There are many reasons why you might need to detoxify the liver. It could be to "spring clean" the liver and get rid of toxins, to lose weight and start eating healthier, to recover from a liver dysfunction or to quit an alcohol or drug addiction. But no matter what the reason, a cleansing can restore vitality, boost the immune system and renew health.
Detoxifying the Liver
By detoxifying the liver, you not only get rid of unwanted toxins, but you also restore health. In order for the liver to function properly, you need to make wise choices about the foods you eat.
Before you start any diet or detoxification, you should seek medical advice from a health professional knowledgable about detoxifying the liver.
Eating Healthy for the Liver
According to Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D., C.N.S., low-carbohydrate diets encourage the eating of excess meat and discourage the eating of fiber-rich foods. This type of diet inhibits proper digestion and overloads the liver, Gittleman says. When the liver is overloaded, it cannot break down fats, and a person is more apt to gain weight. Getting rid of the toxins in your body offers more energy, weight loss, enhanced memory, healthy skin, an improved elimination system, fewer food and chemical sensitivities, improved cell regeneration and better digestion, she says.
Detoxifying the Liver and Losing Weight
There are many liver cleansing diets, but all emphasize fresh fruits, vegetables and whole foods such as brown rice. Dr. Sandra Cabot, a liver doctor, says if you want to control your body weight and detoxify the liver, then eat plenty of raw foods. Cabot recommends going on an eight-week eating plan to control weight and detoxify:
About 30 to 40 percent of your diet should be raw fruits and vegetables. Try and eat a raw fruit or vegetable with every meal.
Eat avocados, bananas, mangos, papayas, pineapples and sprouts. The contain helpful enzymes.
Makes sure you get enough vitamin C by eating acerolla cherries, rose hips, broccoli, grapefruit, kale, kiwi, oranges, strawberries and cayenne.
Eat foods that contain antioxidants to fight off free radicals that kill cells. Antioxidant rich foods are dandelion greens, dulse or kelp, garlic, shitake mushrooms, reishi mushrooms, citrus fruits, apples, kiwis, pears, carrots and celery.
Eating organic foods is also important. A lot of foods including fruits and vegetables contain pesticides and herbicides
Drink at least eight glasses of filtered water everyday.
Get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily to help with stress and the elimination process.
Drug or Alcohol Liver Detox
Quitting drugs or alcohol is a lifestyle change that can be very difficult. The process of giving up an addiction is a whole lot easier when you go on a liver detoxification program. Yet cleansing the liver and body is just the beginning, says the Treatment Centers Association. Patients need to undergo mental and emotional healing. Liver detox is one of the first steps in recovery. A liver detoxification can reduce withdrawal symptoms, speed up recovery and improves your chances of staying sober and drug free, help repair damaged liver cells, improve digestion and increase energy.
Detox for Liver Dysfunction
There are many things that can cause liver dysfunction: poor diet, irradiated and processed foods, a reaction to drugs or toxic chemicals and excessive alcohol intake.
Cleansing the liver can help reduce symptoms. You should consult a physician about tests if you suspect your liver is damaged. Symptoms of an overworked liver are unexplained weight gain, slow or poor metabolism, abdominal bloating, food and chemical intolerance, feeling moody or depressed, poor memory, extreme fatigue and coated tongue and bad breath.
Linda Rector-Page, N.D., PhD., has recommendations to rebuild an overworked liver: A diet of at least 60 percent fresh foods; Limited dairy intake; Eating cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or Brussels sprouts; Drinking at least eight glasses of water a day to encourage flushing; Avoiding all alcohol, caffeine, red meat, and saturated fats; Getting plenty of vitamin C; Drinking herbal teas such as chamomile, dandelion or pau d' arco; Daily consumption of a green drink, such as wheat grass or barley grass; At least 30 minutes of exercise a day, such as yoga, t'ai chi, swimming.