Like it or not, throughout our lives we all encounter toxins. If you eat whole foods, organic diet, and stay away from chemicals, your exposure is less than for the average American eating a processed food diet filled with artificial ingredient and unhealthy ingredients, and using chemical-filled conventional hygiene, beauty, and household products. However, with pollution and so on, we are all exposed to toxins at some level and have been throughout our lives.
A liver cleanse is a great way to help your body get rid of toxins through the liver.
In this article, you will learn what the liver is, signs of a compromised liver, ways to support your liver, and recipes and tips to cleanse your liver.
What Is the Liver And What Does It Do?
Your liver is your hardest working organ, constantly detoxifying the blood, breaking down hormones, helping the body to store essential minerals and vitamins and to produce bile for fat digestion. An optimal liver function helps optimal digestion.
Essential functions of the liver include: (1)
- Processing nutrients absorbed by the intestines so they are more efficiently absorbed
- Removing toxins from the bloodstream, including bilirubin, ammonia, and others
- Regulating blood composition to balance protein, fat, and sugar
- Breaking down and metabolizing alcohol and medications
- Destroying old red blood cells
- Producing essential chemicals to help blood clot properly
- Producing essential proteins and cholesterol
- Storing of minerals, iron and vitamin A
An unhealthy liver can lead to health problems and liver disease. Cirrhosis is a serious health condition of the liver that occurs when scar tissue replaces healthy cells, continues to grow, and compromises the liver’s ability to function properly. It can even lead to liver failure in the long run.
When people think about liver problems, they often think it is due to alcoholism causing alcohol-induced cirrhosis. However, cirrhosis can develop due to many factors, not just alcohol, including: (2)
- Eating uncooked shellfish
- Some medications
- Chronic malnutrition
- Eating poisonous wild mushrooms and exposure to chemicals
- Chronic hepatitis B
Risks Associated with a Compromised Liver: (3)
- Low potassium levels
- Prescription medications including acetaminophen
- Viral infections
- Autoimmune diseases
- Heavy alcohol abuse
- Intravenous drug use
- Blood transfusions prior to 1992
- Exposure to certain industrial chemicals and environmental toxins
- High levels of triglycerides in the blood
- Unprotected sex
- Obesity and a diet high in saturated fats, and processed foods
- Tattoos or body piercings
Signs That You May Need a Liver Cleanse
There are many signs of having a compromised liver that may benefit from a liver cleanse, including:
- Bloating and gas
- Acid reflux and heartburn
- Chronic fatigue
- Excessive sweating
- Inability to lose weight
- High blood pressure
- Moodiness, anxiety or depression
- Dark urine
- Skin and/or eyes that are yellowish (a symptom of jaundice)
- Bruise easily
- Poor appetite
The Benefits of a Liver Cleanse
While under normal circumstances, the liver can do its job of cleansing on its own, in our modern world filled with toxins, it needs some help. You can especially benefit from a liver cleanse if you’ve been eating an unhealthy diet, have been using conventional products, have been exposed to other environmental toxins, or simply feel that your health is sluggish.
How to Do a Liver Cleanse in 4 Steps
Cleansing your liver is not a one-time event. While you may benefit from a 24-hour or a couple day long specific liver cleanse regimen, eating a liver-cleansing and liver supporting diet is important every day. You cannot accept your liver to make up for a year of abuse within a day of cleansing, after all, you need to support it daily so it can promote health and well-being effectively.
Cleansing your liver to boost your health is relatively simple. All you need to do is to follow these 4 steps:
1. Remove Toxic Foods from Your Diet
Removed processed foods from your diet. Refined sugar, hydrogenated oils, artificial ingredients, and additives are not your friends. They are highly inflammatory that compromise your liver function, gut health, immune system, and overall health. Lunch meats, fast food, convenience foods, and sugary snacks are only some examples of these products. If it is processed, remove it.
Replace them with whole foods, including greens, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes. If you eat animal products, choose grass-fed, free-range, and organic. Always choose organic to avoid toxic chemicals.
2. Drink Raw Vegetable Juice
Drinking green juice is one of the best ways to add a large number of nutrients to your cells without much effort and time. One glass can hold 4 -5 servings of veggies your body needs. Some vegetables that are particularly beneficial for your liver include cabbage, beets, grapefruit, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cucumber, and greens. Don’t forget about your veggies outside of juicing either, eat plenty of salads, cooked veggies, and green smoothies.
3. Load Up on Potassium-Rich Foods
Your liver needs potassium-rich foods. Potassium also supports your cardiovascular health, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, muscle recovery, and exercise performance. Potassium-rich foods include bananas, sweet potatoes, beet greens, spinach, beans, black molasses, and tomato sauce.
4. Take Milk Thistle, Dandelion, and Turmeric Supplements
Certain herbs and supplements can really help your liver function. Milk thistle can help to detox from heavy metals, environmental pollutants, alcohol, and prescription medication. Turmeric can help with inflammation, pain, liver metabolism, and blood sugar balance. Dandelion has a natural diuretic effect that helps to cleanse. Burdock root can help to cleanse the blood. (4, 5)
Liver Detox Drink
While cleansing and supporting your liver should be happening every single day, you may benefit from a strict 24-hour liver cleanse sipping this liver detox drink throughout the day.
The week leading up to this cleanse eat mainly liver-supporting foods, including citrus, beets, apples, celery, asparagus, cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Avoid all processed foods, refined sugar, refined carbohydrates, gluten, animal products, as well as, any chemicals and environmental toxins during this time.
During this cleanse, try this Liver Detox Drink. You can drink it in the morning, or if you are ready for a serious cleanse, do a 24-hour liver cleanse when you are consuming only this drink.
During these 24 hours, drink a minimum of 72 ounces of this drink and 72 ounces of water.
The days after the liver cleanse by eating only liver-supporting foods and removing all potential toxins.
Liver Detox Drink Recipe
- 18 oz cranberry juice
- 54 oz spring or purified water
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp ginger
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 3 oranges
- 4 lemons
Directions for 72 ounces:
- Dilute cranberry juice with a ratio of 3 parts water (54 ounces) to 1 part cranberry juice (18 ounces).
- Add 1/2 teaspoon each of nutmeg, ½ teaspoon ginger and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon into a tea infuser.
- Let is sit in simmering water for 20 minutes.
- Cool to room temperature.
- Add the juice of 3 oranges and 4 lemons. Stir well.
- Sip throughout the day.
Liver Supporting Juice
I cannot emphasize it enough how important it is to support your liver every single day.
This amazing liver supporting juice can be part of your regular diet you can drink daily or at least 1 – 2 times a week. To mix up the flavor, use different greens daily, and experiment by adding a carrot to the recipe.
Liver Supporting Juice Recipe
- 1 beet, scrubbed
- 1 handful of greens (dandelion greens, kale, and spinach are great choices)
- 1 green apple
- 1 cucumber, peeled
- 1 lemon, peeled
- 1-inch ginger
- Optional: 1 carrot, peeled
- Juice all ingredients
Liver Detox Salad
This liver detox salad should also become a regular part of your diet. Eat it 1 to 2 times a day. Being a salad, you can always experiment by adding or removing ingredients and using different dressings such as various vinegar, tahini, and lemon juice.
Liver Detox Salad Recipe
- 3 cups organic kale or any greens of your choice
- 3 Brussels sprouts
- 1/4 cup cabbage, chopped
- 1/4 cup shredded carrots
- 1/4 cup shredded beets
- 1/4 cup broccoli cuts
- 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons golden raisins
- Wash and chop greens into small pieces. Use your hands to massage the leaves in order to help tenderize them and make them easier to chew and digest.
- Toss the remaining ingredients and salad dressing of your choice.
Gentle Liver Cleanse (1 – 7 Days)
If you are looking for a gentle liver cleanse, drink the Liver Supporting Juice for breakfast, lunch, and snack (2 – 4 glasses a day) and eat this Liver Detox Salad for dinner throughout the cleanse. This gentle cleanse can last from 1 to 7 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is apple cider vinegar good for the liver?
Yes, it can reduce inflammation of the liver.
Q. What are the top foods that benefit the liver?
Beets, grapefruit, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cucumber, and greens
Q. How can I heal my liver?
Eat whole foods mostly plant-based diet with liver supporting foods. Remove processed foods and other toxins.
Q. What vitamins are good for the liver?
Vitamin C, E, B vitamins, zinc, and selenium; B-vitamins
Q. What herbs are beneficial for the liver?
milk thistle, dandelion root, ginger
Remember, protecting your liver daily is important. You can do this through a healthy diet following simple steps and eating delicious recipes.
I hope you’ve found this article helpful. If you have any questions, let us know in the comments below.