Spring brings with it signs of renewal and hope. And for many - spring cleaning is top of their list!
And while many people regularly think about cleaning their cars and houses - what about your body? Like other things, your body collects sludge and grime and needs to be cleaned at least once a year.
I've read a lot over the years about detoxes and cleanses, and as with everything health related, there are a lot of theories and recommendations. Health is NEVER one size fits all, so you need to read up and see what is going to work best for you and your body and lifestyle. It has to be doable and sustainable or you won't get any benefits.
One particular book I've read talks about the need to clean your body along with certain seasons. It starts in the fall with a colon cleanse, which is actually a really important step. Before you do ANY sort of cleanse or detox, you have to make sure you are having regular bowel movements. You don't want to start pushing out toxins when they have nowhere to go! You'll just compound your problem. So whether you do a "full" colon cleanse first or not - at the very least make sure you are going to the bathroom regularly - several times daily.
So why is a healthy liver even important? The liver handles over 50,000 chemical functions. It's a workhorse and does everything from converting food to fuel, to filtering toxins and producing bile. It produces enzymes and helps regulate hormones and cholesterol and balances sugars and numerous other functions. Liver health is a good indicator of overall health.
Some hazards to liver health are eating a poor diet high in processed foods, excess alcohol consumption, high use of acetaminophen and other OTC medications, vaccinations, pesticides and use of other environmental toxins like chemical cleaners.
The good news is the the liver can actually regenerate itself up to a point. So even a "sick" liver can recover when given the proper tools, but you must give it a fair chance and proper time. You didn't get sick in a day and you also won't heal in a day either.
So when healing your liver, you need to reduce as much of the toxic load as possible. Ditch the processed, box foods. Look at what you are putting on your body as well - do you use highly-fragranced lotions and soaps and shampoo? Look for clean versions of those products. What are you using to clean your house? My personal favorite is Thieves Household Cleaner which is totally clean, safe and works wonders for every surface of your house. Look at my other blog articles for DIY tips with this amazing product!
Clearly, reducing or stopping alcohol is a must. Give your liver a rest - fasting is a great way to let your liver heal. Some people love intermittent fasting daily, for others, doing a simple 24 hour fast occasionally works well. And then feed it with nutritious foods! Carrot juice has long been known as an excellent liver cleanser. Beet juice is also great, and has a high mineral content and is great for the gallbladder and kidneys as well. A good rule of thumb is "bitter is good for the liver". So increase your intake of bitter herbs like cilantro, watercress, mint, parsley and dandelion. Foods rich in B and C vitamins like celery, spinach, cucumbers and cruciferous veggies along with citrus fruits are great for your liver. When it comes to proteins, stick to organic, pasture-raised animals and eggs. And drink that water!! Your liver needs adequate water to function, and generally you need to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces each day. Adding in fresh lemons will provide vitamin C and will also help the liver produce bile.
This is not meant to be a complete guide to doing a liver detox, but merely a starting point. Do more research. Find a plan that works for YOU! Along with the lifestyle and food changes, you may want to add in specific herbs and supplements that support liver health. Personally, my favorite company for supplements is Young Living because I trust their sources and ingredients. The addition of essential oils to their supplements makes them more absorbable, more bio-available to your body. If you'd like more information on their product line, I'd love to help you!
Thanks for stopping by to learn a little bit about liver health. I hope it's been informative, and I hope to keep writing more consistently to share with you. Be blessed!
Sarah Claburn, ND