimulate the liver.
- Turmeric – boosts liver detox by assisting enzymes that actively flush out dietary carcinogens.
At Rejuvena, our naturopathic physicians are extremely well-versed in guiding patients through the detoxification process. Some of our recommendations include a specific food-based liver detox protocol, IV therapies, and nutritional supplements to restore healthy liver function. We highly recommend you consult a qualified practitioner prior to starting any type of detoxification regimen. It’s important to initiate a healthy lifestyle and dietary habits beforehand (healthy food, clean water, regular exercise, stress management, etc.). This provides your body with the reserve it needs so the liver can properly do its job. If the liver is not able to process toxic substances and eliminate them, you run the risk of becoming very sick.
And remember…our bodies will always let us know what they need. It’s up to us to learn how to listen!