Your liver has the all-important task of processing and shuttling out waste before they have a chance to accumulate in your bloodstream and create a toxic environment. Due to poor lifestyle factors, such as a bad diet, lack of exercise, and breathing in polluted air, our liver really has its work cut out for it. The organ works hard until it begins experiencing the effects of wear and tear. This is where you have to do your end to keep it in good functioning order. A liver cleansing diet naturally protects the organ and keeps it in prime shape.
How Does the Liver Flush Out Toxins?
Before talking about the foods that cleanse the liver, we want to explain how the organ performs its job, at least with respects to waste removal.
The liver uses oxygen and enzymes to oxidize toxins, making them more water soluble so they can be more easily excreted from the body. This is a crucial process since most toxins are fat soluble and very difficult to expel in their default state.
To rid the toxins, the liver needs to perform a phase two process called conjugation. In this stage, the oxidized toxins merge with amino acids, sulfur, and other organic acids before being excreted through bile.
Factors like alcohol, protein deficiency, and medication can greatly interfere with this complex process, hence the need for an occasional liver flush.
Foods That Cleanse the Liver
Okay, now onto the meat and potatoes of the article. Your diet likely requires a drastic overhaul to improve liver function. The foods listed below have been proven to aid your organ and give it the nutrients it needs to do its job to grade-A standards.
You may have heard that beets are an excellent natural vasodilator due to its high nitrate content. We have actually talked about this in some of our nitric oxide articles. This aids in the oxidization process we discussed earlier. Beets also activate liver enzymes that the bile requires for waste transportation.
Studies show that beets help fight oxidative stress that may otherwise damage the liver.
2. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes, as well as carrots, pumpkin, and squash, are all rich sources of beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body. This vitamin is not only good for the eyes. Studies have linked vitamin A deficiency to cholestatic liver disease.
It has also come to our attention that some people have expressed worry about too much vitamin A, which recent studies suggest can be toxic for the liver. We must add, though, that this is only true with regards to vitamin A in supplement form. Vitamin A tablets are fat soluble and can end up becoming trapped in the liver, leading to toxicity. However, vitamin A from whole foods is used or excreted before hanging around the liver for too long.
In a previous colon cleanse article, we talked about the master cleanse system, which consists of lemons as a powerful cleansing agent.
Well, it turns out lemons are also beneficial as part of a liver cleansing diet. Despite being highly acidic, lemons actually have an alkalizing effect on the body. This helps with the digestive process and neutralize toxins, making the job easier on your liver.
Studies have confirmed that lemon juice has a positive effect on alcohol-induced liver injury.
Apples are high in pectin fiber. Aside from aiding in bowel movement, the soluble fiber also removes toxins, thus sparing the liver from the major grunt work. The fruit that keeps the doctor away also contains malic acid, which filters out toxins and carcinogens from the blood. Studies show that apples contain polyphenols that have a protective effect against liver injury.
On a side note, always eat the apple whole and never peel the skin since that’s where the bulk of the pectin resides. The peels also happen to contain ursolic acid, which increases your body’s metabolic processes.
It’s worth eating garlic and having a few minutes of bad breath. Garlic is high in allicin and selenium, both of which will give you a nice liver flush. Allicin fights free radicals that invade the immune system, while selenium has long been in use as a detoxifying mineral and is known to increase the potency of other antioxidants.
Studies reveal that garlic prevents the liver from overproducing a type of cholesterol called very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL). While VLDL plays an important role in fat metabolism, too much of it increases risk of cardiovascular disease.
For maximum nutrition density, consume whole garlic cloves instead of pre-made minced or powdered garlic.
6. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Last but not least of the foods that cleanse the liver is olive oil. As most of you may know, olive oil contains monounsaturated fats, one of the healthiest natural fats in existence. It’s also believed that the oil stimulates the opening of bile ducts, allowing any toxins previously lodged in the body to flow out.
Studies do show that olive oil consumption helps combat the effects of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
For best results, we recommend cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil. Be sure to store the oil at room temperature to prevent degradation.
A Liver Cleansing Diet Detoxes the Whole Body
You would have dropped dead long ago if it wasn’t for your liver because your body can only handle so much toxins and poison. This is why you absolutely cannot underestimate the importance of a liver flush. To aid you along the process, you can also take a natural supplement like Digestive Refresh. The right food choices and supplementation keeps the liver from prematurely shutting down.