The Liver – The Detox Process
The liver detoxes in two phases. In Phase One, the harmful chemicals and toxins are converted into less harmful substances called ‘free radicals’. Free radicals are unstable and can damage the body’s cells. In order to make sure we eliminate these free radicals we need to make sure we consume food with lots of antioxidants and phyto-chemicals such as beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, the B vitamins as well as selenium and glutathione. You can see why simply fasting on water is less beneficial and can even be risky as opposed to eating foods that help with the detoxification process. Cleansing doesn’t have to mean starving.
In Phase Two, the liver alters the toxins that were sent in Phase One by adding chemicals to either neutralize them or to make for easy elimination through the gut.
Components of Detoxification
A clean, whole foods diet is required. Gluten, dairy, soy, caffeine, sugar and alcohol needs to be eliminated for approximately two weeks.
Drink 2-3 litres of filtered water a day. This is a must. Elimination of toxins occurs by continuously voiding and replenishing bodily fluids. Do not consume water with meals as this dilutes digestive enzyme functioning.
** Be sure to drink a warm glass of lemon water every morning as soon as your rise and do not eat anything for 30 minutes. Try to do some yoga or gentle stretching during that 30 minutes before you eat. This is particularly helpful to the liver which accumulates toxins in bile overnight. Lemon juice stimulates gall bladder contractions. Do not use more than a few drops of lemon to start. If after a few days you do not experience liver detox side-effects then add a few more drops each morning.
Eat when you are hungry. It is best to eat 5-6 small meals a day to regulate blood sugar levels.
Phase One (Week One) – Beets broccoli, citrus fruits (do not eat too many grapefruits if you think your liver is excessively overloaded as it can slow down Phase 1), artichoke, garlic, carrots, apples, spinach, melons, brussel sprouts, organic chicken and fish as well as brown rice. Try to eat lots of the above mentioned vegetables, sufficient protein and smaller portions of brown rice. Filling up on brown rice because you are missing your daily dose of bread and other carbs will cause you to miss the mark entirely.
Consider slowly adding the foods listed below if you are concerned that you might have a sensitivity or allergy. Watch for any symptoms that reappear. You can do the same thing when you are done your cleanse and are adding more allergenic foods back into your diet.
Phase Two (Week Two) – Broccoli, cabbage, brazil nuts, garlic, onion, asparagus, watermelon, avocado, papaya, mushrooms, brussel sprouts, artichoke, turmeric, green tea, raspberries, blueberries, walnuts, eggs, organic chicken and fish as well as legumes.
Be sure to consume plenty of fibre such as oatbran, flaxseeds, and psyllium as this is necessary to remove the toxins from the colon.
**Other foods that support liver health are: cayenne pepper, lemon, apples, walnuts, caraway seeds, dandelion root tea.
Foods to Avoid
Alcohol, corn, , corn starch, cow’s milk, cheese, yeast, red meat, pork, shellfish, sugar, soy products (use rice instead)
Naturally you need to continue any medication that is prescribed by your doctor.
Herbs that aid in liver detox that can be taken in a tea are Dandelion Root as well as Milk Thistle. A good quality probiotic (that is found in the refrigerated section at the store) are also a great supplement when cleansing in order to help with cravings and further improve detoxification.
Lifestyle is extremely important to liver and overall health. Plenty of fresh air is needed to support cleansing and oxygenation of the cells and tissue.
Exercise – This helps you to relax, clears waste from the body and also prevents side-effects that result from toxicity. Do not do excessive aerobic exercise. Walking and yoga are best to help your body recuperate and encourage detoxification.
* This information is not a substitute for medical advice from a medical or naturopathic doctor and it is not intended nor does it purport to treat or cure any health ailments.