The Ins & Outs of the Ins & Outs: How to Detox Your Liver
It’s a popular term, cleanse and detox, but many question if it’s really necessary for the body’s biggest and best detoxer, the liver. This article explains why it’s actually something that is worthwhile for your liver, not just a marketing scheme. Sure, there are lots of easy ways to keep your liver from working overtime – such as avoiding smoking, limiting caffeine and sugar, to just name a few. But there are some lurkers in your everyday that may be adding toxicity to your life without you even knowing it. For instance, prescription medications, food additives and air pollutants can all lead to an overworked liver. To make matters more difficult, these are often toxins that can’t be avoided, no matter how hard you try. So no matter how much you do to actively take it easy on your liver, there are a lot of things contributing to your liver’s workload.
One way to help support your liver in its detoxification efforts include vitamins and supplements including:
- Vitamins C, E and beta-carotene
- B-vitamins that aid alcohol metabolism
- Minerals such as zinc and selenium
- Herbs that cleanse the liver such as milk thistle (read our milk thistle article here!), dandelion root and schisandra
The phrases, liver cleanse and liver detox, are often used interchangeably but they are viewed to be quite different things. The difference? Mostly, it boils down to the approach and the target. Cleanses often are meant to clean out the digestive tract. So this includes toxins, fecal mater and other harmful things from the digestive tract. To cleanse, it’s recommended to eliminate certain foods and drinks, like dairy, eggs, gluten, corn, refined sugar, processed foods, alcohol to name a few. This is why juice cleanses are popular – it’s a short-term dietary change rather than a lifestyle overhaul.
On the other hand, a detox is considered simply an elimination of toxins (or turning toxins into waste) and to enhance the body’s detoxification process (i.e. how well the liver is able to process and rid the body of toxins). To do this successfully, it’s recommended to take supplements to you’re your liver or change your diet and lifestyle. Things to include in your diet to aid in supporting your liver include:
- Dark leafy greens and vegetables
- Turmeric (at least once a day!)
- Garlic and onions
- Healthy fats such as avocados, nuts/seeds and omega-3s
- Drinking milk thistle tea (check out our recent post on milk thistle here)
Other suggestions to help in a liver detox include taking herbal supplements and visiting saunas for therapeutic sweating.
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