As mentioned in my previous posts about colon and kidney cleanses/detoxes, performing a cleanse or detox is a way to clean out the debris in your body and revitalize your systems and organs. Toxic waste from heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals in our food and environment can have your body working at sub-optimal levels and cause some serious health conditions. Cleansing and detoxing will allow your immune system to take a break, flush the toxins out and get your organs and systems working as they should. The third cleanse that I will focus on in this series is a liver cleanse. If you plan to do a series of cleanses, start with the colon, then kidneys and next move onto the liver.
Function of the Liver
I consider the liver to be the most important organ in the body. The liver is involved in every metabolic process in the body, processing nutrients as you take them in. There is a direct route from the digestive organs into the liver called the portal vein. The liver filters and cleans the blood and breaks down toxic substances including medications, heavy metals and chemicals. It stores sugar as triglycerides to create energy. The gallbladder stores bile that is produced by the liver. An unhealthy liver can lead to problems with the gallbladder.
Signs and Symptoms that you Need a Liver Cleanse
If you are experiencing any of the below, it would be helpful to do a cleanse:
Storing fat, especially around the mid-section; chest distended/breasts enlarged
Skin conditions: acne, eczema, psoriasis
Visual abnormalities: cataracts, glaucoma, inflamed/red/dry eyes
High blood pressure
Goal of the Liver Cleanse
When doing a liver cleanse, the goal is to reduce toxic burden and provide the liver with the essentials needed to cleanse the blood. The cleanse may result in increased energy and increased fat burning.
Things to Eliminate from your Diet
While performing the cleanse work to avoid late meals and make your final meal of the day a small one. Reduce snacking and try to eat less. Eliminate highly processed foods, hydrogenated and saturated fats, refined sugars, mammal meat, processed meat (bacon, lunch meat), alcohol, cheese, eggs, excess nuts, hot peppers, crab and buckwheat for the length of the cleanse.
Things to Add to your Diet
Be mindful to add many of the following to your diet:
General: cruciferous and root vegetables, fresh fruits and vegetables, organic food, fermented food, sprouted grains, beans and seeds
Fruits: apple, avocado, blackberry, blueberry, cherry, coconut, grapefruit, huckleberry, lemon, lime, peach, plum, raspberry, red grape, strawberry
Vegetables/herbs: alfalfa, asparagus, artichoke, basil, bay leaf, beet, broccoli, broccoli sprouts, Brussels sprouts, burdock, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, collard green, cucumber, daikon, dill, fennel, garlic, ginger, greens, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, kuzu, lettuce (romaine), marjoram, mint (peppermint), mung bean sprouts, mushroom, mustard green, onion, parsley, red skinned potato, rhubarb, rosemary, sage, seaweed, sweet potato, taro, turnip, watercress, wild yam
Grains: amaranth, barley, brown rice, millet, oat, rye, wheat
Legumes: beans, lentils, mung bean, quinoa, soybean (black), tempeh, tofu
Nuts/seeds: black sesame seed, chestnut, pine nut, walnut
Other/spices: anise, black pepper, blackstrap molasses, cardamom, coffee, cumin, extra virgin olive oil, fenugreek, tea (green), turmeric/ curcumin, vinegar (apple cider, brown rice, rice wine)
Herbs and Supplemental Support
The below herbs and supplements may help cleanse your liver:
Alpha lipoic acid
Black currant seeds
Dang gui root
Oregon grape root
Prickly ash bark
St. John’s Wort
Lifestyle Support and Other Therapies
Other therapies that may help with a liver cleanse are:
Epsom salt bath
The liver is a vital organ that filters blood, processes nutrients and breaks down toxic substances in the body. It is important when cleansing to avoid overeating and late meals so that the liver has ample time for regeneration through the sleep cycle. A liver cleanse/detox is a way to reset and get on track if you are experiencing the signs and symptoms listed above. I recommend following this cleanse/detox for five to seven days.