You’d all be familiar with the promises of common detox diets — “Shed 7kg in 7 days!” or “Drop a dress size just by drinking this juice!” — highlighting that a lot of people want to lose weight or cleanse their body of whatever and they want to do it fast.
While fast might not be the answer, keeping your liver free of toxins as much as is humanly possible can have remarkable health benefits for you.
Your health and wellbeing is largely dependent on how your body removes those nasty toxins. That responsibility falls largely on the liver, one of the hardest working organs in your body, tirelessly to detoxifying your blood, producing bile needed to digest fat, breaking down hormones, and storing essential vitamins, minerals and iron.
If your living isn’t functioning the way it should you won’t be able to digest your food properly and you’ll start to feel sluggish and tired, you might gain weight, you might suffer headaches, you could experience pain in your right side, and your skin might not look a healthy colour.
Symptoms that could indicate your liver is struggling to function
You might want to consider the health of your liver if you have noticed any of the following symptoms:
The good news is that you can improve your liver’s function, and it’s as easy as 1… 2… 3… and then three more.
1. Remove toxic foods from your diet
Got a diet high in processed foods? You’re putting your liver’s health at risk. Refined sugar, trans-fats, convenience foods, pre-packaged meats and fast foods are notoriously toxic for your system and have been linked to serious health conditions. Such foods have chemicals added to them to give them a longer life, prevent bacteria and preserve colour. The best thing you can do it get rid of these foods from your diet.
Replace them with healthy foods. Think about roasting your own chicken and turkey to replace the deli meats for lunch. If you like chips, replace them with fruit, carrot sticks, nuts and even homemade muesli bars.
Boosting your intake of fruits and vegetables that contain higher amounts of vitamins A and C, and sulphur — think Brussels sprouts, broccoli, apples, garlic and squash — will boost the liver detoxification and cleansing of your liver.
Read more: How to repair and reverse fatty liver
2. Flush it with H2O (and add some lemon)
Just like you, your liver likes to be clean and the best way to do this is with water. Water contains natural minerals when it comes from a healthy source. You might want to use a water filtration system to remove the carbon and chlorine particles where possible.
Add a squeeze of lemon to your water to add even more alkalising and cleansing properties. As mentioned, lemon and other citrus products contain vitamin C and minerals that can boost your body’s functions and improve the cleansing process.
3. Load up on potassium rich foods
Chances are you’re not getting enough potassium, which helps to lower your systolic blood pressure, lower cholesterol and support a healthy cardiovascular system, as well as helping to cleanse your liver. Instead of reaching for a supplement try including sweet potato (kumera), tomatoe sauces, beans, beetroot and spinach, and bananas into your diet.
4. Choose smart supplements
It’s best not to swallow a pill that promises good health. Herbs such as milk thistle and artichoke leaf are highly regarded for their liver cleansing abilities. Milk thistle helps eliminate the build-up of heavy metals, prescription medications, environmental pollutants and alcohol in the liver. It’s also said to have a positive impact on the liver if you’ve undergone chemotherapy or radiation. Artichoke leaf is said to improve liver and gall bladder function, while also lowering serum cholesterol.
Turmeric is also good for reducing joint paint, aiding in digestion and restoring healthy blood sugar levels in your body.
5. Eat real liver… Or take liver tablets
Liver is rich in vitamins A and B, folic acid, choline, iron, copper, zinc, chromium and CoQ10 making it one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. Obviously if the thought of having to eat liver turns your stomach, consider taking a liver pill instead. The experts suggest that liver sourced from health, grass fed cows are absolutely loaded with vitamins, minerals and proteins, and as well as being good for your liver it is good for your brain.
6. Reduce or eliminate alcohol, nicotine and caffeine
These are particularly addictive substances, which can mask greater imbalances in your physical, emotional and spiritual health. By eliminating — or even just reducing — your consumption of alcohol, nicotine and caffeine you will be giving your liver some much needed TLC.