- Diet & Weight Loss
How to Cleanse the Liver for Maximum Detoxification
A healthy liver is the key to overall detoxification, since a fully-functioning liver processes toxins that enter the body: hormones, alcohol, pesticides, and other substances. This important organ also has a role in protein synthesis and maintaining the body's hormonal balance.
How Does the Liver Work to Detoxify the Body?
Our body's metabolic processes—the biochemical reactions that keep us alive—naturally produce toxic waste material. One of the liver's jobs is to filter those toxins out and change them into less harmful chemicals and aid their expulsion from the body. A good example of this is naturally-occurring ammonia, which the liver converts into urea before passing it on to the kidneys for reabsorption or urination.
The liver also filters out and transforms the toxins we put in our body, such as alcohol, medications, and caffeine; synthesizes many proteins we use; and produces chemicals which aid digestion. One principle of a liver-healthy diet is to limit consuming things that make the liver work too hard.
Eating a balanced diet and moderating intake of drugs and alcohol will help maintain liver function in the long term. What follows is a short-duration liver detox for individuals with healthy livers, and is not meant to be carried out over a long period of time. Take care: individuals diagnosed with liver disease are often prescribed special diets, and if that's the case for you, follow your doctor's advice in caring for your liver. Always consult with a medical professional before undergoing a diet or detox regime.
What Are the Signs of a Toxic Liver?
How do you know if your liver is overloaded or under-performing? Even if you're not suffering from a diagnosed liver disease, there may be subtle signs that your liver could be doing better.
When considering whether or not to do a liver detox, ask yourself if you suffer from any of the following on a regular basis:
- Mood swings
- Hormonal imbalance
- Skin problems (such as acne)
Foods That Promote Liver Detoxification
According to holistic nutritionists, some foods and herbs can help optimize your liver's functioning, helping it process toxins and proteins with greater efficiency. Many of these foods contain plant flavonoids or catechins, which can aid liver performance; or have the ability to neutralize the metals and chemicals in our diets.
Boost your liver health by adding the following foods to your diet:
- Bitter greens and herbs, such as arugula
- Dandelion greens
- Milk thistle
Milk thistle and dandelion can be conveniently consumed as herbal teas.
Foods to Avoid for a Healthy Liver
Foods which make your liver work harder and possibly under-perform are:
- Animal products, such as meat and dairy
- Processed foods
- Non-organic produce
Supplements for Liver Health and Detoxification
Along with eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones, you can promote your liver's health with supplements.
Two popular liver-cleansing supplements are:
- Renew Life Liver Detox: a natural liver cleanse taken in the morning and at night. It is currently the top-selling detox kit. It contains the liver-friendly herbs mentioned above: dandelion and milk thistle.
- Now Liver Cleanse: milk thistle is the top botanical ingredient in this cleanse.
Two-Day Liver Detox You Can Do at Home
If you already eat well and don't want to purchase supplements, you can also clean out your liver with this two-day liver fast.
- When you wake up, drink one glass of filtered water with fresh-squeezed lemon juice.
- Throughout the day, drink at least 64 ounces of fresh fruit and vegetable juice, including juices made from the liver-friendly ingredients listed above.
- Drink herbal tea instead of coffee or caffeinated teas. Look for milk thistle and dandelion teas in your local health store.
- An enema or colonic can also really help the cleansing process.
- Be sure to include daily light exercise.
Recipe: Liver Cleansing Juice
- Prep time: 5 min
- Ready in: 5 min
- Yields: 1 serving
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1 apple
- 1 pear
- 1 small knob of ginger
- 1 small beet
- Wash and chop all ingredients
- Run through a juicer
|Serving size: 1 entire recipe|
|Calories from Fat||9|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 1 g||2%|
|Cholesterol 0 mg|
|Sodium 82 mg||3%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
This liver-cleansing juice recipe is also a good source of calcium and iron, and contains 167% of your daily required Vitamin C!