Ways to Detox your liver
The liver is a vital organ of our human body because everything that we consume needs to pass through it. Besides its many functions, the three essential functions that the liver plays in our body, briefly are: help in digesting our food; make proteins, and help in eliminating the waste from our body. This largest internal organ is also one of the four main organs involved in detoxifying our body. The other three organs are – kidney, intestines, and skin. It also works in tandem with different organs of our body, such as our adrenal glands, lungs, and our intestines.
Let us understand in a better manner just what exactly does the liver does and why if detoxification is one of its core functions, why is there a need to detox it.
The liver helps digest the nutrients we intake and decides who are the good guys (like food and nutrients) and who are the bad guys (like toxins, drugs, alcohol, etc.) in our food. It helps digest all food into glucose. It builds our body tissue and also acts as a store for vital vitamins (D, B12) and minerals (iron). On identifying the toxins it uses enzymes and other nutrients to neutralize and eliminate them through different routes – bile and urine.
When good nutrition is taken, the liver functions optimally but if the nutrition is poor due to bad diet and lifestyle habits, then the liver’s functioning is affected. Today, toxins are all-pervasive and can be found in our food, water, and the air we breathe. Coupled with our penchant for having fast foods or highly processed food or foods containing preservatives, it is impossible for our body (and the liver in particular) to keep the toxins in check. This results in the liver’s ability to detoxify getting greatly reduced, as a result of which toxins which it eliminated are reabsorbed by the intestine and returned back to it. So when the liver’s capability to function is impaired, we can attempt, byways of diet, to help it regain back this ability.
Foods which help in the detoxification of the liver are many but more often than not, we don’t land up eating them. Let’s see some of these foods:
Fruits: fruits and their juices are the best way to detox your liver. The vitamins and minerals derived from fruits like oranges, pineapple, papaya, berries, kiwi, etc., help in detoxifying the liver. Other fruits too which aid in this process are apples, lemons, avocados, etc. Organic fruits would be the best bet as they would be free of pesticides and other toxins which could otherwise come in the way of recharging our liver.
Besides fruits, vegetables too play a huge role in improving the liver’s functioning. Especially vegetables like carrots, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprout, cauliflower, kale, collard, etc. Artichokes are known to promote bile flow (that is found in the liver).
Beet: regularly consuming beet (which contains antioxidants and liver-supporting abilities) by way of having it with lemon and salt for taste, fuels the detoxification process.
Greens like, bitter gourd and spinach too are known to promote the health of the liver.
Eating walnuts is also helpful as they contain substances that help in cleansing the liver.
Protein-rich food: Foods containing proteins, such as dairy products, fish, and eggs go a long way in supporting the detoxification process of your liver.
Garlic contains sulfur and other natural compounds which besides helping the body, help the liver in flushing out the toxins. A couple of cloves during your meals would do you a world of good.
Seeds like sesame and flax contain substances known to protect the liver. Adding them to your food by way of sprinkling over your soups and salads will boost your liver’s ability.
Including coriander leaves as a garnish on vegetables or curries shall help too.
Fennel, high in vitamin C and fiber is found to be good for the liver. Along with other foods like ginger, mint, and parsley.
Turmeric, a spice valued for centuries in India, has been found by recent studies to be extremely helpful in ridding of the toxins from the liver through its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Drinking an adequate amount of water too helps the liver in filtering the toxins out. Drinking green tea boosts its abilities.
Besides these good foods, the foods that the American Liver Foundation recommends we avoid are deep-fried foods and desserts, and snacks high in sugar. Also avoid having foods containing artificial sweeteners, coloring, etc.
Though for the medical fraternity, detoxification diets of the liver are just a fad or a sham to sell these diets to gullible people. For them, detoxification is credible only when it’s done as part of the medical treatment for treating addictions. Else, according to them, there is hardly any evidence that these diets help in removing toxins from our bodies.
Irrespective of their opinions, the fact remains that people who undertake these diets feel much better. Even if it is due to the fact, that these diets prevent intake of processed food, sugar-rich, and low-nutrition food.
Another way of detoxifying the liver other than through food and diet is by attempting to de-stress one’s life. Stress is known to release chemicals in our body that deposit toxins in the liver and slow it down. One of the best ways of beating stress is by doing meditation and yoga on a regular basis if not daily.
A healthy liver is essential for general health, but pricey cleanses or diets aren’t required. They may even be hazardous in some situations.
A healthy lifestyle, a well-balanced diet, and frequent doctor visits are far more beneficial to the liver’s health than any fad diet or cleanse.
Liver cleanses have not been demonstrated to be beneficial. People can adopt a more complete, long-term health strategy to protect their liver health.
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