All toxic substances can harm the liver, yet every day we are exposed to pollutants and chemicals in our environment. Since the liver is the only organ that purifies the bloodstream, it essential to rid it of harmful toxins.
Signs of an Unhealthy Liver
By detoxifying the liver, you will have more energy, cleanse the blood of toxins, reduce inflammation and degenerative diseases and help the liver break down fats, says Dr. Sandra Cabot, author of "The Liver Cleansing Diet." According to Linda Rector-Page, Ph.D., the author of "Healthy Healing," you need to cleanse your liver if you have signs of extreme fatigue, unexplained weight loss, depression or despondence, food and chemical sensitivity, mental confusion, a slow elimination system, liver spots, jaundice, repeated nausea, dizziness and dry mouth.
Start by ridding your diet of foods that are not healthy. Avoid pasteurized and processed foods, unhealthy fats, foods containing chemicals, caffeine, carbonated beverages, sugar and alcohol. Also avoid mucus-forming foods, empty starches such as white flour, chocolate, black tea and cigarettes.
A Diet that Supports and Cleanses the Liver
Eating foods that are good for the liver is one of the best ways to cleanse this organ. Certain foods encourage maximum flushing of the liver tissues, Page says. Try to eat organic foods to avoid toxic chemicals that harm the liver. Page suggests a "spring cleaning" for a week or more, followed by a diet that is mainly lacto-vegetarian, low fat, rich in vegetable proteins and high in vitamin C. Eating cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli or Brussels sprouts is also important, according to Medicine Net. Upon rising, drink a glass of lemon juice with one teaspoon of honey. For breakfast, eat fresh fruit such as pineapple or grapefruit; a bowl of whole grain cereal or muesli with apple juice or yogurt. Make a mix of two tablespoons each of brewer's yeast, lecithin and flax oil. Have two teaspoons of the mixture every morning with a glass of juice. Have a glass of carrot/beet/cucumber juice or organic apple juice. Have a vegetable drink or a green drink such as wheat grass or barley grass midmorning. Or have a cup of miso soup with sea vegetables. For lunch, have a large green salad with lemon and olive oil dressing, a glass of fresh carrot juice and whole grain crackers with yogurt or kefir. Or eat marinated or baked tofu with brown rice or millet with a small sprout and spinach salad with olive oil dressing. Midafternoon, have a cup of miso soup or a cup of herbal tea such as peppermint, pau d'arco, or dandelion. Also have a hard-boiled egg and a cup of plain yogurt. For dinner, eat a baked potato with kefir or soy cheese dressing. Also have a large salad with low-fat mayonnaise or a small portion of stir-fry or steamed vegetables, seafood or tofu. Or you can have steamed vegetables with a light Italian or tofu dressing, brown rice, millet or bulgur wheat. Or have a vegetable soufflé or casserole with a light noodle broth. Have another glass of organic apple or carrot juice. Before bed, drink a glass of herbal tea such as dandelion or chamomile, or have a glass of apple or prune juice.
Dr. Page advises pampering your liver by hydrating your body with large amounts of water, raw juices and green or herbal teas. One should drink filtered water and buy organic foods as much as possible. A three-day detoxification diet, Page says, will remove fermenting bacteria and accumulated waste and help filter the blood. It is a good idea to invest in a juicer so you can blend healthy liver foods. Have two tablespoons of lemon juice with a teaspoon of honey and 16 ounces of juice every day. Fruit juices that help the liver are apple, blueberry, citrus, cranberry, kiwi, pear, pomegranate and cherry, especially black cherry. Good vegetable juices are made from vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, garlic, green pepper, kale, mustard green, onion, sea greens, radish and spinach. Drink 16 ounces of potassium broth daily. You can make a potassium broth by cooking or juicing carrots, potatoes, onion, celery, cabbage, parsley, and tamari or miso. If you are cooking the broth, simmer the vegetables for 30 minutes and then discard the solids. Have eight to 16 ounces of a green drink such as wheat grass or barley grass every day. Green Magma is an excellent green drink, and it can be found in most health-food stores. Drink one to two cups of herbal tea daily. Herbs good for the liver are peppermint, pau d'arco and dandelion.
To help detoxify the liver, exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. The best exercises for cleansing involve deep breathing to enhance the circulatory system. Yoga aids flexibility, circulation and reducing stress. T'ai chi improves circulation, muscle strength and flexibility and reduces stress. Qigong supports the circulatory system and reduces stress. Swimming and bicycling also are good for the circulatory system, build muscle strength and reduce stress.
Get adequate sleep. Have several saunas during detoxification to speed the process of elimination. Get a massage to invigorate your circulation. Do deep-breathing exercises.
It is highly recommended to seek medical advice from a health professional skilled in detoxifying the liver before you begin any diet or cleansing regimen.