While the process of “cleansing” the liver has become commonplace in alternative and holistic health circles, the benefits of such a “cleanse” remain scientifically unproven. The liver itself is meant as a detox system for the body – it’s meant to neutralise toxins. It’s a part of our natural defense system against toxicity, pollution and such.
Indeed, it is important that we ensure optimum functioning of all our body’s systems and organs including the liver. However, a liver cleanse is not essential for this – simple changes to our diet and lifestyle go a long way in ensuring the same benefits that liver cleanses claim to do.
But for this, it’s necessary to make our health and well-being a priority and a way of life, rather than a one-time thing.
Remove the inflammatory i.e., processed and refined foods from your diet and switch over to anti-inflammatory food choices
Inflammatory foods are foods that are refined, processed or otherwise high in simple sugars. When ingested, these foods elevate our blood glucose levels which correspondingly spike insulin. As a reaction to this, our body produces an enzyme which makes inflammation conducive – this is an inflammatory state we don’t want to be in, especially if we already suffer from an inflammatory disease such as acne, psoriasis, eczema, arthritis and the like,
Therefore, mainstream nutrition experts generally recommend cutting these foods out of your diet and bring in more anti-inflammatory foods such as fresh, green veg, complex carbs such as whole wheat breads and pastas, brown rice etc., fresh fruit and berries, nuts and seeds, plant-based protein etc.
Despite going over the anti-inflammatory diet previously, special emphasis should be laid on cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage and other green leaf veg. Research suggests these veggies may modulate the enzymes responsible for detoxification and help the liver do a better job by protecting it from damage.
Juicing fruit and veg is a great way to get all the vitamins and minerals you need in a wonderfully convenient way, Specifically, beet juice is great for liver and kidney health. It is rich in potassium, vitamin C and antioxidants. It protects the liver from damage and inflammation.
Where possible, eat organic.
Modern agriculture has normalised the use of many pesticides and toxic chemicals to guard against pests and ensure high production levels. The use of toxic water for growing crops is also far too common. Heavy metal toxicity and chemical toxicity in the food we eat has become a real threat to our health, and the liver being the organ primarily responsible for detoxification, often bears the brunt. Where possible, eating local and eating organic ensures to a certain degree that we get to know where our food comes from and that it’s free of these environmental toxins.
While the occasional drink now and then won’t do us much harm (and in some cases, may even be beneficial for our health), alcohol made into a lifestyle habit has consequences for our overall health and specifically, the liver. Alcohol is defined as a toxin to the body and it tends to damage the cells of the liver, The incidence of alcohol-induced liver disease is rising but the good news is, most mild cases of liver damage due to alcohol may be completely reversed just by abstaining from/reducing the intake of alcohol and some nutritional support.
Consider medications wisely
Everything we ingest gets metabolised and synthesised in the liver. This is also true for medication. Whether prescription drugs or OTC meds, it is going to tax the liver to a certain degree. We owe it to ourselves to really evaluate whether we actually need to take that painkiller or antibiotic or not. If your doctor doesn’t think it’s necessary, don’t take it. Heavier medication such as antibiotics harm the liver when being metabolised.
Maintain a healthy body weight
Some liver diseases are linked to obesity. It is important to maintain a good diet and exercise regime to keep your weight ideal and therefore, have your liver performing optimally. People who are overweight are at risk to develop fatty livers. Not maintaining a healthy body weight also has consequences in terms of slow healing from liver damage.
Get good sleep
Our bodies undergo a transformative change when we sleep. Cells and tissues are repaired and regenerated – the most crucial restorative functions only happen when we sleep. For the liver (as indeed any other major organ) to do its job, we have to get a restful night’s sleep on a consistent basis.
A natural liver supplement
An herbal hepatoprotective such as this or Himalaya’s Liv 52 which has been clinically proven to protect the liver from chemical toxicity. It has also been proven to reverse liver damage. A functioning liver promotes a healthy appetite and regulates body weight.