Detox Your Liver – Wellpark College’s Top 10 Tips
The importance of the liver…
The liver has the imperative job of detoxifying everything we put into and onto our bodies, day in and day out. The process of detoxification is happening in our bodies all day, every day. However, the Western diet and modern lifestyle encourages us to put more toxins into and onto our bodies than our liver is capable of detoxing, resulting in the symptoms below. As the largest internal organ in the body (second largest organ after the skin), the liver requires more attention than we give it, if we want to achieve optimal health.
Symptoms indicating your liver needs love…
- Roll of fat around the liver (upper abdomen or for women, just below your bra)
- Anger/short temper & mood swings
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) & unbalanced hormones e.g. oestrogen dominance
- Flushed/red face
- Congested head & skin – including acne
- Brain fog
- Floaters in vision
- Waking between 2am & 4am each morning (time when liver detoxifies the most) – especially waking hot & bothered
- No appetite for breakfast upon waking & prefer coffee for breakfast
- High cholesterol (cholesterol is processed & eliminated by the liver)
- Bloating easily & difficulty digesting fats
- Fatigue/tiredness & feeling groggy/toxic
- Difficulty losing/managing weight
- Tight shoulders (carry stress in shoulders)
- White/yellow coated tongue
- Abnormally itchy skin
- Dark spots on skin (liver spots) – especially hands
- Bad breath (originates in digestive tract)
- Constipation (stools remove toxins from the body)
- Foul smelling stools
- Regular consumption of alcohol, caffeine, trans fats, refined sugar & synthetic substances
Natural ways to love your liver everyday…
- Leafy greens & green superfoods g. dandelion, spinach, silverbeet, spirulina powder, chlorella powder, wheat grass juice/powder & barley grass juice/powder
- Chlorophyll is the coloured pigment that colours these vegies bright green. It has a multitude of benefits to the body, including blood purification
- Eat at least 1-2 handfuls of leafy greens, plus 1 teaspoon of green powder or 1 shot of wheat/barley grass juice daily. More bitter = better for the liver!
- Brassica/cruciferous family of vegiesg. kale, cavolo nero, broccoli, broccolini, broccoli sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, rocket, bok choy, pak choy, watercress, mustard greens, radish, horseradish, mizuna & turnips
- Compounds in these vegies balance hormones, including eliminating excess oestrogen, which can cause cancer of reproductive organs e.g. breast cancer. Decreasing oestrogen may also reduce PMS & mood swings
- Eat at least one serve daily. Choose raw over cooked, as some of the beneficial compounds are lost during cooking
- Vegie juices & green smoothies
- Easy way to squeeze handfuls of leafy greens into one meal/snack. More greens can be consumed in liquid form than solid, because it’s time consuming & tiring chomping through a huge salad! Juices & smoothies are convenient on the run when we don’t have time to sit down to eat
- Drink one juice/smoothie daily. Mix up combinations for an array of vitamins & minerals…you are only limited by your imagination!
- Grapefruit & lemons
- Grapefruit is such an effective liver detoxifier that it can’t be eaten while taking many medications because it makes medications (toxins) breakdown too quickly. Eat one grapefruit daily with breakfast
- Sour & bitter are the two most important tastes for stimulating the liver to detoxify. Drink the squeezed juice from one lemon daily before breakfast
- Garlic, onions, leeks, shallots & eggs
- Sulphur is a mineral abundant in these foods, which is important for liver detoxification
- Eat at least one sulphur-containing food daily. Less cooking is better, as some sulphur is lost with heat
- Become flexitarian
- The liver prefers more plant food & less animal food, although ensure that you are consuming adequate protein from plant sources. Amino acids (building blocks of protein) are required for liver detoxification
- Decrease quantities of animal products (meat, poultry & dairy) to reduce congestion & toxic load. Replace some meat dishes with vegetarian dishes. Choose dairy-free milk over animal milk. Continue to eat eggs & fresh seafood for their beneficial nutrients
- Lengthen fasting time & shorten feeding window
- One reason why intermittent fasting is effective for weight loss is because it lengthens the amount of time the liver detoxes without interruption. Followers of this eating regime often eat within an 8hr window (e.g. 11am-7pm), therefore, fast for 16 hrs (7pm-11am). Fasting enhances liver function, allowing it to concentrate on eliminating stored toxins rather than continuously processing new things coming in all day (because let’s face it, most people snack all day!)
- Aim for at least 12 hrs between dinner & breakfast. If you eat breakfast 30 mins later & dinner 30 mins earlier, your liver has an extra 1hr to detox uninterrupted. If you eat breakfast 1hr later & dinner 1hr earlier, your liver has an extra 2 hrs to detox uninterrupted… get it?
- Support lymphatic system
- Full body exfoliate/dry body brush (towards the heart), exercise (best is bouncing on a rebounder) & massage, all circulate lymph flow. Toxins remain stagnant in our lymphatic system unless we stimulate it
- In an ideal world we would exfoliate/brush daily, exercise daily & have a massage weekly! Realistically we should aim to exfoliate or body brush 1-3 times weekly, exercise 3-5 times weekly & treat ourselves to a massage at the beginning of every season, or maybe monthly if you’re lucky!
- Reduce liver loaders – including alcohol, caffeine (coffee & energy drinks), trans fats (vegetable oils & margarine), refined sugar & synthetic substances e.g. pesticides, medications & unnatural cosmetics
- Eat natural, whole & unprocessed foods for vitamins & minerals, as the liver demands many nutrients to detox. Drink plenty of water to promote flushing of toxins out of the body. Ensure you eat sufficient fibre from plant foods to prevent reabsorption of toxins from the bowel, as constipation causes toxins to be absorbed back into the bloodstream from the bowel, when they’re supposed to be on the highway out of the body
- Eat organic if possible to avoid pesticides. Choose natural cosmetics – your skin absorbs everything into your bloodstream!
- Herbal Medicine & Teas
- Hepatoprotective herbs protect hepatocytes (liver cells) against toxic damage. These include Milk thistle, Globe artichoke, Schisandra, Andrographis, Bupleurum & Rosemary. Milk thistle & Globe artichoke are also Hepatotrophorestorative, meaning they restore integrity of liver tissue. These potent Herbal Medicines are dispensed by qualified Herbalists. The herb & dose is selected on an individual basis.
- Dandelion, chicory & green tea, or other liver/detox tea blends can be purchased by anyone wanting to support their liver. The guideline for herbal teas is generally 3 cups of strongly brewed tea per day
Olivia Kennedy ~ Wellpark College Graduate, Naturopath, Nutritionist & Herbalist