This is the time of the year that your liver can suffer under the stresses and strains, rich party food, too much comfort food and excess of alcohol of the festive season. When your liver is healthy, so are you. You can help keep it healthy by making sure you include a good number of liver detox foods during the winter.
Before we look at the best liver detox foods and why you should make a point of eating them let’s look at all the amazing functions your liver is responsible for.
The liver is the main organ of detoxification of foreign chemicals, toxic waste produced in the body and drugs but it has many other functions:
- Processes fats with the bile it produces
- Breaks down and regulates your hormones
- Filters your blood
- Helps to regulate blood sugar levels
- Regulates your cholesterol levels
- Making enzymes and proteins responsible for many chemical reactions
- Turns your food into energy
- Helps to combat infections
- Stores iron and Vitamins A , D, K & B12.
Your liver is under siege virtually every minute of every day. It detoxifies all the foreign chemicals that get into your body from food, air and water and products you put on your skin. We are all exposed to so many chemical toxins in our environment these days that the liver becomes overloaded with them.
Some of the toxins are eliminated but others are stored in in its cells where they stay for months or even years causing damage. Add the stresses, fat and sugar laden food and alcohol of the party season to the mix and your liver will start to suffer.
An overworked or poorly functioning liver will result in symptoms such as:
- Poor or painful digestion
- Gas ( wind), constipation, bloating, diarrhea
- Unexplained fatigue and lethargy
- Brain fog
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Weak muscles and tendons
- Poor hair texture
- Itching skin or yellow skin
- Frequent headaches
- Mood swings
- Skin problems like acne and psoriasis
- Premature aging
Your liver can and often does suffer in silence and many people are surprised to discover they have a liver problem when they have tests for another condition. If you’re suffering from even just one of these symptoms your liver could be crying out for help!
Your liver needs large amounts of vitamins and minerals to function which come from your diet. Typically a diet that is high in toxicity is low in beneficial nutrients. You cannot survive without a liver so it pays to spare it a thought and look after it.
Strengthen your liver this winter with these liver detox foods
- Eat 30 – 60 grams high quality animal or vegetable protein a day.
(people with severe liver disease need a low protein diet)
- Eat foods containing sulfur such as garlic, onions, to increase liver enzyme activity
- Include mildly bitter greens like endive, watercress, collard, radish leaves, mustard and dandelion to activate the flow of bile.
- Eat small portions of light, easy to digest foods like green smoothies, steamed vegetables, raw salad greens, semi sweet fruit.
- Consume plenty of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, cauliflower, kale, Bok Choy
- Make a point of eating beets (beetroot) and carrots
- Fresh unsalted whole nuts and seeds.
- Cook with spices such as turmeric, ginger, cumin and cayenne pepper that enhance detox
- A little virgin olive oil
- Have a glass of warm water with 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice before breakfast
- Restrict alcoholic drinks
- Fried and fatty foods including fatty meat unless organic grass fed.
- Do not use margarine or shortening
- Reduce sugary foods
- Reduce caffeine intake
- Processed foods with many food additives and preservatives
In these days of treating symptoms the liver is often neglected as an underlying cause of many seemingly unrelated health problems. Good liver function can often be restored with the right foods supplying the right nutrients while avoiding dietary excess and harmful substances. As your liver starts to work more efficiently you’ll see big changes in your health. Try eating these liver detox foods and discover how energized you can feel.