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Cleanse for Your Liver

There are a lot of plans and programs out there for ‘cleansing’ or ‘detoxing’ your liver.

Not all of them are safe. Or effective.

The first thing to understand is that your liver doesn’t need to be detoxed or cleaned. Detoxing is your liver’s main job, it’s self-cleaning. Anyone who tells you different is selling you something.

What you can do is stimulate your liver using healthy foods that promote bile production, blood cleansing and the metabolizing of chemicals (things you want your liver to do really really well).

Don’t worry, you don’t have to buy a bunch of products to make it work. 

You can incorporate liver-friendly foods and recipes into your day-to-day routine.

You can also do a more focused ‘cleanse’ for three to seven days to really boost your liver’s function and recover from liver-damaging activities. You’re not ‘cleaning’ your liver, you’re cleaning up your diet to help your liver do its job.

Your liver’s many roles

Your liver has many different functions, including metabolizing alcohol and other toxins, processing fats and sugars, regulating hormones and building proteins.

InnerBody.com explains in more detail:

As blood from the digestive organs passes through the hepatic portal circulation, the hepatocytes of the liver monitor the contents of the blood and remove many potentially toxic substances before they can reach the rest of the body. Enzymes in hepatocytes metabolize many of these toxins such as alcohol and drugs into their inactive metabolites. And in order to keep hormone levels within homeostatic limits, the liver also metabolizes and removes from circulation hormones produced by the body’s own glands.

Simply put, your liver removes harmful toxins or converts them into benign substances and then flushes them out of your body.

When your liver doesn’t function properly, you are vulnerable. It is a vital organ. 

Foods for your liver

For best results, source out organic foods. The fewer toxins you put into your body, the less work your liver has to do. Giving it a break to heal is a great idea, but adopting an organic (or even mostly organic) lifestyle long-term would be even better.

Also, stay hydrated. You should drink about 8 cups of water every day. Plenty of fresh, clean water will benefit your liver and will also help your kidneys to flush out the stuff that has already been metabolized by your liver.

Don’t drink any alcohol. Your liver has to work hard to process alcohol, so if you’re trying to heal your liver or maximize its function alcohol will always be working against you.

Sugars and processed food are also taxing for the liver so cut them completely during a cleanse and minimize them at all times if you want your liver to function optimally.

Smoothies are full of a variety of nutrients that can nourish and energize you.

They’re also a great way to sneak in foods that you might not eat as often but that are really good for you, allowing you to focus on specific benefits — in this case, liver benefits.

3 Liver-Friendly Smoothies:

1 banana
2 cups spinach
½ a cucumber
½ an avocado
½ a lime, peeled
½ a lemon, peeled

Spinach, the healthy fat in the avocado, lemon and lime are all great for encouraging liver function.


2 oranges, peeled
½ cup parsley
½ cup dandelion greens
1 lemon, peeled
1 cup spinach
1 cup berries
1 tsp healthy oil (you need fat to help you absorb the nutrients in the fruits and veggies — milk thistle is the ideal choice as it also protects and heals your liver)


1 beet, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup spinach
1 cup berries (blackberries, blueberries and raspberries are all good for your liver)
1 banana
1 tsp healthy oil (you need fat to help you absorb the nutrients in the fruits and veggies — milk thistle is the ideal choice as it also protects and heals your liver)

Make friends with salad

You knew that salads would make an appearance, didn’t you? They’re a great way to increase the amount of raw vegetable in your diet and can be easily made into a main course by adding some extra protein like grilled chicken, tuna or poached eggs.

The more ‘stuff’ you put in, the better it will be. Think about mixing flavors as well as textures.

Including cabbage, carrot, spinach, kale or broccoli will benefit your liver specifically. Throw in some avocado, citrus or apple (with the skin) for flavor and more liver-friendly action. Add nuts, seeds and dried fruits for more variety in every bite.

Rubbing kale with a healthy, high-quality oil beforehand will soften it and make it more palatable for eating raw.

Do not use store-bought salad dressing. They’re a good way to turn a healthy salad into junk food. Making your own salad dressings is very easy and much cheaper and it allows you to make sure that the oils in your dressing are not rancid. 

Check out the Activation Kitchen for inspiring salad dressing recipes.

Cooking for your liver

Let’s face it, sometimes you just need a hot meal and no salad or smoothie is going to cut it. Try one of these dishes to liven up your liver.

  • Scrambled eggs with onions and garlic. Top them off with a little healthy oil (I like black cumin on eggs) for added flavor and nutrition.
  • Roasted cauliflower. Brush with oil, then sprinkle with ground turmeric and pressed garlic. Baked at 350° until the cauliflower is appropriately soft and starting to brown. If you’re serving this alongside a meat dish, choose lean, white meat.
  • Vegetable stir-fry. Load it up with liver-friendly ingredients like spinach, broccoli, cabbage, lentils, onions and garlic. Fry your veggies in coconut oil — it’s a source of healthy fat with a high smoke point. Serve with steamed brown rice.
  • Baked salmon and sweet potatoes. No fancy instructions, just prep and bake your salmon and sweet potatoes together. The salmon provides the liver with healthy fats while the sweet potatoes provide beta-carotene, fiber and vitamin C. A sprinkling of ground turmeric will add flavor and extra liver-boosting benefits.

Snack Attack

Fresh fruit of any kind makes for a healthy snack, but when you’re focusing on a healthy liver, choose organic apples with the skin on. OneGreenPlanet.org explains why:

Apples are rich in pectin, the soluble fiber that helps remove toxins and cholesterol from the blood, which helps your liver big time! They’re also rich in malic acid, a naturally cleansing nutrient that removes carcinogens and other toxins from the blood. Granny Smith apples are especially rich in malic acid, along with being one of the most antioxidant-rich apple varieties. All apples are great for your liver, however, but be sure to choose organic apples since they’re one of the worst sources of pesticides in conventional form.

Other great choices are carrot or celery sticks, nuts or even a piece of good quality dark chocolate.

Your liver’s greatest ally: Milk thistle

Healthy fats from any source will help your liver to function better, but choosing milk thistle oil is like offering it premium instead of regular.

At HealthAmbition.com, they know the deal: “Milk thistle is a proven and potent herb for healing and detoxifying your liver. The compound silymarin found in milk thistle extract has been studied for decades and is now recognized as one of the best supplements for liver health.

Milk thistle, mainly because of its active compound silymarin, helps to block toxic substances. It protects liver cells, encourages cell repair and helps with liver regeneration.

We’ve got a great blog post about milk thistle oil and its many benefits (so much more than just liver support). Click here to get the details.

The suggestions above are great for supporting your liver on a regular basis. If you want to do a full-on liver cleanse, we’ve developed an easy-to-follow 3-day liver cleanse meal plan that you can have for free. Click the share button below!

Related Links:

http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/facts-about-your-liver/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072577/
http://www.innerbody.com/image_digeov/card10-new2.html#full-description
http://www.youngandraw.com/3-amazing-liver-detox-recipes/
http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/foods-to-cleanse-and-care-for-your-liver/
http://fattyliverdietguide.org/a-liver-cleansing-diet-menu/
https://www.healthambition.com/milk-thistle-for-liver-detoxification/

 

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