What Is a Liver Detox?

Posted on June 15, 2021

Liver detox products are becoming more common because people are looking for a quick fix for common liver issues. Are you showing signs of a struggling liver? Could you benefit from a liver detox?

Read on to learn what you can do to improve the health of your liver. 

Is a Liver Detox Possible?

The truth is that the liver naturally detoxes itself, so your job is to make healthier food choices, exercise, and abstain from bad habits. The following tips are going to assist your liver to do what it is designed to do. 

What the Liver Does for You

All of the organs are important, but the liver has the most jobs out of them all and works the hardest.

The liver does the following actions:

  • Excretes bile
  • Regulates chemical levels in the blood
  • Metabolizes carbohydrates, fats, and cholesterol
  • Detoxes and purifies the blood
  • Stores energy

You can show your liver some appreciation by eating healthy, exercising regularly, and abstaining from abusing toxic substances. 

How to Tell if You Need a Liver Detox

Other than being told by your doctor that you have a problem with your liver, how do you know if you need a liver detox? Here are some key signs:

  • Off coloured stool/urine
  • Yellow skin or eyes
  • Skin issues
  • Digestion problems
  • Low energy

If you have more than one of these symptoms you may want to talk to your doctor to see if a liver detox is right for you.

Safest Way to Detox

Ease into your cleanse instead of rushing into it to avoid shocking your system. Especially if this is your first time doing a liver detox and you are a heavy drinker, a habitual cigarette smoker, or have had a very poor diet for a long time, doing too much at once can do more harm than good.

Think Anti-Inflammatory

Inflammation is a killer and a chronic issue for most people. Damage to the liver from excess alcohol, drugs, or neglect can cause inflammation.

A healthy diet is key in fighting inflammation, so eat fermented foods and take probiotics. Plenty of leafy greens and spices in your diet. And add in more sleep hours for extra help.

Stay Hydrated

Looking for a cheap, easy, and quick liver flush? Drinking water is actually the best way to cleanse your liver and keep the bad stuff filtered out.

Water alone is a miracle worker for detoxing, but when you add a wedge of lemon it becomes a super-powerful substance. A glass of lemon water first thing in the morning boosts the liver flushing out your toxins. 

Liver Cleanse Diets

Food is an important part of bodily functions, especially the liver. Make better decisions when grocery shopping and meal planning to see drastic changes in your liver health and overall health.

Experts say that a healthy diet works better than any liver cleanse product or fad gimmick on the market. take it back to the basics of eating whole foods, and eating clean. Diet is is a lifestyle.

Leafy Greens

A diet with a ton of leafy greens in it has lots of antioxidants and plenty of fibre. Fibre helps to cleanse the liver, and the other nutrients in the greens help to protect it from damage and disease. Add these greens into your diet:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Artichokes
  • Dandelion
  • Arugula

These greens can be eaten raw and will give the most nutrients that way. They can also be sauteed, or put into soups. 

Black Beans

Beans in general are said to be good for the liver, as they prevent fatty buildup. Specifically, black beans because they contain a mineral that is not found in most vegetables and fruit. Selenium plays a key role in detoxing the liver, and also boosting the production of enzymes.

Dark Berries

A variety of berries are said to be good for the liver such as blackberries, raspberries, and cranberries. Berries are packed with antioxidants called polyphenols that help to protect the liver. They also help to repair damage from harmful free radicals.

Drink Coffee

Coffee lovers will probably love hearing this one. A few cups of decaffeinated or regular coffee per day can help to fight against cirrhosis of the liver. Coffee also helps to lower abnormal levels of enzymes in the liver.

Green Tea

Green tea is a powerful natural liver detoxifier and protects against damage. Drinking green tea can help with weight loss and a variety of other health concerns.

Turmeric Root

This root is a superfood and possibly one of nature's biggest gifts. Cooking with fresh turmeric is the best way to consume it, and gives the most health benefits. Great in soups, tea, and Indian cuisine, or stir fry. 

Beetroot

If you type in "liver detox" beetroot always pops up. Beets help with inflammation and also prevent fat from depositing in the liver. What is even more impressive is that beets help boost natural detoxing enzymes.

Beets are versatile and can be eaten raw in salads or smoothies, roasted as a side dish, or used in stews and soups. Though they have an earthy savoury taste, beets can also be used in desserts. 

Dandelion Root

That little yellow "weed" that pops up in your yard every spring has some amazing health benefits. Every part of the dandelion is edible and beneficial, including the root. Most commonly boiled into a tea, the roots help to detox the liver and ease symptoms of liver disease.

Neem Leaf

Because of its extreme bitterness, neem leaf is most often consumed in supplement form. The bark, leaves, and seeds of the plant are used. A powerful detoxifier, neem also helps strengthen the liver and aids in digestion.

Milk Thistle

An ingredient of many detox products on the market, milk thistle is effective but could take a while to kick in. Since it is not something that starts working immediately, it is better to be taken daily even when you are not doing a cleanse.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Improve your liver function by eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, or taking supplements. In small amounts, this can be very beneficial for the liver, but overdoing it with omega-3 and can actually do more harm than good. Use during your detox, but follow the dosage directions carefully.

High Fibre

A diet with high amounts of fibre is key because fibrous foods help to keep regular bowel movements. Whole grains, beans, apples, and broccoli are just a few high-fibre foods that keep things moving.

Cold-Pressed Oils

Even though a high-fat diet is bad for the liver, a healthy amount of cold-pressed good fats can be beneficial for the liver. If you are going to use oil for cooking, baking, or salad dressings choose ones like cold-pressed olive oil or avocado oil.

Juice Cleanse

We have talked a lot about the foods that are essential for a healthy liver, but let's go in the opposite direction for a minute and talk about eliminating solid foods to cleanse the liver. An organic juice with fresh beets, lemon, and other healthy ingredients taken for a few days will flush out and rev up the liver.

Foods to Avoid

Did you know that eating certain foods can lead to an unhealthy liver? Here are some foods to cut out, or limit in your diet:

  • "Bad" cholesterols
  • Red meats and processed meats
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol

Eliminating foods from your diet can be very challenging, especially these foods which can be addictive.

Exercise

How is a lack of exercise damaging your liver? Without exercise, fat builds up around the liver, causing fatty liver disease. A regular exercise routine keeps the liver healthy by getting rid of fatty acids, keeping your body at a healthy weight, and decreases stress on the liver. 

A healthy amount of exercise per day is around 30 minutes. If you are looking to lose weight, you will need to increase that time. 

Get Better Sleep

It is not easy for everyone to get more sleep due to work schedules, family demands, an overactive brain. So, how can you add more sleep into your life?

Cut off the caffeine intake earlier in the day, add chamomile tea to your evening, take a warm bath or shower before bed, turn off your TV and put down your electronic devices. All of this plus adding in a daily exercise routine can help you exert more energy, and take it down at a decent time of day.

Self-Massage

Performing a light pressured massage done with coconut or olive oil can help to flush out your liver. Massaging the path of the intestines in a clockwise direction can encourage emptying the bowels.

Another self-massage technique that helps detox is gently massaging the lymph nodes and stroking towards the heart. Lymphatic drainage massage is simple enough to do at home, but searching for a professional therapist in your area that offers lymphatic drainage massage is just a click away.

How to Support a Healthy Liver

Weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight make a big difference in supporting a healthy liver. Obviously, this one is going to take time, effort, and dedication. But, for those that are overweight and struggling with detoxing it might be a good idea to start making a plan to cut out the bad foods, and adding in the good moves (exercise, that is.) 

Stool Check

The colour, texture, and even density of your stool can tell you a lot about what is going on inside of your body. Examining your poo may not sound very exciting, but it is very important, especially when you are detoxing. Check out this Bristol stool chart for more details and visual images for comparison.

The Effects of Alcohol on the Liver

Alcohol abuse takes a major toll on the liver and can lead to failure or disease. If you really want to detoxify your liver, consider abstaining from drinking alcohol during your detox, or quitting altogether.

Medications

Prescription medications that are designed to help us can have dangerous side effects including liver damage. Reading the labels of your prescriptions may help to get ahead of the damage if you can get your doctor to switch brands or types. Even acetaminophen and amoxicillin are on the list of liver-damaging drugs.

How Not to Detox

There are right ways and wrong ways to go about detoxing the liver. The first rule is to focus on one detox at a time. Do not attempt to detox two organs at once.

If you have major health complications or are pregnant or nursing, it is best to consult with your doctor before starting any type of liver detox. Do not ignore when you are hungry, always listen to your body. Lastly, just as you went into it gently, come out of the detox gently instead of jumping right back into your old eating habits.

Digestible Detox Products on the Market

The shelves are lined with products that are labelled as liver detoxing. There are programs with a month-long supply of supplements, vitamin packs, powdered drink mixes, and teas that claim they will detox your liver and help you to lose weight.

The claims of weight loss are misguiding as there is no evidence of a liver cleanse helping people to lose weight. However, weight loss can lower the risk of fatty buildup around the liver. During a liver detox, you may lose weight naturally because you are cutting out the bad foods, this is not the ultimate goal of the process.

Read the labels before making any purchases. If the claims sound outrageous, they probably are. And, if the ingredients are not natural, do not buy them. 

Detoxing Foot Baths

Are detoxing foot baths a hoax, or do they really work? According to a reflexology foot chart, your liver reflex point can be accessed through the center of the sole of your foot, and pressing it can stimulate the organ. But does soaking your feet in an ionic bath draw out toxins from the liver?

Researchers say that studies show after people have used the bath filled with positive and negative ions (electrolytes) that their bodies did not register any differently than before they had used the detox bath. These results lead them to believe that the ionic foot baths are a marketing hoax, and do not work as they claim.

There are also pads for your feet that claim to be detoxing footpads. These, too have shown researchers no evidence of detoxing the liver or kidneys. Placing a pad on your feet will change colour, showing a dark residue, claiming to be the toxins that were drawn out of the liver.

Love Your Liver

A liver detox plays an important role in healing your liver and changing the future of your health. Make better decisions when it comes to food, drink, and exercise to cleanse your liver.

To make better choices about health insurance, reach out to Insurdinary for a free quote. 

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