How to Cleanse Your Liver Effectively: Decoding Liver Detox for Amateurs

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It is indeed funny how we have made things difficult for ourselves with the advent of technology. Our lifestyle habits have deteriorated significantly and none other than our body has been suffering the damage.

Out of all organs packed cautiously into a well-integrated and synchronized system, liver, the organ responsible for sieving out the toxins has suffered maximum damage.

liver detox diet
Liver Detox Cleanse (Img Source: Flickr)

Keeping the same in mind, the concept of liver detox cleanse, a phenomenon to heal the damaged organ by means of replenishing the depleted reserves of micronutrients in the diet has recently been doing circles amongst fitness enthusiasts.

Governed by a solid core principle and yielding drool worthy results, it has not been garnering appreciation for no reason.

Symptoms That You Urgently Need Liver Detox

Your body reflects the state of your inner being. But then how do you know if your liver is functioning well or not?

There are some specific signs associated impairment of liver function. Some of them are listed below:

  • Rosacea
  • Gas and Bloating
  • Irritability, anxiety and mood swings
  • Profuse Sweating
  • Dark urine
  • Difficulty in Losing Weight
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Constipation
  • Recurring acidity and heart burns
  • Skin discoloration; yellowish tinge in urine, skin and eyes similar to jaundice
  • Sluggishness
  • Pain in the right abdominal section

To avoid detox symptoms, follow these ways.

How to do a liver cleanse?

While the world goes brouhaha, we make an effort to understand the fundamental guiding principle of the concept. Because, we’re not supposed to follow the crowd blindly.

Out of all the toxins the body attempts to throw out, the free radicals are the most difficult to push out. Because of their highly reactive chemical nature, it can pair with a number of compounds to carry out a series of harmful reactions, aggravating the body’s health status.

Getting back to the point, the liver sieves the toxic substances. All the four hundred functions liver accomplishes can be kept intact naturally if you follow these basic rules.

  • No Alcohol

Alcohol is dehydrating and encourages pH imbalance (but if taken in moderation,then it has many health benefits) leading to the spread of scar tissue resulting in cirrhosis or permanent damage. It is demanding for your liver to push out all the leftovers anyway.

  • No Greasy Food

Refined or processed carbohydrates are extremely harmful for your liver. They dissolve too fast, make you lazy and the stress on your liver because of the salt, the trans-fats and the preservative content is making your liver sweat it out in a very unhealthy way.

  • Some Exercise

A healthy lifestyle always keeps your metabolism stable and contributes towards effective cyclic disintegration, absorption and assimilation of nutrients. That should never come as a shocker.

  • Eat Beef Liver or Liver Supplements

Both chicken liver and veal liver with its Vitamin D, Vitamin A, choline, iron, zinc and chromium content is extremely good for your liver. CoQ10, or ubiquinone, an important cofactor in the Electron Transport Chain pumps ATP into the pathway and keeps vital organs like liver, heat and kidney going.

Above listed steps could form the basic outline of your liver detoxification program. Further improvements and changes can be made into the plan as you progress.

The liver detox cleanse, we are highlighting here comprises of administering food items with compounds that have high potential to react with the free radicals and other minority of toxins retained in the body and slowly heal the liver tissue to come back to its original position.

Administering special liver cleanse juices are a recent trend where you combine ingredients that are particularly beneficial in aiding the detoxification process. There are a few reasons why we are doing so.

  1. Liquids are easier to sift.
  2. The nutrients when suspended in the liquid find a quicker way to the blood stream.
  3. Carotene pigments present in colorful foods, vitamin C, vitamin D and vitamin E heal the liver tissue by unclogging biochemical pathways.

Nutrients For Healthy Liver Detox

  1. Potassium

A human body needs a whopping 4.7 grams of potassium on daily basis. Other than helping you support a healthy cardiovascular system, potassium also help in lowering cholesterol and aiding the process of liver detoxification.

Bananas, potatoes, milk, citrus fruits, and leafy vegetables are chief sources of the nutrient. From salads to soups or thick creamy sauces, there are so many creative ways to ensure that the potassium intake is maintained in your body.

  1. Vitamins

    • Vitamin A and Vitamin E which are abundant in dark food items, say carrots, bell peppers, oranges, etc. Vegetables carry an orange pigment called beta carotene which is the precursor of vitamin A and is readily converted to meet the nutritional needs of the body. Sweet potatoes rich in both potassium and beta carotene serve dual nutritional needs of the body.

    • Vitamin E on the other hand, when converted to alpha-tocopherol, has a daily requirement of 15 micrograms. Consuming nuts like walnuts, almonds and cashews shall serve the purpose.

    • Vitamin C is rich in antioxidants that effectively induce the influx of glutathione. This glutathione paired with the monoterpenes in citrus peels can flush out the toxins effectively.

    • Vitamin D, obtained from dairy products like milk, yoghurt and cheese helps in absorption of calcium and proper liver function. A report in Hepatology suggests that low Vitamin D levels are associated with chronic fibrosis and histological alterations in the in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

  1. Unsaturated Fats

Unsaturated fats that are rich in essential fatty acids when taken in small amounts stimulate bile secretion. Chief sources of unsaturated fats include avocados, pumpkin, coconut, olives, flax seeds, chia seeds etc.

All of them are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, a light yet important fatty acid needed by the system. Avocados and walnuts help the body flush toxins by inducing secretion of glutathione.

Foods That are Your Best Friend For Liver Detox

All Bitter Foods are Good for Your Liver

Bitter foods like kale, bitter gourd etc, are often rich in vitamin C, folates, and flavonoids like beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and zeaxanthin along with numerous rare phyto-nutrients like charantin that keeps the blood sugar levels in check.

Moreover, their dietary fiber content aids in the process of movement of food in the gut, pushing the semi-digested and undigested into the system leaving the tract clean and thus prevent putrefaction.

  • You might have run away from bitter gourd but it is time to embrace the truth gracefully. Bitter gourd and Indian Lilac are your best friends if you are opting for a liver detox cleanse. They cleanse the blood and work relentlessly towards preventing fine lines and aging.

  • A big surprise ingredient could be the tea made from boiling dandelion root, in water. It is bitter but it will heal your liver so fast that you will be amazed by the results.

  • Another common name in the household for liver detox is Swertia chirata. A couple of twigs of chirata soaked in plain water for over 6 hours and consumed on an empty stomach purifies blood and improves bile secretion.

    When you drop the twigs of chirata in water, the yellow colored pith infuses into the water, leaving a characteristic bitter taste and color but no smell. Eating something savory or sour for breakfast post drinking the chirata tea is beneficial in getting rid of its aftertaste.

Flavored Water

Water is the media in which all the metabolic actions take place. Water, also dilutes the toxic content in the body. This toxic content upon dilution naturally loses its ability to harm the body. Excess water is flushed out of the body in the form of urine or sweat.

So drinking fruit juices, herbal teas like lemon tea, chamomile tea, Oolong tea, jasmine tea, hibiscus tea, turmeric tea etc. can help you flush out toxins in the form of urine, mostly.

Refrain from green tea and caffeine while you switch taking refuge in flavored water. The good old lemon water, alkaline water infused with fresh mint, eucalyptus and wedges of lime works wonders for your damaged liver.

However, to push your kidneys and liver to reap maximum results, consume small portions of the drinks. Here, the key is to unclog the blocked channels and pathways that could cater your needs aiding the liver detox cleanse.

Raw Garlic

Garlic is loaded with a large number of anitioxidants and Vitamin C. This tiny fact gave way to an important insight about the existence of allilin.

Allilin gives rise to allicin, upon crushing, grating or chopping which is also the reason behind its pungent smell among other properties, including the answer to the much anticipated question of how to detox your liver.

Garlic is also rich in glutathione, which plays a significant role of handcuffing toxins and dragging them out from your body effectively.

However, there are two major points of precaution you must keep in mind when using garlic for liver cleanse.

  • To minimize the pungent odour, either crush or chop your garlic. Also, the touch of the blade ensures that the heat does not denature allicin and hence reduce its activity. Adding garlic in the last stages of cooking is one way of further reducing the contact with heat and preventing denaturation of allicin.

  • Quantities of fresh garlic must be restricted to 600 milligrams as increased consumption can interact with proteases, blood thinners and anti-platelet drugs.

  • Stop consuming garlic if you experience symptoms of garlic insensitivity which include profuse sweating, bad breath, and odorous perspiration amongst others.

Epsom Salt

Olive oil and Epsom salt liver detox is a home remedy that is being used for decades to remove pollutants, toxins, stones etc. from the gallbladder and liver.

Initially, your gallbladder and liver get prepared to release the toxins and later the toxins are expelled out from the system.

Citrus Fruits

Vitamin C or citric acids activate liver tissue. The mild acid with its antioxidant content works wonders at detoxifying the system.

From Brussels sprouts to spinach, lime, lemon, oranges and the most important of all, grapefruits and avocados are on our hit list for substances that qualify as the top liver cleansers.

With citrus fruits like grapefruit and oranges and sweet lime, there is a different story altogether.

They can be easily made into liver flushes: special concoctions that when consumed on an empty stomach, contribute to the all round development of the body.

Have you tried grapefruit detox? No? Then give it a try, now.

Liver flushes accentuating on all the aspects of liver detox is definitely not a mere fad and deserves some appreciation.

Globe Artichoke

Globe Artichoke, another liver detox herb has compounds called caffeylquinic acids. These compounds have powerful liver regenerating effects just like milk thistle.

It is usually found in capsule form and its daily dosage ranges from 300 to 500 mg.

Milk Thistle

Silymarin in milk thistle alters the damaging effect of numerous toxins including Tylenol, a drug leading to liver damage when administered in hazardously higher doses.

From alcoholic cirrhosis to mushroom poisoning or viral cirrhosis, milk thistle’s flavonoids content yields quick and long lasting results. A single seed of milk thistle contains more than 70 percent of silymarin.

From tablets to tinctures, liquid extracts and silymarin phosphatidylcholine complex, the forms of administering this herb are mainly restricted to these with the complexes being the most effective in liver detox.

Because of the presence of phosphatidycholine, a compound which adheres to the cell membrane effectively and facilitates easy influx of silymarin, flushing toxins out effectively.

Onions

Onions may make you cry or stink odor-wise, however they’re are well-known detoxifying food.

Like garlic, onions are another food, which are good for liver. They’re also rich in allicin that flush out the digestive tract and the liver.

They’re also rich in fiber, potassium, phytonutrients, and flavonoids that can help your body do everything from fighting a nasty cold to repel toxic chemicals.

Turmeric

Turmeric owes its bright yellow color to a component called curcumin, which can stimulate secretion of bile juice, activating a series of reactions in turn, which enhances the liver’s well being.

A study on effect of curcumin on rodent liver revealed how “induction of enzymes involved in the detoxification of the electrophilic products of lipid peroxidation may contribute to the anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities of curcumin.”

From chewing half an inch of raw turmeric to adding it to your curries, or making a tea out of it, there are many different ways to incorporate it in your liver detox diet.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Second phase of detoxification inducers that include quinine reductase, glutathione S-transferase and aromatic isothiocyanates like indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane are found in cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, watercress, broccoli and cauliflower.

CHB, a compound present in cruciferous vegetables can boost glutathione levels acting as a potent antioxidant, reducing oxidative stress on the liver, making it healthy.

Green Leafy Veggies

One of the most powerful liver healthy foods are leafy greens, which can be eaten raw, cooked, or juiced. Greens are extremely high in plant chlorophylls, therefore they suck up the environmental toxins from your blood stream.

With their distinct ability to neutralize heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides, these cleansing foods offer a powerful protective mechanism for the liver.

Try incorporating leafy greens such as arugula, spinach, mustard greens, and chicory into your diet.

As this will help to increase the flow of bile, substance which removes waste from the organs and blood.

Burdock Root

These roots are one of the best herbs for liver along with dandelion root. But, you’ve to find these roots through a local herbalist or online.

Used in the same way as dandelion root, burdock root is a great blood purifier as it clears the bloodstream of all toxins and also stimulates bile.

Liver Detox is Healthy, But It has Some Side Effects

  • Headache
  • Bowel Disturbance
  • Frequent Urination
  • Persistent Flatulence
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue and Lethargy
  • Bad Breath
  • Hunger Pangs and Cravings

Liver Detox and Cholecystectomy

With the drastic increase in the number of cholecystectomy or what the doctors like to call laparoscopic cholecystectomy, the diseased gall bladder also affects the liver health too.

Since liver works very closely with toxins and directly affects the immunity levels, it only makes sense to give more tender love to liver while your gallbladder is gone. This is to support the healthy functioning of the organ and aid in the process of liver detox.

  • Consider Eating Only Healthy Fats

Fats can be simple and fats can be complex. With poor liver health, it must not come as a surprise that simple fats obtained from seeds, nuts and dry fruits are a healthy and help your liver recover faster getting back to its business at tackling with toxins efficaciously.

  • Follow the 80-20 Rule

The 80-20 rule can be divided into two parts, namely, eat till your stomach is eighty percent full so that there is room for digestion and letting vegetables, raw, cooked or cultured constitute eighty percent of your diet while the remaining can comprise of grains and seeds.

  • Try Fermented Beverages and Food

Fermented food items like curd and other derived beverages are extremely good for you if you have undergone cholecystectomy.

It tends to the growth of bacterial flora in your intestines strengthening your digestive system and your liver health.

  • Cut Down on Animal Fats

Often, animal fats are saturated in nature. Thus, the body needs to put more effort to cut down on it.

With no home for your bile juices, how do you think your digestive system will emulsify fats and digest them?

The Holistic Approach to Liver Detox

“How to cleanse your liver” is not a question to be answered by simply making a list of all the food items that can do the trick for you.

Detoxifying the liver brings into the picture a large number of other vital organs and their respective functions.

The idea is to integrate small bits and parts together so that your entire body benefits from the efforts you undertake.

FAQs Related to Liver Detox

As this is a detox, if I use non-organic vegetables will this put the chemicals back?

Well, it’s important to use organic veggies, but not critical as there are not much toxins in the non-organic vegetables.

It’s just the lessened nutritional value as organically grown veggies tend to have higher vitamins, minerals, and phytochemical levels.

Can I continue to take my supplements during the detox?

Generally speaking, it is recommended to stop using supplements during the cleanse.

As most of the supplements have to be processed by the liver, therefore it makes complete sense to just give your liver some rest during the detox.

However, there are exceptions like a colon corrective formula to keep things moving.

What is the best time to start a detox?

Once it’s decided that a detox is the right thing for you, the next step is timing. Best times to detox include: after holidays, a vacation, or other periods of over-indulgence in items such as alcohol and party snacks.

Less appropriate times for detox include: shortly after an illness, before a period of increased physical activity or emotional stress, or when the body is more vulnerable to nutrient depletion, illness, or injury.

If you’re feeling weak or unwell, we advise against detoxes until underlying causes of these problems are properly investigated.

Will I lose weight during the detoxification process?

Yes, you tend to lose weight during a cleanse. This is due to the decrease in water retention which can occur when sugar, and excess carbohydrates are removed from the diet.

The weight loss is noticeable around the face and tummy. You’ll notice a reduction in bloating and improvement in the way your clothes fit.

Will I break out during the cleanse?

May be or may be not. Because some people notice an increase in breakouts during the detox, especially when they’re not having regular bowel movements.

Our body use the skin to get rid of waste products, if they’re not leaving fast enough through the kidneys or colon.

However, the risk of breakouts can be reduced by drinking adequate water and regular bowel movements. Any flare-ups may occur initially as skin might get slightly worse before it gets a lot better. 🙂

Is it safe if I liver detox during pregnancy?

NO, a BIG NO. Detox is not recommend during pregnancy and even breastfeeding. Becuase we just don’t know its effects on you and your baby. Then, why take the risk!

Can I exercise during the detox?

Yes, but it do it in moderation. Because during a cleanse your body needs adequate rest, so don’t overdo it.

So, continue to exercise lightly and avoid strenuous activities otherwise you’ll drain yourself.

The best exercise is stretching, walking (not brisk walking), yoga, and easy cycling. And if your cleanse includes fasting, then your exercise capacity and performance can decrease considerably.

Thus, it’s always better not to push your body too hard.

Will I feel lethargic while on detox?

Well, this varies from person to person and the detox program being used. In most of the cases, there are some periods of tiredness or fatigue, specially when there is a fast involved.

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