What is a Liver Cleanse and Why Should You Care?
Most of us are guilty of not giving much thought to our livers, except maybe when contemplating that third shot of tequila, but its health is essential to your general health and weight. The liver is the second largest organ in your body and it is also the most overworked. Every toxin that you come into contact with must be filtered through the liver.
When it gets overworked, toxic compounds start building up and they begin to find their way into the organs, skin, fatty tissues and blood – this is what triggers inflammation. As a result, we begin to see and feel the development of some common ailments such as:
Even if you follow a healthy diet most of the time, it may not be enough to rid your liver of toxin buildup. A liver cleansing diet takes it a step further by helping eliminate the stored toxins therefore allowing your liver to reboot and rejuvenate. For a set period of time, 10-14 days is optimal, you will commit to eating foods and drinking beverages that are healing to the liver. If you commit to a program you can expect to see some amazing results.
Some of which may include:
Here Are Ten Simple Liver Detox Tips
Your liver plays a vital role in maintaining your health. In simple terms, it is like the equivalent of an oil filter in your car – it’s your body’s natural filtration process. Everything put inside your body gets filtered through your liver and it uses the nutrients (good stuff) to optimize your health and gets rid of the toxins (bad stuff that causes a lot of different ailments).
This process runs very smoothly when your liver is healthy and isn’t being overburdened with bad things. By bad things, I mean alcohol, fatty/processed foods, additives/preservatives, poor sleep, lack of exercise and chronic stress. All of these will impact your liver and unfortunately we are all guilty of not living a perfect lifestyle.
When you live a not so healthy lifestyle it will eventually catch up to you and your liver can become tired. It can even get sick. Consequently, it will make you sick. The good news is; you can turn things around rather quickly by cleansing your liver through a process called detoxification.
Here are 10 simple liver detox tips you can start implementing today:
Do's and Don’ts When Doing a Liver Cleanse
You go on a vacation to relieve yourself of stress and enjoy life. A liver cleanse is giving your liver a much needed break or providing it with a much deserved holiday. As I am sure you know from experience, a vacation can be divine but if planned poorly, it can be a disaster. The same goes with liver cleansing. So, here are some important do's and don’ts to keep in mind during your next liver cleanse.
Drink Lots of Water. The liver is like a cleaning mop – it is able to clean more efficiently with water in it. By drinking lots of water, you are hydrating the liver and allowing it to clean itself thoroughly.
Sleep Well. The liver does a lot of its work while you sleep (like absorbing and breaking down the fats that you ingested). Therefore, it is important to try and get a full eight hours of sleep.
Eat Carrots, Spinach and Sweet Potatoes. They are rich in beta carotene. Beta carotene helps the liver do its work more efficiently. Sweet potatoes also have glutathione, which flushes out toxins.
Add Broccoli and Cauliflower to Your Meals. They produce enzymes in your liver that fight carcinogens.
Exercise. Part of the reason you are tired and lack energy is because you aren’t exercising. Exercise will help to give you energy, sweat out toxins and strengthen your immune system. A strong immune system fights diseases, including those that might affect your liver.
Massage Your Liver. Press the skin where your liver lies underneath. It's on the upper right part of your body. Massage it up and down. Like a good massage, pressing your liver this way soothes it.
Limit Meat. Fatty meat is so hard for the liver to process so be sure to stay away from it. Protein is very important to your liver so make sure you take in quality cuts like chicken or turkey breast. Other good sources of protein are: whey protein powders, hemp protein and green super-foods like spirulina, chlorella and blue-green algae.
Don't Get Angry. Avoid placing yourself in a tense situation. Anger weakens the liver.
Don't Eat Canned Goods. The preservatives in them might be too much for the liver to process as well.
Don’t Eat Fish That May Contain Mercury. Stay away from fish like tuna and swordfish. Mercury is very damaging to the liver and can actually cause fatty liver disease.
Don’t Eat Fast Food. Most fast food is highly processed and full of additives, preservatives, sugar and unhealthy fat. All of these will impact your liver in a negative way and won’t support your liver detox plan.
Don't Just Sit All Day. For your organs to work, including your liver, you need to move your body. Put your sneakers on. Now.
Don't Smoke. And stay away from anyone who is smoking. Smoking inhibits the liver from cleaning your body. You already know what it does – so stay away from it.
Don't Drink Alcohol. Drinking alcoholic beverages damages your liver.
Love yourself. Love your liver. So cleanse it.
The Best Foods for a Liver Detox
By now you have a good idea of what a multi-tasking machine your liver is and why it is important to keep it healthy. But you should also know that like the nature of all machines, it can become overworked and break down. So how do you take care of this complicated machine? Is it as hard as enrolling in calculus again? Alas, the liver might be a work of genius but even a simpleton can help it get stronger. Here are some simple dietary tweaks to get your liver in tip-top shape and running like a well-oiled machine!
Add Garlic to Your Food. Garlic stimulates the enzymes in your liver that help clean the waste.
Eat Carrots as Often as You Can. The liver needs beta-carotene to do all its functions. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene and will provide the liver with much needed fuel.
Have You Ever Heard of Catechins? They are simply the antioxidants found in a glass of green tea. These antioxidants assist the liver. By drinking green tea, you are providing your liver with a partner to help get the job done.
Cilantro. The best thing about cilantro is that you can add it to your breakfast smoothie, lunch salad or main dish. It does a great job of eliminating heavy metal toxins from your body therein lightening the burden on your liver.
Lemon Water. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a cup of hot water and drink it every single morning first thing after waking up. Remember, this is not lemonade, so don’t add any sugar or sweetener. Hot lemon water helps your liver produce more enzymes that help it function better.
Turmeric Gives a Special Kick to a Recipe, Right? But you ought to know that it also helps in kicking out carcinogens in your food. These toxins are deadly and they are called as such because they can cause cancer. Adding this spice in your diet will supercharge your ability to cleanse toxins from your system.
Is There Really an External Liver Detox?
Can you really detox your liver externally? YES! With good old-fashioned castor oil. When you think of castor oil you may be thinking about a gross tasting tonic your mom made you take when you were a kid. Don’t worry, this remedy won’t be traumatizing – in fact it will be a very relaxing and peaceful experience.
Castor oil is a centuries old home remedy that is said to have many healing properties. However, there are some warnings about taking it orally so always consult with a doctor before ingesting this oil. How can this tonic help to support your liver without having to drink it? Castor oil has been found to have anti-inflammatory effects when used externally. You can apply the oil to your skin (stomach area) via a pack and it can be used to stimulate and detox the liver and gall bladder.
You will need 100% pure, cold-pressed castor oil, a piece of cloth (wool flannel is said to be best), and a hot water bottle or heating pad. If you don’t want to go searching for the supplies, you can purchase a castor oil pack online.