SHA Magazine Healthy Nutrition
How to cleanse and detoxify the liver with cleansing diets
How much do you know about your liver? Perhaps that it weighs between 1,100 and 2,500 grams, or that it is one of our most important organs, since it is estimated to perform up to 500 functions, including cleansing and detoxifying the body. You may guess that the liver gets tired, overloaded and then runs at half speed.
A tired or overloaded liver is unable to synthesise essential substances such as digestive enzymes, cholesterol, hormones, fatty acids and proteins. When this organ is not able to produce enough bile, the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and Omega 3 is of poor quality.
The liver’s cleansing mission helps to destroy toxins, strengthens the immune system and helps to eliminate excess oestrogen. An overburdened organ promotes hormonal imbalance which, over time, can lead to serious diseases such as breast cancer.
Migraines and heavy or slow digestion, gas, flatulence and bad breath are signs of an overloaded liver, as are the tendency to constipation, and poor muscle recovery after physical exertion.
Premenstrual pain and mood changes, as well as the formation of clots, may also indicate a need for liver cleansing. Apathy and lack of energy and difficulty in making decisions are, according to traditional Chinese medicine, symptoms indicating that we should help the liver with a cleansing diet.
What can we do for our liver?
Natural medicine recommends regular cleansing cures, one per season, in order to achieve something like a liver reset. However, in addition to these shock therapies, it is very beneficial to take care of the liver every day of the year with a good diet and a healthy lifestyle. For example, increasing the consumption of vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables, is an action that helps liver cleansing.
It is also advisable to avoid alcohol consumption, which is toxic for the liver, or to make simple culinary dishes using non-toxic utensils and avoiding burning the food. Reducing the consumption of sugar, refined flours and fructose-rich foods, and moderating carbohydrate intake are small changes in habits that relieve the load on the liver.
Foods rich in glutathione are also recommended. Glutathione is an antioxidant which is essential in cleansing processes, and is often abundant in cabbage, onions, leeks, spinach and avocados.
Trying to fast for twelve hours or more between dinner and breakfast helps the liver not to accumulate fat. Finally, hydration and physical activity complete the comprehensive care that such an important organ deserves.
Some components and nutrients are a real treat for the liver. These include choline, an essential nutrient that forms part of the B vitamin group, and is very useful for removing fat from the liver. Eggs, shiitake mushrooms, tofu and other soya derivatives, chickpeas, nutritional yeast, broccoli and quinoa are very rich in choline.
Methionine is another very interesting amino acid for the liver because it is involved in the synthesis of glutathione. You can find it in sunflower seeds, oats and other whole grains, as well as in Brazil nuts and hemp seeds.
Some supplements and medicinal plants can enhance liver cleansing through their detoxifying and hepatoprotective properties. A daily milk thistle herbal tea is enough to regenerate liver cells. Its active ingredient, silymarin, can also be taken as a supplement.
Schisandra chinensis berries also improve liver function. It can be taken as a powder, extract or tincture.
Alpha lipoic acid, which can be produced by the body itself, but is found in green leafy vegetables, protects the liver from toxins and heavy metals. It can also be taken as a supplement.
A mixture of plants such as boldo, mugwort, mint, liquorice and rosemary can be used to make a digestive herbal tea that promotes fat metabolism and is of great help to the liver. It should be taken after every lunch and dinner.
Signs that your cleansing diet is working
. The tongue starts to regain its pink colour. When there is an excess of toxins, the tongue becomes whitish, with a rough and dull texture. As debris is removed, its natural colour and glossy appearance is restored.
. Smoother skin and shiny hair. The accumulation of toxins worsens the quality of skin and cellulite, the hair becomes weak and brittle. Detoxification will restore strength to the hair and radiance to the skin.
. Fatigue has almost disappeared. Energy skyrockets with a cleansing diet. If you feel like you want to eat the world, consider it a very good sign.
. Urine becomes clearer. When you are out of control with food and drink, your urine is thicker and its colour is more intense. It becomes clearer as you cleanse.