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Detox: The Liver Detoxification Diet

Detox: The Liver Detoxification Diet

Detox diets are the current fad and liver detoxification has become the new mantra, promising radiant health and well-being. Let's find out who needs this diet and what is it all about...
HolisticZine Staff
Last Updated: Mar 21, 2018
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It is only the liver that can purify the bloodstream and we only have one liver. Dr. Sandra Cabot

The reason why detox diets are becoming popular is that the health and vitality of people in general has gone down owing to various factors, like, change in diet and lifestyle, global warming and mental stress and strain. All this has led to increased toxicity in our systems. Toxins are of 3 types - dietary, household and environmental. There are toxins in the polluted air we breathe, in the processed foods we eat, in beverages, chemical cleansers, cosmetics and even in certain fabrics that we wear! Almost everything that we inhale or ingest nowadays, especially in modern cities and townships, contains life and health threatening toxins or poisons in the form of chemicals, heavy metals and micro organisms like, bacteria, virus, fungi and parasites which enter our gut and bloodstreams.

But the good news is that our liver, the body's main detoxifying organ, generally does a great job of flushing out the toxins from our bodies. Think of the liver as a filter, that filters waste (dead cells and debris) and toxic substances (chemicals, drugs, micro-organisms, etc.) from our blood and purifies it, and then you can appreciate how vitally important is the role of the liver. However, the present overload of toxins is reaching a point where a majority of people are suffering symptoms of an unhealthy liver and hence the need to support the liver through a liver detoxification diet.

Symptoms of an Unhealthy Liver
People who have unhealthy livers generally experience chronic fatigue, pains and aches. They are not energetic, they are prone to digestive problems (constipation, nausea, irritable bowel syndrome), problems related to high levels of cholesterol, allergies, depression and blood sugar level disturbances. Main symptoms of a dysfunctional liver are:
  • feeling tired, sluggish, lethargic, depressed
  • irregular bowel movements (not everyday)
  • bloating / gas / indigestion after eating
  • skin problems like dry skin / itching /eczema / acne / psoriasis
  • dark circles under the eyes
  • unpleasant body odors and bad breath
  • protruding belly
If you are currently experiencing some or all the above mentioned symptoms of a dysfunctional or unhealthy liver, then you need a liver detoxification diet. Having said that, in the modern scenario, more and more people are falling prey to these symptoms and conditions. Hence, cleansing the liver through a detox periodically or on a regular basis will help to maintain the health of our livers and us.

Tips for Liver Cleansing
Normally, detoxification or body cleansing is done in natural ways through elimination of wastes, by sweating, bowel movement, breathing, etc. The liver does not produce any waste but it detoxifies matter that is received from the colon and the kidneys, and purifies blood. But when the liver gets clogged with too many toxins, it is unable to perform its function effectively and as a result it is forced to pass the toxins into the bloodstream and through it to the other parts of the body. The un-eliminated toxins get deposited in body tissues as fats and remain there for weeks, months, sometimes years turning into plaque (hardened substance) lining the colon and other body tissues. If this is not prevented, in the long run, it can lead to liver cancer and other serious diseases. Hence, the need for liver detoxification diet.

As mentioned earlier, the liver filters unwanted substances from our bloodstream and helps us to be healthy. Now, just as any other filter, the liver also needs to be cleaned from time to time so as to stay healthy, and the best way is to do it on a daily basis, by incorporating dietary habits and lifestyles that are healthy and hygienic. Following are some valuable tips for liver detoxification/cleansing.

Liver Flush: A liver detox diet usually starts with a period of flushing through fasting or going on a liquid diet. Flushing can be anything between 3 to 10 days but even just a day or 2 can make a significant difference. Fasting is an age-old remedy and a highly effective one, to get rid of accumulated body toxins. Simply abstaining from food for some time helps the liver and the digestive tract to rest and recover. While fasting, intake of (sugar free) herbal juices is recommended, which help to flush the liver. There are various juices to flush the liver, called the Liver Flush, the Master Cleanse, etc. The simplest and most popular one is the Lemon Detox drink. One can make it a point to have this drink from time to time (either first thing in the morning or before going to bed at night) and see the difference.

Eating Organic Foods: We tend to be careless about the food that we eat. But without proper nutrition, the liver cannot function effectively. Hence, it is highly necessary to eat the right kinds of foods, to avoid nutritional deficiencies. The right food means food that is fresh and natural, not processed. Most of our food comes from farm produce where synthetic chemicals and pesticides have been used. Meat also comes from livestock that has been injected with heavy doses of antibiotics and growth hormones. Many people hesitate at the idea of eating raw tasteless foods, but there are ample detox recipes one can refer to, for tasty and healthy soups, smoothies, broths and juices. We should make it a point to see that ⅓ of our diet consists of raw foods.

Herbal Supplements: Nowadays, there are many herbal supplements available online in the form of capsules, fiber shakes and drinks, which are easy to take and aid in the detoxification process. They contain many natural herbs, like, milk thistle, dandelion, burdock, etc., which are said to be good for cleansing, but one should consult a doctor before consuming them.

Apart from the above, some simple remedies like drinking water that is boiled and filtered, avoiding eating foods prepared in unhygienic conditions (by people carrying bacteria, virus or parasites on their skin), avoiding preserved foods, doing some form of exercise, etc., will facilitate liver detoxification and keep you healthy. Remember we have just 1 liver and it is vitally important for us to support it through a healthy diet.