13 Easy Ways to Enhance Cleansing
Do you have these signs that your liver needs help?
Some signs that your liver and gallbladder may need gentle support include: dark circles under the eyes, bad breath, difficulty losing weight, constipation and/or diarrhoea, bloating, weight stored around the abdomen, skin problems, hormonal imbalances, moodiness and fatigue.
Working in harmony with the season, foods still need to be cooked, but not as thoroughly. Stir-fry or lightly steam your vegetables to gain maximum nutrition yet still keep the digestive fires gently warmed. January is seen as the ideal time for the body to detoxify, with specific emphasis placed on the liver and gallbladder. Prime functioning of these organs is critical to ensure detoxification pathways function effectively and the 'recycling' of wastes is avoided.
13 Simple Ways to Enhance Liver Cleansing
1. Consume bitter foods.
(Anything bitter will stimulate digestion and enhance liver function. Start the day with 1/2 a freshly squeezed lemon in warm water. Bitter greens include silverbeet, cos lettuce (outer leaves), endive, chicory, dandelion, raddichio and mustard greens)
2. Eat foods rich in antioxidants to help the liver in its detoxification role:
Vitamin C broccoli, parsley, red fruits and citrus
Vitamin E raw nuts, seeds, eggs, wheat germ
Zinc raw nuts and seeds, especially brazil nuts and cashews, eggs, whole grains, fish such as herring and oysters
Selenium raw nuts and seeds, especially brazil nuts and cashews, eggs, whole grains, fish and seafood, garlic and onion
3. Eat foods rich in 'favourite' liver nutrients (lipotropics):
Choline and Inistol (whole grains, legumes, egg yolks and lecithin)
Methionine (garlic, onion, legumes, eggs, yoghurt and sardines)
Carnitine (avocado, fish, beef and chicken)
B Vitamins (raw nuts and seeds, wholegrains and vegetables, especially leafy green vegetables and legumes)
4. Keep alcohol consumption low.
5. Steam or bake foods. Avoid deep-fried foods.
6. Include lecithin in your diet. This substance enhances liver function and helps metabolise fats. Sprinkle on breakfast cereals or add to smoothies. Lecithin can be purchased from most health food stores and should be refrigerated. Lecithin is also found in legumes and should be consumed often.
7. 'Good' fats generally improve liver function and include oily fish, nuts, seeds, flax seed oil, olives and legumes.
8. Dandelion root tea is a natural liver tonic. With a slightly coffee-like taste, it can be drunk with soy milk, milk, honey and ginger and will enhance the detoxification role of the liver and improve bowel function.
9. Consume 5 to 6 small meals daily. Avoid eating late at night.
10. Start the day with filtered water and a squeeze of lemon juice to get the liver going
11. Foods that accelerate healing in the liver include chlorophyll-rich foods (wheat or barley grass, spirulina and chlorella, along with green, leafy vegetables). Mung beans and their sprouts, seaweeds, lettuce, cucumber, watercress, tofu and millet improve detoxification.
12. Incorporate fresh juices in your diet regularly. Carrot is commonly used as a liver tonic, while beetroot cleanses the blood. Fresh cabbage has been found to heal an inflamed digestive tract and combines well with carrot and apple. ( Use more veg than fruit and only use a little fruit)
13. Sulphur compounds found in the cabbage family and dandelion can improve the detoxification process of the liver. These foods include: brussel sprouts, cabbage and garlic.
Seasonally, nature supplies us with many of the foods that will support the detoxification pathways of the liver and gallbladder. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, silverbeet and artichoke are all abundantly available and, as you will see below, all have a role to play in aiding liver function. Fruits such as pineapple and paw paw also reappear and both contain natural digestive enzymes that help break down foods and enhance digestive functioning.
Remember, by using 'food as medicine' and eating in harmony with the seasons you are giving yourself the best chance to achieve optimal health. Organic foods support this process and reduce the chemical load placed on the liver.
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