Consider for a minute what the liver does — production of essential cholesterol and proteins, activation of enzymes, regulation of blood proteins to balance sugar, proteins and fat, removal of toxins from the blood, destroying old blood cells, storing glycogen, minerals and vitamins, and so on. The liver analyzes everything your body comes across and keeps what is necessary and gets rid of what is not (which is breaking down substances that are harmful to the body).
But it may come to a point that the liver is over exerted and overwhelmed because of constant use, and causes itself an injury. In these cases, the body will experience these symptoms — weight gain, sluggishness, headaches, skin discoloration, pain on the right side of the body, constipation, high blood pressure, acid reflux, fatigue and many more. So naturally, it is a no brainer when we say that it is of utmost importance to take good care of your liver.
It is a common belief that liver diseases are alcohol-induced, and quite a few times, people are right. But contrary to this belief, alcoholism is not the only reason for the liver malfunction. Other factors that contribute to cirrhosis (liver failure and scarring) are chronic hepatitis B and malnutrition, consumption of uncooked shellfish and some medications (such as acetaminophen).
Let us look at some realistic ways to help you take care of your liver and keep it from being overloaded with toxins. These methods should work for you, regardless of the fact that you already have a healthy lifestyle or are trying it out.
If you have excessive refined sugar, lunch meats and convenience food in your diet, you are endangering your liver, because these foods are essentially overloading it with toxins. These types of food contain preservatives that contain chemicals and synthetic ingredients that burden the system unnecessarily and make it work harder. For example, some foods contain hydrogenated oils (to increase their shelf life) that contain large quantities of saturated fat, which increase the risk of heart disease.
These fats also play havoc on the immune system and can cause inflammation throughout the body. To begin with, you can cut these foods from your diet and your liver will start thanking you immediately. If you have never tried health food, this is the time to start doing that. You will find that not only does it taste good, but is also rich in potassium, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, niacin and other goodies that are great for your cardiovascular health.
While you are avoiding toxic foods from your diet, it would be a good time to pay attention to digestive enzymes, because avoiding them could lead to other health concerns. The best way to avoid that is to start taking digestive enzymes with meals before you go to bed. What these enzymes do is enter the bloodstream and cleanse it of dead organic material, stimulating the immune cells to consume compounds (otherwise known as circulating immune complexes) that can cause serious damage to the tissue. Your overall health is positively impacted by this.
Enzymes are very effective in eliminating a number of immune complexes and support the immune system. Digestive enzymes are also very helpful to people with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and other stomach discomforts and breaking down gluten, lactose and casein.
To make your liver cleanse as effective as it needs to be, it would not be possible to eat all the required raw vegetables. But if you do the same thing in a juice form, as in, consuming these vegetables as juice, you would be fulfilling that need. In any case, juices would be far more enjoyable than munching on raw vegetables for a lot of people.
Consuming them in a juice form would also be easy for the body to absorb them and on the digestive system because the consumption of fiber speeds up the removal of toxins from the body. At the same time, it provides support to the digestive tract. But make sure that the vegetables you consume are in raw form and not processed, because doing so would destroy polyphenols, minerals and essential vitamins.
The most ideal vegetables for this purpose would be Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower and though these do not sound like the most exciting vegetables for consumption, these are the ones that are readily available. If you want to be experimentative (and you should!), you can add cucumbers, carrots, greens and beets to this mix to make for a healthy cocktail. For flavor, you can add mint or lemon, if you find the concoction too bland.
The recommended amount of potassium in meals for males and females is around 4,500 milligrams. But, if you lead a busy life with little or no routine, chances are that you are not getting them. The intake of potassium is not only important to cleanse your liver, but also for a healthy cardiovascular system, cleaning systolic blood pressure and lowering cholesterol.
And you will be surprised that there is no dearth of foods that can be consumed, so you do not need to take potassium supplements to fulfill that requirement.
- Bananas: These are the most popular source of potassium (around 400 milligrams per 100 grams), are easily available and even more easily consumed. They help release toxins from the body and help in digestion, very important for a liver cleanse.
- Sweet Potatoes: This is another delicious source of potassium that is high in beta-carotene and fiber content. It is rich in vitamins C, D and B6, iron and magnesium.
- Spinach and Green Beets: These are another great source of potassium that improve the blood flow and cleanse the gallbladder. They provide you with great nourishment and is great for the nervous system health.
- Tomatoes: When consumed in a paste or puree form, these become a high source of potassium, especially if you are using organic tomatoes. Even sundried tomatoes are very high in potassium content.
- Beans: Beans or legumes in any form, such as kidney, white or lima are rich in protein, fiber and potassium.
Iron is a mineral that is distributed in the body and is very important for the production of red blood cells and the protein inside them (hemoglobin) is vital to carry oxygen from our lungs to the rest of the body (muscles). Excess iron is stored in the liver, responsible to release it into the body. Needless to say, if your diet is deficient in iron, the storage in your liver goes down. This, in turn, may cause the release of inflammatory substances to be released in the liver, causing it damage.
Continued ignorance of this mineral can lead to serious health problems such as liver cancer, liver cirrhosis and steatohepatitis among other issues. Be sure to supplement your body with vegetables such as spinach, beetroot, broccoli and potatoes, and fruits such as apples, pomegranates, strawberries and watermelons to ensure a healthy liver function.
How about absolutely cleansing your liver? Well, that is quite possible with “detox water”. Now you will ask, “What the heck is detox water?” Well, simply put, it will help your body flush out toxins faster than regular water. Sure, you can achieve this by drinking plain, regular water as well, but it might get boring quickly, leaving you wishing for some flavor. Doing this every day (yes, you can!) will reduce liver damage, inflammation and even DNA fragmentation.
The simplest way to make some detox water is to add some freshly squeezed lemon juice to a glass of warm water and remove the seeds if needed. That’s it! This simple drink, taken in the morning will improve your digestive and immune system and even aid in weight loss!
There you have it. As you can see, all you need to do is make simple adjustments to your lifestyle towards a healthy liver and your overall health. While doing a liver flush, avoid eating all kinds of processed meats, battered or fried food, alcohol and tobacco (but you can have coffee if it is decaffeinated), frozen or cold food and drinks and any other processed foods. Remember to drink lots of regular water or the “detox” variety we mentioned and your snacks can consist of fruits and nuts, yogurt or fresh cheese. Try this regime and you will notice the improvement in your well-being and a spike in your energy levels.