The liver is one of the most important organs of your body. It is found at the upper right hand side of your abdomen and is responsible for purifying blood, converting food sugars into energy for the body and producing bile to help break down fats in the intestine. Generally, the liver is able to cleanse itself by passing toxins into the intestine for proper excretion.
An unhealthy lifestyle of smoking, drinking and substance abuse as well as a regular diet of high fat and processed foods may introduce toxins that are harmful to your liver. As you accumulate more toxins from what you eat and drink, your liver may become clogged and function improperly. One way to help restore your liver's health is to adopt a liver cleanse plan.
A liver cleanse not only stops the build-up of harmful toxins in your liver but also results in some weight loss making your body feel and look better. While scientific studies have yet to show that certain foods can actually clean the liver, it is believed that a healthy eating plan can stop the introduction of toxins to help your liver cleanse itself naturally.
A liver-friendly diet involves the following:
Foods to avoid
The first step in a liver cleanse is to avoid foods that contain substances which are harmful and are not easily eliminated by your body. These include fatty foods, sugary drinks and sweets, shellfish, alcoholic beverages, and processed foods. Examples of processed foods are cured meats, luncheon meats, hotdogs, and other items that contain food additives and preservatives. Make it a habit to check the food label for ingredients with chemical sounding names that are difficult to pronounce. They remain in the liver and can cause allergies, inflammation and other health problems.
Healthy foods to eat
Regular intake of high fibre foods such as psyllium husks help your body eliminate toxins that your liver dumps into your intestines. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables that are naturally high in antioxidants and phytonutrients to support your liver. Choose green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and fruits like grapefruit, mango, lemon and papaya. You should also be able to maintain a good balance of healthy fats by consuming Omega-3 rich foods such as oily fish and moderate amounts of Omega-6 fatty acids such as olive oil.
Limit your animal protein by eating small portions of beef or chicken while favouring protein from beans, nuts and fish. Instead of adding salt and food additives when cooking, use herbs that bring out the natural flavours of foods such as garlic, cayenne pepper, ginger, turmeric and parsley.
While there is a lack of evidence to show that herbal supplements help cleanse the liver, certain vitamins such as the B-complex group, Vitamins-E and C, glutathione and taurine all promote proper liver function. Moreover, some herbal supplements may produce harmful side effects and potentially dangerous reactions when taken in combination with other medication and should not be used without professional advice.
Aside from consuming a healthy diet, you should also eliminate bad habits like smoking, drinking alcohol and using recreational drugs that contain more harmful substances than a bad diet can have.
To help your liver function well, it is best to go on a liver cleanse a few times in a year. With the right food choices and important lifestyle changes, you not only help your liver cleanse itself but you may also keep a healthy weight and boost energy levels for overall wellness.