There is a very delicate balance between the consumption of food, its metabolism, and the elimination of waste. Any imbalance in this process is the foundation of a disorder. Our body has a natural detoxification process and the liver is a vital organ of our body whose primary function is to eliminate toxins from our body. Toxins, such as stress, processed food, alcohol intake, air pollution, etc., can quickly fatigue the liver, which works round the clock. It can cause various liver disorders like cirrhosis, an imbalance in bile levels, and fatty degenerative changes in the liver.
Sipping on healthy beverages, such as vegetable juices, green tea, detox water, etc., and consuming nutrient-rich foods, such as apples, walnuts, milk thistle, sweet potatoes, garlic, etc., are some best liver cleanse methods that aid in the liver detox process.
The load on our liver decreases while also providing essential nutrients and components to eliminate body toxins. Incorporating fruits like apples, etc. and cruciferous vegetables in our diet will increase the effectivity of the liver in the longer run. So, once in while liver detox will help you get rid of toxins and impurities that tend to accumulate over time. In this space, we will discuss liver cleanse methods that can help in the natural liver detox process.
What are toxins?
Before we move in this article and understand liver cleanse methods, it’s essential to understand what are toxins. Whenever we talk about the liver cleanse ways or liver detox, we are talking about getting rid of toxins.
In fact, toxins are all around us. Toxins are harmful substances that you either consume or get exposed to. Process foods, arsenic and mercury in soil or air pollutants, allergic foods, etc. are all toxins in your body. Also, when something is consumed too much, then they turn out to be harmful toxins for our body.
Difference between cleanse diet and detox diet
Often people use cleanse diet and detox diet interchangeably. But in actual terms, cleanse diet and detox diet are different. Our body has a natural detox process which is mostly carried by the liver and kidney.
Whenever you eat junk or get exposed to harmful substances, then your body comes into action and tries to flush out toxins. But the liver and kidney can get overloaded if you keep on adding more and more toxins in your body. This is the time when cleanse diets can pitch in. Cleanse diets includes foods that are high in nutrients and can go a long way in supporting your body’s natural detoxification process.
It goes without saying that the cleansing process also requires you to eliminate junk foods. Fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber, fluids, and nutrients which support and help the liver and kidney to perform their job efficiently.
On the other hand, detox diets focus on stripping out most of the food intake, and sometimes you may have to follow 7 days detox diet plan consisting of only a liquid diet. One of the biggest detox diet cons is that you may not consume any vital nutrients at all. In short, detox diets are super restrictive.
Cleanse diets are more about changing your food habit for good whereas detox diet focuses on cutting down everything bad which may include nutrient-rich foods.
What does the liver do?
The liver detox process is just one of several functions that your liver carries out naturally.
- Detoxifying the blood is one of the primary functions of the liver.
- It aids in converting lactate into usable energy.
- The liver produces bile which helps in digestion.
- The liver regulates protein, carbohydrate, and fat in the blood.
- Metabolism of alcohol takes place in the liver.
- The liver destroys old blood cells creating room for new ones.
- It is also the storehouse of vitamins, minerals, and glycogen.
- Activation of various enzymes takes place in the liver.
- The liver also produces essential proteins and cholesterol.
What are liver disorders?
Certain drugs, medication, and lifestyle choices can cause an impairment in the functioning of the liver. This can lead to a disorderly function of the liver, liver disease, and in worst cases liver failure.
1. Cirrhosis of liver
Cirrhosis is a late stage of scarring of the liver caused by many forms of liver diseases and conditions. Cirrhosis occurs in response to damage to your liver. Chronic alcohol abuse, viral hepatitis, and fat accumulating in the liver are the common causes of cirrhosis of the liver. Specific medications like acetaminophen and methotrexate can also cause cirrhosis of the liver (1).
2. Fatty liver disease
The fatty liver disease also called steatohepatitis is an umbrella term for a range of liver conditions. The main characteristic of fatty liver disease is too much fat stored in liver cells. The fatty liver disease occurs in every age group but especially in people in their forties and fifties who are at high risk, including those with heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
3. Bile duct disease
Bile duct diseases encompass all the diseases and disorders that affect bile functioning and secretion. Our liver secretes bile which gets stored by gallbladder for a timely release. The bile aids in digestion. Any obstruction in bile production or storage can cause an imbalance in bile levels. Gallstones, Cancer, Cholecystitis, an infection can affect the normal functioning of the bile duct.
Hemochromatosis is an iron disorder in which the liver too much iron. This condition is genetic and the excess iron, if left untreated, can eventually be fatal leading to liver failure (2).
5. Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a viral infection caused by the hepatitis C virus affecting the liver. It is a highly infectious disease, and it destroys the liver cells rendering them dysfunctional. It can occur due to Sharing drugs and needles, unprotected sex, multiple sexual partners, being stuck by infected needles
6. Wilson disease
Wilson’s disease is a rare genetic disorder that causes copper to accumulate in your liver. Wilson’s disease is present at birth, but the signs and symptoms do not appear until the copper builds up liver causing impairment in function
Symptoms of an improper liver function
Liver disorder symptoms are listed below, and even if you experience some of them, it is worth considering the liver cleanse methods.
- Yellow jaundiced skin
- Chronic fatigue
- Poor appetite
- High blood pressure
- Acid reflux
- Dark urine
Liver cleanse methods to aid liver detoxification
As mentioned earlier, cleansing is all about including nutrient-rich foods and beverages in your diet plan and eliminate junk foods. Let’s see some great options which can support the liver detox process.
1. Vegetable juice
The best method of consumption is to convert the vegetables in the juice form (3). Vegetable juice is one of the best ways for the liver detox process. Juicing has the added benefit of easier digestion. It makes it easier for the body to absorb and assimilate the constituents. The fiber content present hastens the elimination of toxins in from the body, decreasing the load on the liver.
2. Green Tea
Green tea is a liver-loving beverage and is an excellent source of antioxidants. These antioxidants in the form of catechin compounds which assist healthy liver functioning (4).
3. Detox water
Detox water contains all the essential nutrients from the fruits and vegetables and is offered to the body most efficiently. Adding lime and lemon to detox water provides added benefits like a decrease in overall inflammation, brain lipid peroxidation, and synthesis of toxic materials into easily elimination form.
4. Cruciferous Vegetables
Broccoli and cauliflower are an excellent source of glucosinolate which supports enzyme production in the liver. These natural enzymes help to flush out the carcinogens and other toxins from the body. Consuming cruciferous vegetables is one of the best methods which support the liver cleansing process. They also help lower the risks associated with cancer (5).
5. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of potassium and have a high fiber content. They decrease the load on the liver and aid in its proper functioning. Other potassium-rich vegetables such as spinach and bananas should also be included.
Apples are high in starchy pectin which is necessary for the body to cleanse and release toxins from the digestive tract. This decreases the toxic load on the liver during the cleansing process.
High in the amino acid arginine, walnuts support the liver in detoxification of ammonia. They also contain antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and glutathione which promote regular liver cleansing.
Garlic activates liver enzymes which helps your body flush out toxins. It also holds high amounts of allicin and selenium that aids in the liver cleanse process.
Turmeric helps in digestion, balances healthy blood sugar levels, and supports liver metabolism (6). Other turmeric benefits can be seen in diseases such as depression, chronic pain, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.
10. Milk thistle
The seeds of the milk thistle herb contain active ingredient silymarin which is a group of three flavonoids called silibinin, silidianin, and silicristin. These flavonoids work together to strengthening the outer membranes of liver cells and reducing the number of toxins that enter the liver cells. Milk thistle also stimulates protein synthesis which helps in regenerating damaged liver tissues.
Milk thistle aids in stimulating the production and flow of bile which is essential for the elimination of toxins from the body. This helps in the breakdown of excess fat and also prevents fat from accumulating in the liver. Milk thistle also has anti-inflammatory properties reducing the swelling and inflammation of the liver.
11. Coffee Enema
The coffee enema is the quickest way of eliminating the toxin build-up in the liver. Take one to two tablespoons of coffee and add 4 cups of distilled water. Boil for 12-13 minutes in water and strain away from the remnants. Cool it down to room temperature. Take it in an enema bucket, lubricate the end of the nozzle and insert it into your rectum. Fold your legs and clamp it shut and lie on your right side for fifteen minutes.
The coffee roughly takes around twelve minutes to get absorbed from your colon. After the procedure is done, go to the toilet and eliminate it.
What should be eliminated from the diet?
The liver cleanse process is not only about consuming nutrient-rich foods but avoiding foods with trans-fat, too much sugar, excess of vitamins such as A and iron.
1. Hydrogenated oils
Hydrogenated oils are also known as trans fats are known for their damaging health effect. These oils are vegetable oils whose chemical structure has been altered to provide benefits to the manufacturers. They increase the amount of bad cholesterol and decrease the amount of good cholesterol in our body. Furthermore, they block the production of chemicals that protect us from inflammation (6).
Hydrogenated oils have many healthy alternatives like sunflower oil which should rather be included in the diet.
Our body uses sugar to produce fat. Our liver processes this sugar in the form of fructose. An excess amount of sugar and refined sugar in our diet causes a fatty buildup which can lead to liver disease (7). Studies show that sugar can also be further processed into alcohol damaging to the liver. Healthy sugar alternatives like Manuka honey should be used.
3. Processed food
Processed food increases the load on the liver during digestion (8). Intake of high-salt processed foods such as Fried food, bacon, meat, and sausages. Increased salt raises the sodium load and can lead to fatty degenerative changes in the liver.
4. Excess iron
Taking more iron supplements than recommended can cause severe liver damage. Our body accumulates the excess iron, so it accumulates in the organs including the liver. Too much iron can cause liver scarring leading to its slow deterioration. Excess iron also increases a person’s risk of developing liver cancer (9).
5.Excess vitamin A
About 50% to 80% of your body’s total vitamin A source is stored in our life. That the reason why excessive consumption can cause damage to your liver. If you have a high alcohol intake, protein malnutrition, pre-existing liver diseases, high cholesterol or lower the level of vitamin A intake.
Detox drink recipes
A mix of raspberry and mint leaves
Raspberry can help in the detoxification of your body tissues and can also help you lose weight. On the other hand, mint leaves have a property to rejuvenate your skin. You can take 4 cups of pure water and add a few raspberries into it. Add 6-7 mint leaves to this. Leave it for some time to let this detox water suck all the benefits of raspberry and mint leaves.
Orange in blueberry water
Orange has an abundance of vitamin C, which has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. Oranges also prevent premature aging. Berries add freshness to the drink. Take a liter of pure water and add sliced orange and a few blueberries in it. Your detox drink is ready.
Ginger with apple cider vinegar
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and is also an excellent ingredient to jazz up the flavor of this detox drink. Also, ginger will help you fight against the common cold. Apple cider vinegar weight loss claims are not unknown these days.
It also has natural detoxifying property. Add 3-4 peeled roots of ginger (each of 1-inch size) and six drops of apple cider vinegar in a liter of water and use it after a few minutes.
Over to you on liver cleanse
Coffee enemas are also a popular liver detoxification method, but it should be done under the consultation of your general practitioner. For those with an impaired liver function, beef liver supplements are an alternative. Milk thistle has shown excellent results in those with liver cirrhosis (10). Liver detox can be done weekly by incorporating all the liver-friendly ingredients and stirring it in a juice form.
It will keep your liver healthy and prevent the onset of liver disorders. The liver is a vital organ, and its detoxification process including other functions can be impaired by other factors as well.
Consumption of medication such as paracetamol, ibuprofen for an extended period can affect liver function. People suffering from Wilson’s disease should try and eliminate diet rich in copper, and those suffering from hemochromatosis should keep a check on the iron content of their food.