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One crucial function of your body is to remove the toxins and waste products associated with metabolic functions, eating, and everyday processes.
Your body is exposed to all kinds of toxins and pollutants on a daily basis, so helping your body purge them can promote your overall health.
Since your liver is one of the organs primarily responsible for filtering your blood and removing toxins, keeping it healthy and cleansing it of any toxin build-up is essential for lasting health.
A liver cleanse is an excellent way to detox your body and improve overall metabolic function.
Our guide helps you understand how the liver works, as well as provides excellent strategies for detoxifying this important organ.
Understanding Your Liver
Your liver performs many essential functions for your health.
Without a well-functioning liver, you will not be able to digest your food properly, absorb and store essential and necessary nutrients, produce bile, detoxify your blood, or regulate your hormones (1).
A healthy liver function is essential for a healthy life, so taking care of it is vital.
What Does Your Liver Do?
The liver is, in fact, responsible for nearly 500 different functions, which makes it a hard-working organ.
Some of the numerous essential functions your liver performs every day include:
- Producing bile, which allows you to break down fats during digestion.
- Eliminating red blood cells that are dead or dying.
- Creating chemicals that allow your blood to clot.
- Balancing the macro-nutrients in your blood, so that you have healthy levels of sugar, fat, and proteins.
- Promoting nutrient absorption by processing nutrients from the intestines.
- Eliminating toxins from your blood, especially ammonia, bilirubin, and others.
- Storing essential minerals and other nutrients.
- Synthesizing the proteins and cholesterol needed for metabolism.
- Metabolizing medications and alcohol.
If you are striving for optimal health, you need your liver to work properly.
You cannot live without a liver, and those with significant liver damage or disease can survive temporarily on liver dialysis, but this is not a long-term solution.
Many different diseases can affect the liver.
The most well-known, perhaps, is cirrhosis, which is caused by a number of factors.
When healthy cells in your liver are replaced with scar tissue, you have cirrhosis.
Cirrhosis reduces the liver’s ability to perform all of its necessary functions.
When you have so much scar tissue that your liver stops functioning, you are in liver failure.
Causes of cirrhosis and other forms of liver damage include (2):
- Chronic use or overdose of certain medications, including NSAID pain relievers.
- Diseases, such as chronic Hepatitis C or B.
- Being chronically malnourished.
- Eating raw shellfish.
- Eating wild mushrooms that are poisonous.
- Being exposed to hazardous chemicals.
- Genetic conditions including hemochromatosis, Wilson disease, and alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency.
- Chronic heart failure accompanied by liver congestion.
Some people are at higher risk of damaging their liver, based on diet, lifestyle choices, environmental exposures, and other factors.
- Are deficient in potassium.
- Abuse of alcohol.
- Use intravenous drugs.
- Have been exposed to environmental toxins or industrial chemicals.
- Received a blood transfusion before 1992.
- Have unprotected sex.
- Have a body piercing or tattoo.
- Have certain viral or autoimmune infections or diseases.
- Take NSAIDs regularly, or have ever overdosed on NSAIDs.
- Are obese.
- Have high triglyceride levels.
Symptoms of Liver Damage
You can spot liver damage in its early stages by noticing some warning signs.
These are especially important to pay attention to if you have one or more of the risk factors previously identified.
Early warning signs of liver damage are:
- Fatigue or weakness.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Vomiting or nausea.
- Lack of appetite.
- Pain or discomfort that is focused on the right side of the upper abdomen.
As your liver function deteriorates and scar tissue builds, you will start to notice other, more serious symptoms.
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- Trouble sleeping.
- Bleeding or bruising easily.
- Cognitive problems, including trouble thinking, loss of memory, mood swings, and confusion.
- Bloating in your abdomen.
- Yellowing of your skin or eyes.
- Itchy skin that is severe.
- Swelling of the feet, ankles, and lower legs.
- Dark urine.
- Digestive problems, including heartburn, constipation, and acid reflux.
Taking care of your liver is therefore vital to keeping it healthy so that it can perform all its important and essential functions.
Helping your liver stay healthy by cleansing it of toxic build-up, as well as providing it with all the nutrients it needs, are important and natural remedies you can use to promote liver health.
Here are our best recommendations for cleansing your liver and keeping it healthy.
Natural Cleansing Strategies
Every day, you come into contact with toxins from the foods you eat, the air you breathe, and the water you drink.
Your liver does a good job of removing these from your body when it is healthy and functioning properly.
However, you can boost your liver’s ability to perform these functions when you cleanse your liver regularly.
Below, we recommend our favorite strategies for cleansing your liver and supporting its natural function with healthy nutrition and lifestyle.
Change Your Diet
Eating foods that are high in sugar, processed ingredients, trans fats, unhealthy oils, and preservatives means your liver has to work hard to keep you healthy.
When you eliminate fried foods, processed foods, packaged and convenience foods, and other sources of unhealthy ingredients, you are keeping your liver in top shape.
Since one of your liver’s main functions is to break down the fats you eat into usable energy for your body, eliminating hard-to-digest oils like trans fats and other highly-saturated fats can help.
Trans fats are not only hard on your liver, but they increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, promote high levels of inflammation in your body, and suppress your immune system.
Other ingredients, such as nitrates and nitrites, are used as food preservatives in lunch meats, fast food, and convenience foods.
While these chemicals make your food last longer, they are not friendly to your liver or digestive system.
Eliminating sources of nitrates and nitrites is another healthy step toward repairing your liver.
Drink Your Veggies
It can be difficult to get all the required servings of vegetables in a day, and raw vegetables are sometimes hard for your body to digest fully.
When your liver is sluggish or polluted, drinking raw vegetable juice can be a healthy way to cleanse your liver, as well as promote better health.
Juicing raw vegetables gives you the benefit of all the micro-nutrients those foods have to offer in a more digestible form, which can help detoxify your liver.
Drinking your vegetables is also a great way to try new foods or disguise the taste of less favored options.
Juice is easier for your liver to digest than whole foods, and the nutrients you gain from fresh-pressed juice will boost your immune system and promote better liver function.
Focus on cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts, as well as hydrating vegetables like cucumber, carrots, greens, and beets.
Adding a fruit to your vegetable drink adds sweetness and balance, too.
Just don’t go overboard on the sugar.
These foods will lower the levels of acid in your digestive system, supply you with needed minerals and vitamins, and give you a tasty way to fill your stomach.
Vegetables are high in fiber, which is beneficial for your digestive system, and will help its ability to remove toxins from your body.
Water may be one of the simplest liver detoxification remedies available.
The more water you drink, the more your body is flushing out toxins and other wastes.
Drinking water encourages your liver to filter and process your blood more frequently, which means it can safely eliminate more toxins from foods, alcohol, drugs, and other sources.
Water and herbal tea are your best hydration sources, and getting at least ten glasses a day is a great way to keep your liver working to filter your blood.
Get Your Potassium
While potassium-rich foods can help cleanse your liver, they also lower your cholesterol, improve your cardiovascular health, and lower your blood pressure.
There are so many tasty, healthy foods high in potassium that you don’t need to take a potassium supplement to get all you need.
Sweet potatoes are higher in potassium than any other plant or vegetable.
The natural sugars in sweet potatoes are slowly released by your liver to give you consistent energy without spiking your blood glucose levels.
Eat them raw, juice them, or lightly sauté to get all the best benefits.
Greens improve the flow of bile, which can enhance digestion and cleanse your gallbladder, as well.
While you’re shopping for beet greens, be sure to stock up on beets, too, as they are an excellent source of the vitamins and minerals that support liver function (5).
Blackstrap molasses is the final byproduct left after refining raw cane sugar, and it is extremely rich in a variety of minerals and vitamins, including potassium.
Blackstrap molasses contains manganese, calcium, copper, and iron, too.
As a natural sweetener, it can be used in hot breakfast cereals, added to sauces, or included in dressings.
Bananas are everyone’s go-to source for potassium, it seems.
This fruit adds natural sweetness, fiber, and lots of vitamins, not only to promote liver function but also to aid digestion.
Eat These Healthy Plants
Many plants have excellent, medicinal purposes that make them effective at cleansing your liver, as well as keeping you healthy in other ways.
Here are our favorite plants that you should make sure are a regular part of your diet.
An apple a day isn’t just an old wives’ tale.
Eating one apple, or dehydrated apple slices supports healthy digestion, which means you can more easily remove toxins through the digestive process.
This, in turn, decreases the burden on your liver, which can allow it to heal (6).
Garlic has been used to promote digestion and activate liver enzymes for decades.
Rich in selenium and allicin, garlic aids in the cleansing of your liver, and supports your cardiovascular health, too.
Just a small glass of one of these tasty juices promotes the production of liver enzymes, which detoxify your body.
Green tea’s catechins and antioxidants promote healthy liver function (8).
Not only is this beverage delicious, but green tea is an excellent addition to any liver cleansing diet.
The healthy fats and natural compounds found in cold-pressed organic oils assist your liver’s work of detoxification.
Avocados’ high concentration of nutrients and healthy fats helps your liver cleanse your blood of harmful pollutants by promoting the production of glutathione (10).
Reducing the amount of gluten in your diet, and replacing it with healthier grains, can allow your liver to work less, especially if you have a gluten sensitivity or Celiac disease.
Instead of eating wheat, flour-based foods, and other grains focus on whole-wheat and ancient grains like millet, quinoa, and faro.
If you are sensitive to gluten, you may also have abnormal liver enzyme levels, so eliminating this food is an excellent choice (11).
Liver enzymes are necessary for flushing toxins, including carcinogens, from your body.
Foods that include these and other healthy vegetables, like sauerkraut, kimchi, coleslaw, broccoli salad, roasted cauliflower, and more, are wonderful additions to your diet.
Walnuts help your liver rid your body of ammonia because of their high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids and glutathione.
Several supplements can kick-start your detoxification efforts, and support your liver’s healthy function.
Be sure to read all labels carefully, and know how supplements interact with any medications you might be taking.
The best liver detoxification herb by far is milk thistle.
Milk thistle eliminates the build-up of many toxins in your liver, including from alcohol, prescription drugs, heavy metals, and environmental pollutants.
If you are undergoing or have recently undergone radiation or chemotherapy, milk thistle is an excellent addition to your supplement routine (14).
Milk thistle is excellent for strengthening liver cells, which allows them to regenerate more quickly.
Turmeric supplements provide a multitude of health benefits and helping cleanse your liver is just one.
Turmeric is recommended for depression, joint pain, cancer prevention, chronic pain, and Alzheimer’s disease, but it is also excellent for supporting healthy liver function and tissue.
Taking turmeric can even help treat diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions (15).
Dandelion root may not be welcome in your yard, but it should be welcome in your supplements.
This powerful plant has compounds that support healthy digestion, lower blood glucose levels, boost your immune system, and help your liver detoxify through healthy and frequent urination.
Eat More Liver
Because the liver is where all animals store nutrients, eating liver from certain kinds of animals can provide you with minerals and vitamins you may be lacking.
Opt for chicken livers or liver from grass-fed cows.
Taking beef liver supplements is another strategy that can provide similar benefits.
Just be sure your supplements come from cattle free of antibiotics, hormones, and other chemicals.
Zinc is particularly effective at flushing alcohol and the effects of frequent alcohol use from your liver.
Zinc assists your liver in breaking down alcohol so that it can be quickly and safely eliminated from your body.
Try a Coffee Enema
While enemas are useful for reducing constipation and fatigue, they can also support efforts to detoxify your liver.
When you add organic coffee to your enema solution, you enhance this process by allowing fluid to pass through your intestinal wall and into your liver.
This stimulation increases the flow of bile and boosts activity in both your liver and gallbladder, allowing you to produce glutathione naturally.
Glutathione will help cleanse any build-up of pollutants and toxins from your system.
For best results, boil three cups of distilled or filtered water with two tablespoons of organic ground coffee.
Allow this mixture to simmer for 15 minutes, then let cool. Strain out all the grounds, and use with your enema system.
Retaining the liquid for 10-15 minutes is best, if possible.
Quick Liver Cleanse Instructions
If you want to jump-start your liver cleanse, you can try a one-day diet that will boost your liver’s detoxification, and help you start feeling better faster.
In the week leading up to your 24-hour cleanse, eat as many fresh, organic vegetables as you can, especially celery, beets, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, citrus fruits, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale.
Try to stay away from all processed and high-carb foods, and eat as few wheat products as possible.
To complete the one-day cleanse, make the following mixture.
Start with one part unsweetened cranberry juice and three parts water.
To this, add one-half teaspoon of cinnamon and one-quarter teaspoon nutmeg in a tea infuser.
Simmer this liquid for 20 minutes, and after it has cooled to room temperature, stir in the juices from three lemons and three oranges.
Sip on this detoxification drink throughout your one-day cleanse, drinking one-half gallon of this liquid and one-half gallon of water in your 24-hour period.
Starting the next day, return to eating the same foods as during the preparation period, sticking to vegetables, whole grains without gluten, and no processed products.
Your liver will be functioning better, and you’ll notice a difference in how you feel.
Your liver’s primary function is to filter your blood.
That means it can become damaged or perform sluggishly because of a buildup of toxins and pollutants that are in your system.
You are exposed to toxins in the foods you eat, the air you breathe, and the water you drink every day, and if your liver is not performing at its peak, these toxins can remain in your body.
If you are feeling weak, have fatigue or unexplained weight loss, are nauseous or are vomiting, or have little appetite or any pain in your abdomen, you could be in the early stages of liver damage.
Causes of liver damage include drinking alcohol, use or abuse of certain drugs, diseases such as Hepatitis B or C, or being exposed to certain chemicals.
Cleansing your liver and providing this vital organ with all the nutrients it needs to perform well is therefore crucial to your health.
Completing a liver cleanse involves changing your diet to rid your body of the sources of toxins, as well as including the healthy foods that support your digestive and excretory functions.
The best supplements to support a healthy liver include milk thistle, turmeric, and dandelion root.
Taking zinc can also help your liver perform better.
Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits is essential, as is eliminating sources of inflammation, such as food allergens like gluten.
Drinking plenty of water and herbal tea will keep you hydrated, which means your body can eliminate waste and toxins more easily.