I see the sad passing of the singer & songwriter Amy Winehouse this week as yet another reminder that you cannot abuse your body, especially your liver, and not expect to pay the consequences. So, if you suspect that your liver is in terrible shape from social drinking and other excessive lifestyle habits now is the time for a liver detox.
The liver is an amazing organ and goes vastly unappreciated for some 500 or more vital functions it performs every day. It’s not called the live – r for nothing. One of it’s main functions, of course, is detoxification.
The liver cleans up your inner environment. You know what it’s like when garbage builds up in the streets – decay and degeneration sets in. If your liver is hampered in its work of detoxifying the waste then it affects every other organ of your body and you leave yourself open to all sorts of health problems.
Your Detox Powerhouse
Your liver deactivates and eliminates, with the help of the other detox organs, all the natural chemicals produced in your body that result from normal metabolism. Chemicals such as the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone, brain chemicals such as serotonin and stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol all have to be eliminated or they would build up and become toxins themselves.
As well as taking care of all that it has to also contend with all the chemicals that are now in food, water and the environment. Our livers was never meant to be able to deal with the vast array of preservatives, artificial coloring, artificial sweeteners, chemically altered fats (transfats), pesticides and herbicides that we are exposed to.
Then there are alcohol, recreational drugs, prescription drugs and tobacco smoke. If the liver cannot deactivate and eliminate these harmful substances they damage the liver cells and other tissues. Alcoholism and drug addiction is on the rise so it’s not surprising that liver disease is too.
How your liver function affects your emotions
One thing that is often underestimated is how liver function affects your emotions. Emotions trigger the release of a number of natural chemicals in the body which if not dealt with by the liver detox system can build up and cause an imbalance profoundly affecting how you feel. It’s a vicious cycle.
In Amy Winehouse’s case I suspect that her liver was so damaged with the drugs and alcohol over the years that her ever increasing emotional turmoil was, in part, due to the inability of her liver to deactivate the chemicals and keep her in any sort of balance. A vicious cycle that’s hard to break out of.
Often, we don’t see the effects of what we eat and how we live until much later in the future. It’s easy to dismiss it until we are faced with health problems. To stay healthy in this toxic world we have to protect and detox our livers
Not everyone has the same risks because it very much depends on each persons genetic makeup and detoxification capacity. But following healthy lifestyle habits will help to ensure better performance of your liver detox system.
Optimizing liver detox function depends on:
1. Protecting it from toxins
2. Increasing the excretion of toxins
3. Protecting it from a build up of fat.
1. Protecting it from toxins
Food & drink
Reduce exposure to chemicals by avoiding food and drink with additives, tap water, excessive alcohol, intensively reared meat and poultry, high mercury fish, overcooked, smoked, burned and charred food.
Eat a wide variety of whole foods, grass fed or free range meat and poultry, and small fish from the cleanest waters. Wash fruit and vegetables very well, Drink filtered water.
For liver cleanse recipes read this post: Liver Cleanse Recipes
Avoid smoking and exposure to smoke, chemical household cleaners, chemical room fresheners and sprays, pest sprays, non organic paint, chemical carpet cleaning, fire retardant fabrics, new carpets, mold, mothballs, non natural candles, animal flea collars and garden chemicals.
Avoid exercising near busy roads Take off your shoes when entering the home.
Personal care toxins
Avoid commercial brands of nail polish and remover, hairspray, perfumes, antiperspirant and deodorant sprays, self tan sprays & lotions, body creams and lotions and makeup.
Be an avid reader of labels and use natural or organic personal care products and makeup.
2. Increasing excretion of toxins.
Scientists know that the liver detox system relies on a number of nutrients and by making sure your diet contains plenty of them or supplementing them you can rev up your detox system to a certain extent.
Increase fruit and vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, onions, garlic, kale, bok choy, cress, mustard greens, turnips, rutabagas (swede), kohlrabi, red beets, oranges, tangerines, watermelon and papayas. Eat organic where possible.
Eat a variety of orange, yellow, purple, and red colored fruits and vegetables.
3. Protect from a build up of fat.
Avoid eating fried fat meat.They contain dangerous dangerous chemicals, nitrosamines and heterocyclic amines which are formed when protein is heated for long periods. Exposure to these can lead to cancer according to studies.
Toxic chemicals are usually fat soluble. This means they get stored in the fat layers of animals as well as humans. If you eat fatty meat you will be eating chemical toxins that have been stored in the animal.
Avoid refined cooking oils and hydrogenated fats. Minimize refined sugar and carbohydrates which can get turned into fat in your body. Glucose can lower detox enzyme activity in the liver. Keep alcohol intake low.
Keep the fat intake to 20 – 30 % of your diet and make sure it contains Omega 3 & Omega 6 fats – Walnuts, almonds, seeds, avocados, olive oil, flax seed oil and cold water small fish. Use cold pressed oils and do not use them for cooking.
More information about fatty liver here: Will a liver cleansing diet help a Fatty Liver?
In order to protect your health the fewer toxins that your liver has to deal with the better. Healthy lifestyle habits will help ensure good liver detox function.
Read more about liver detox here: How Liver Detox can Restore your Health