Food is medicine: Detox your liver via food + healthy habits

Updated: Apr 3, 2019




The liver is the second largest organ in the human body. It has many important metabolic functions. (1)



Essential functions that play a very important role in the body from:


· filtering everything we eat

· converting nutrients in our diets into substances that the body can use

· supplying cells

· converting toxins into waste products

· cleansing our blood

· storing minerals, iron and vitamin A

· destroying old blood cells

…and much more. All paramount to keeping our liver healthy and digestive system strong (2,3)


When our liver has been overtaxed and excessively burned by toxicants (chemicals, poor food, pollution, stress) it can begin to malfunction causing a laundry list of health woes.


· Frequent Headaches

· Low appetite

· Excessive Fatigue (tough time falling asleep)

· Experiencing gas/ flatulence

· Bad breath

· Body Odor

· Heavy bloating

· Inability to lose weight

· Hormonal imbalances

· Premenstrual syndrome

· Accumulation of heavy metals

· Constipation

· Stress

· Acne in skin (unusual place per individual)

· Excessive abdominal fat

… and more. (see references for list of woes sources)


All telltale warnings that can be improved by detoxing our liver via food.


Let’s start by debunking some myths that liver cleansing supplements are important/helpful for health maintenance or after overindulgence, safe and a healthy way to lose weight and/or detox the liver.


Not all products are created equally – these products are not regulated by the FDA and have not been adequately tested in clinical trials. (4)


Although some ingredients used in liver cleanses have shown positive results when consumed—for instance, milk thistle has been shown to decrease liver inflammation (5) and turmeric extract (6) has been shown to protect against liver injury. Despite these positive results there have not been adequate clinical trial data in humans, enough to recommend usage for prevention. (7) (8)


Food is medicine and as such can play a positive impact to improving our liver by applying it to our lifestyle in a way to help detoxify our bodies.


Detoxification mean or indicates a technique that is designed to enhance removal of all toxins from human body, toxins that if left in the body may cause harm or promote illness. (9)


The goal when aiming to detox the liver is to:


· Decrease exposure to known toxins

· Increase excretory functions to increase excretion of toxins that have been mobilized from adipose and extracellular matrix stores into blood

· Improving liver ability to metabolize toxins to improve overall health


Detox your liver via food + healthier habits:


· Avoid processed food containing solid fats, processed sugar, high in calories- but low in nutrition

· Avoid food you may be allergic/sensitive to (gluten, diary, peanuts, eggs)

· Adapt a well-balanced plate for each meal

· Adapt liver friendly foods that help reduce inflammation, boost glutathione production (antioxidant that helps bind toxins through urine and bile), bind heavy metals and toxins, stimulate bile flow.

· Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate ½ in body weight in oz of water, add 10-15 oz per every hour of exercise

· Cut down or eliminate coffee

· Replace with green tea

· Avoid alcohol

· Avoid medications over the counter

· Avoid supplements

· Exercise

· Practice self-care by adding Epsom salt & ginger with essential oil bath 1-2 days per week to help reduce stress

· Eliminate harsh chemical skin products, house cleaning products and detergents

· Prioritize sleep 7-9 hrs or more.


Ultimately, a liver detox is simply positive lifestyle changes that will help promote better health. There is no magic button, fast results, but small changes done through daily habits for a healthier liver.


Be patient, be consistent, and most importantly seek guidance of health professional to help you improve your health.


Liver friendly foods:

· Almonds

· Beets

· Berries

· Broccoli sprouts

· Fermented foods (kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha)


Glutathione friendly foods:

· Tea

· Asparagus

· Spinach

· Avo



References


How does the liver work? (2016, August 22). Retrieved March 1, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279393/


Detoxing Your Liver: Fact Versus Fiction. (n.d.). Retrieved April 1, 2019, from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/articles-and-answers/prevention/detoxing-your-liver-fact-versus-fiction


Detoxing Your Liver: Fact Versus Fiction. (n.d.). Retrieved April 1, 2019, from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/articles-and-answers/prevention/detoxing-your-liver-fact-versus-fiction


Federico, A., Dallio, M., & Loguercio, C. (2017, January 24). Silymarin/Silybin and Chronic Liver Disease: A Marriage of Many Years. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/22/2/191


Gupta, S. C., Sung, B., Kim, J. H., Prasad, S., Li, S., & Aggarwal, B. B. (2012, August 13). Multitargeting by turmeric, the golden spice: From kitchen to clinic. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/mnfr.201100741


Klein, A. V., & Kiat, H. (2014, December 18). Detox diets for toxin elimination and weight management: A critical review of the evidence. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/jhn.12286


Hoffman, M. (n.d.). Liver (Anatomy): Picture, Function, Conditions, Tests, Treatments. Retrieved March 25, 2019, from https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/picture-of-the-liver#1


Swain M. G. (2006). Fatigue in liver disease: pathophysiology and clinical management. Canadian journal of gastroenterology = Journal canadien de gastroenterologie, 20(3), 181–188.


Zhao, X., & Wong, P. (2016). Managing Sleep Disturbances in Cirrhosis. Scientifica, 2016, 6576812. doi:10.1155/2016/6576812

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Scarleth Castro,BA Nutritionist, Health & Fitness Educator

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