How to Clean Your Liver a Healthy Way
Maintaining a healthy liver depends on how well you take care of it. The liver is one of the largest organs in the body and is essential in metabolizing nutrients from foods, regulating digestion and detoxifying harsh substances from the body, notes MayoClinic.com 1. The most significant way you can keep your liver clean and healthy is through eating a nutritious diet, free of chemicals. The American Liver Foundation indicates that fatty foods, being overweight and overuse of damaging substances, such as alcohol or medications, can increase the risk of developing liver complications. Talk with your doctor before you begin any self-treatment.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Use artichoke to increase bile production. Bile is secreted by the liver and serves to remove toxins by way of the bowels. The Disabled World website suggests eating artichokes to increase bile production as a means for cleansing the liver. Leafy greens, endive and chicory also stimulate bile flow.
Foods Known to Damage the Liver
Take a milk thistle supplement. Milk thistle contains a flavonoid complex, which is important for protecting the cells against free radical damage and inflammation. The American Liver Society indicates that use of milk thistle can restore normal structure and function of a liver harmed by alcohol abuse as well as other damaging substances. Get a milk thistle supplement containing 70 to 210 mg of silymarin, a liver detoxifying agent, to take three times a day. Remember to discuss your plans to use milk thistle with your physician before you begin.
Add garlic and onion to your meals. According to Disabled World, garlic and onions contain allicin, a sulphur-containing compound that promotes liver detoxification. Allicin occurs best when garlic or onions are finely chopped or crushed. Add these to your entrees at the end of cooking to receive the most benefits from the allicin.
Liver Flush for Weight Loss
Consume less sodium and saturated fats. The Hepatitis Foundation International notes that sodium, contained in salt, can cause fluid retention and swelling when consumed in high amounts. Do not add salt to your meals and avoid foods with high-sodium content, such as canned meats or vegetables, and certain condiments. Eating foods lower in fats is also important for cleansing a damaged liver. Try reading food labels to determine fat content and sodium content. Stick with fresh foods, such as produce, lean meats and whole grains.
Drink lemon water daily. Lemon is a natural cleanser for the body. Mix freshly squeezed lemon juice into a cup of hot water and drink in the morning on an empty stomach. Lemon will increase bile production and stimulate your bowels. Do not add sugar to your drink.
Do not cook garlic and onions for too long as this will decrease the detoxifying effect. Fruits, such as apples, berries and oranges, contain antioxidants, which are good for protecting the liver from chemical toxins.
Avoid drinking excess amounts of alcohol to prevent liver damage, notes MayoClinic.com. If you have a drinking problem, do not drink alcohol at all as this will cause liver damage.
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- MayoClinic.com: Liver Problems
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Milk Thistle. Updated September 2016.
- Abenavoli L, Capasso R, Milic N, Capasso F. Milk thistle in liver diseases: past, present, future. Phytother Res. 2010;24(10):1423-32. doi:10.1002/ptr.3207
- Salmi HA, Sarna S. Effect of silymarin on chemical, functional, and morphological alterations of the liver. A double-blind controlled study. Scand J Gastroenterol. 1982;17(4):517-21. doi:10.3109/00365528209182242
- Seeff LB, Curto TM, Szabo G, et al. Herbal product use by persons enrolled in the hepatitis C Antiviral Long-Term Treatment Against Cirrhosis (HALT-C) Trial. Hepatology. 2008;47(2):605-12. doi:10.1002/hep.22044
- Fried MW, Navarro VJ, Afdhal N, et al. Effect of silymarin (milk thistle) on liver disease in patients with chronic hepatitis C unsuccessfully treated with interferon therapy: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2012;308(3):274-82. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.8265
- Ebrahimpour koujan S, Gargari BP, Mobasseri M, Valizadeh H, Asghari-jafarabadi M. Effects of Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn. (silymarin) extract supplementation on antioxidant status and hs-CRP in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytomedicine. 2015;22(2):290-6. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2014.12.010
- Kazazis CE, Evangelopoulos AA, Kollas A, Vallianou NG. The therapeutic potential of milk thistle in diabetes. Rev Diabet Stud. 2014;11(2):167-74. doi:10.1900/RDS.2014.11.167
- Ebrahimpour, K.; Gargari, B.; Mobasseri, M. et al. Effects of Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn. (silymarin) extract supplementation on antioxidant status and hs-CRP in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytomedicine. 2015 Feb 15;22(2):290-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.phymed.2014.12.010.
- Fried, M.; Navarro, V.; Afdhal, N. et al. Effect of silymarin (milk thistle) on liver disease in patients with chronic hepatitis C unsuccessfully treated with interferon therapy: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2012 Jul 18;308(3):274-82. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2012.8265.
- Rambaldi, A.; Jacobs, B.; Iaquinto G, Gluud C. Milk thistle for alcoholic and/or hepatitis B or C liver diseases--a systematic Cochrane hepato-biliary group review with meta-analyses of randomized clinical trials. Am J Gastroenterol. 2005 Nov;100(11):2583-91. DOI: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2005.00262.x.
- Salmi, H. and Sarna, S. Effect of silymarin on chemical, functional, and morphological alterations of the liver. A double-blind controlled study. Scan J Gastroenterol. 1982;17:517–21.
- Seeff, L.; Curto, T.; Szabo, G. et al. Herbal product use by persons enrolled in the Hepatitis C Antiviral Long-Term Treatment Against Cirrhosis (HALT-C) Trial. Hepatology. 2008;47(2):605-12. DOI: 10.1002/hep.22044.
- Voroneanu, L.; Nistor, I.; Dumea, R. et al. Silymarin in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. J Diabetes Res. 2016;2016:5147468. DOI: 10.1155/2016/5147468.
Aubri John has been a contributing researcher and writer to online physical and mental health oriented journals since 2005. John publishes online health and fitness articles that coincide with her licensed clinical skills in addictions, psychology and medical care. She has a master's degree in clinical social work and a Ph.D. in health psychology.