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Nature's Temple / News  / Simple Guide to Liver Cleansing

Simple Guide to Liver Cleansing

Your health and well-being depends on how well your body removes and purges toxins. With exposure to environmental toxins, toxic body care products and processed foods, the majority of people are in desperate need of a serious detox. A liver cleanse is a great way to do this.

One of the main ways that the body rids itself of toxins is through the liver. In fact, the liver is one of the hardest working organs in the body. It works tirelessly to detoxify our blood; produce the bile needed to digest fat; break down hormones; and store essential vitamins, minerals and iron. When liver function is not optimal, we cannot digest our food properly, especially fats.

Some of the essential functions of the liver include:

  • Processing nutrients absorbed by the intestines so they are more efficiently absorbed
  • Regulating blood composition to balance protein, fat and sugar
  • Destroying old red blood cells
  • Producing essential chemicals to help blood clot properly
  • Breaking down and metabolizing alcohol and medications
  • Producing essential proteins and cholesterol
  • Removing toxins from the bloodstream, including bilirubin, ammonia and others
  • Storing of minerals, iron and vitamin A

For the liver to take care of the body, it must be able to perform optimally. When many people think of liver disease, they think of alcohol-induced cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is a serious health condition, but contrary to popular thought, alcoholism is not the only cause.

In fact, there are a number of factors that can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver damage, including:

  • Some medications
  • Chronic malnutrition
  • Eating poisonous wild mushrooms and exposure to chemicals

Cirrhosis occurs when scar tissue replaces the healthy cells in the liver. As the scar tissue continues to grow, the liver’s ability to function is diminished. Liver failure is the next biological step and occurs when the scar tissue has created so much damage that it no longer functions.

Liver Cleanse Effectively Removes Toxins

Today, we are faced with so many environmental toxins occurring in our homes, places of work and in our food supply. It is essential for our general health and well-being to keep our livers functioning properly. Below are some of the risk factors associated with impaired liver function.

  • Low potassium levels
  • Moderate to High Alcohol consumption
  • Blood transfusions prior to 1992
  • Exposure to certain industrial chemicals and environmental toxins
  • Obesity and a diet high in saturated fats, and processed foods
  • Tattoos or body piercings
  • High levels of triglycerides in the blood
  • Prescription medications including acetaminophen
  • Viral infections
  • Autoimmune diseases

Signs and Symptoms Your Liver Isn’t Functioning Optimally

If you have recently noticed any of the symptoms listed below, you could be suffering from impaired liver function. It is particularly important to consider these symptoms if you identify with one or more of the risk factors mentioned above.

  • Bloating and gas
  • Acid reflux and heartburn
  • Constipation
  • Skin and/or eyes that are yellowish (a symptom of jaundice)
  • Inability to lose weight
  • High blood pressure
  • Moodiness, anxiety or depression
  • Dark urine
  • Rosacea
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Excessive sweating
  • Bruise easily
  • Poor appetite

Fortunately, you can help improve your liver’s functioning. By doing a liver cleanse, you can start to feel better in just a couple of weeks.

5-Step Liver Cleanse

Follow these six steps to help boost your health and vitality:

  1. Remove toxic foods from your diet.
  2. Drink raw vegetable juice.
  3. Load up on potassium-rich foods.
  4. Colonics
  5. Take high quality St Mary’s Thistle, Dandelion, Ginger and other liver cleansing herbs

1. Remove Toxic Foods from Your Diet

If you are eating a diet high in processed foods, you are putting the health of your liver at risk.
Hydrogenated oils, refined sugar, convenience foods and lunch meats are notoriously toxic to your system.

Hydrogenated oils, also known as “trans fats,” have higher levels of saturated fat. The chemical structure of the oil itself has been altered to increase shelf life. Consumption of trans fats dramatically increases the risk for heart disease by 25 percent or more. In addition, it is believed that trans fats cause problems with our immune system and can lead to inflammation throughout the body.

Added nitrates and nitrites, commonly found in convenience foods, fast foods and lunch meats, have been linked to serious health conditions. These chemicals are used to preserve foods to make them last longer, inhibit bacteria growth and preserve color. Replace these foods immediately with healthy choices.

2. Drink Raw Vegetable Juice

It can be nearly impossible to eat all of the raw vegetables you need to make your liver cleanse effective. However, by juicing a variety of raw vegetables, you can easily get the 4–5 servings of fresh, organic vegetables you need. Even vegetables that aren’t your favorites can be disguised and enjoyed in a fresh vegetable juice!

With impaired liver function, juicing vegetables has the added benefit of making the vegetables easier to digest and more readily available for absorption.

Vegetables ideal for a liver cleanse include cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. While that combination may not sound very enjoyable, you can add other vegetables that you enjoy to the mix including carrots, cucumber, beetroot and greens.

All of these vegetables help to reduce acid levels in the body, helping to create a better pH balance. Experiment with your favourite flavour combinations; you can add fresh herbs including parsley, mint and others to make the juices more enjoyable.

Fresh, organic carrots are essential to any liver cleanse. In the liver, the beta carotene is converted into vitamin A to help flush out the toxins in the body while reducing fat in the liver.

The high fibre content helps support a healthy digestive tract, hastening the elimination of toxins in your body. The ginger root helps to soothe the digestive tract, reduce intestinal gas, and has strong anti-inflammatory compounds. The fresh oranges in this recipe not only add tangy sweetness, but also add significant vitamin C, additional vitamin A and vitamin B6.

3. Load Up on Potassium-Rich Foods

Are you getting the recommended 90 mmol/day (3510 mg/day) for adults per day of potassium? Chances are, you aren’t. Potassium-rich foods help to lower systolic blood pressure, lower cholesterol and support a healthy cardiovascular system, in addition to helping cleanse your liver. If you have been tempted to take potassium supplements, instead add these healthful foods to your diet.

Sweet Potatoes

Surprisingly, it is not the banana that is the richest in potassium. It is the sweet potato. A single medium sweet potato contains nearly 700 milligrams of potassium, not to mention the high fibre and beta carotene content.

A sweet potato only has 131 calories, yet is rich with vitamins B6, C, D, magnesium and iron. While naturally sweet, the sugars actually are slowly released into the bloodstream through the liver, without causing a spike in blood sugar.

Spinach

Fresh organic spinach is easily added to your diet, and it’s a good source of potassium, containing 840 milligrams per serving.

Beans

White beans, kidney beans and lima beans are all rich in potassium, protein and fibre. Swap chick peas for one of the above beans for one of these potassium-rich beans in your favourite hummus recipe. Enjoy it with carrot sticks and celery sticks.

Blackstrap Molasses

Just 2 teaspoons of this rich all-natural syrup contains 10 percent of the daily-recommended amount of potassium. In addition to potassium, blackstrap molasses is rich with iron, calcium, manganese and copper.

Incorporate blackstrap molasses into your diet by replacing other natural sweeteners with it. You can use it to create barbecue sauces and to top oatmeal or quinoa porridge in the mornings. Two teaspoons added to coffee intensifies the richness of the coffee, while lowering the acidic taste.

Bananas

And finally, add a banana to your favourite smoothie. While in comparison to the other high potassium foods on this list, the banana’s 470 milligrams of potassium are only part of the story. Bananas assist in digestion, and help to release toxins and heavy metals from the body — all of which are essential during a liver cleanse.

Please note: If you have high levels of potassium in your kidneys, foods rich in potassium should be consumed moderately.

4. Colonics

Colonics help with constipation, reduce fatigue, and aid in liver detoxification. During the enema, organic coffee is retained in your bowel, allowing the fluid to enter the liver through the intestinal wall.

This has a stimulating effect that increases bile flow, helping to jump-start both your gallbladder and your liver. This sparks the production of the chemical glutathione, a strong cleansing compound that helps to release the build-up of toxins in your system.

Eliminating the toxins during a liver cleanse is critical so they don’t build up and are moved quickly out of your system.

5. Take high quality St Mary’s Thistle, Dandelion, Nettle, Ginger and other Liver Cleansing Herbs

St Mary’s Thistle

Milk Thistle is considered the “king” of detoxifying herbs, making it ideal for a liver cleanse. Milk thistle helps to eliminate the buildup of heavy metals, prescription medications, environmental pollutants and alcohol in the liver.

In addition, it helps to reduce the negative effects on the liver after chemotherapy and radiation. The active ingredient silymarin helps to strengthen the cell walls in the liver, while supporting healthy regeneration.

Dandelion Root

Most homeowners hate the dandelion, as it volunteers to populate yards every spring. But, this flower, and its root, is actually packed with vitamins and minerals.

Dandelion root has a natural diuretic effect, allowing your liver to more quickly eliminate toxins. It also helps to strengthen the immune system, balance blood sugar levels, relieve heartburn, and soothe digestive upset.

A Quick-Start 24-Hour Liver Cleanse

In addition to the healthy foods and supplements mentioned above, you can give your liver a boost by starting with a quick, 24-hour cleanse. In the seven days prior to this short cleanse, eat kale, cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, citrus fruits, asparagus, beets and celery. Avoid any processed foods, and eat free-range organic meats, refined carbohydrates and gluten sparingly. This preparation will help facilitate the cleanse.

During the week you are preparing your body, try my Detox Drink. It boosts your energy and helps you to detox and cleanse the liver. This recipe calls for apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and water.

Then, during the week of your cleanse try this liver detox drink. This recipe will help support your body while cleansing:

Liver Detox Drink

  1. Dilute cranberry juice with a ratio of 3 parts water to 1 part cranberry juice.
  2. Add 1/4 teaspoon each of nutmeg and ginger and a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon into a tea infuser and let steep in simmering water for 20 minutes.
  3. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  4. Add the juice of 3 oranges and 3 lemons and stir. If the mixture is too tart, sweeten with your favourite all-natural sweetener.
  5. Sip throughout the day.

You should consume a minimum of 2 litres of this mixture and 2 litres of water. After one day of the cranberry juice blend, reintroduce the foods you ate in preparation for the cleanse.

Liver Cleanse Key Points

  • Cleansing and detoxing the liver and colon helps to clear pesticides, medications, heavy metals and the remnants of cancer therapy out of your system, resulting in a healthy liver.
  • To keep your liver healthy through the years, periodically do a 24-hour liver cleanse
  • Maintain a healthy diet void of processed foods, and high in vegetables, legumes and whole grains.

 

Trudy Kither
Owner

Trudy Kither, is an accredited Naturopath, Nutritionist and Herbalist who blends her Traditional Medicine and Nutrition training with her love of creating personalised medicines.

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