Cleansing the liver is a good idea, and usually promoted in the spring or early summer. But it's also important to eat to support your liver all throughout the year. Here are some of the nutrient-rich foods that help support a healthy liver-and a healthy you.
Fresh Vegetable Juices: A good combination would be 25 percent apple and/or beets and/or carrots and 75 percent greens with lemon or lime.
Chlorophyll-Rich Super Foods: Wheat- or barley-grass juice powder, chlorella and spirulina, and wild blue-green algae have in many cases proven to be useful in clearing up a sluggish liver.
Garlic and Onions: Garlic contains allicin, which is a sulfur-based compound required by the liver for effective detoxification. Garlic helps the liver rid the body of mercury, certain food additives and hormones.
Fresh Vegetables: Fresh, raw vegetables, especially dark green leafy vegetables such as parsley, kale, watercress, alfalfa and collard greens are great for the liver. Orange, yellow, purple, and red colored fruits and vegetables are also good, as they contain living enzymes, fibre, vitamin C, natural antibiotic substances, and anti-cancer phytonutrients.
Sub Acid Fruits: Apples, papaya, grapes, and all the berries (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries) are all high in antioxidants, which help to protect the liver from the high levels of free radicals that are naturally produced during the process of detoxification.
Bitter Foods: The bitterness of foods such as dandelion, arugula, endive, radicchio, sorrel, and watercress helps to stimulate bile flow within the liver.
Herbs: Dill, caraway seeds, garlic, onions, boldo, turmeric, and cayenne are easy to use in your food and can help protect the liver.
Dandelion Root Tea: Enhances the entire digestive track. It is excellent at relieving digestion after consuming a high-fat meal. Dandelion is also an excellent herb for weight loss, as the leaves are diuretic and the root improves fat metabolism.
Raw Fats (Nuts, Seeds, Avocados): These are good food sources of polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, all less harmful to the liver than saturated fats. The key is not to overeat, even on good raw fats.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Good sources of these raw fats are ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil, walnuts, borage oil, krill oil, chia seeds, purslane, acai, spirulina algae, hemp seeds, and grape seed oil.
Water: Drink eight to twelve cups of water per day to help the kidneys get rid of the toxins that the liver has broken down. It's important to note that heavy metals, chemicals, radioactive elements, chlorine, bacteria, viruses, E-coli and thousands of other impurities are in most water supplies, and many of the harmful substances present in municipal and well water can slowly damage and/or harden the liver. Even spring and mineral water contain inorganic minerals that are virtually indigestible. Filtering water may seem like the obvious solution, but purified medical grade water is the only water that removes up to 99 percent of the impurities in the water.
Cleansing your liver isn't about time-consuming lotions and potions. It's about giving your body nutrient-rich fuel that can, and will, prevent problems in the first place, and actively cleansing occasionally to keep your liver functioning at peak performance.
[Editor's Note: If you want to eliminate unhealthy ingredients and chemical additives from your diet for good, click here to sign up for a Naturally Savvy Get Healthy Challenge.]
Image: Joanna Slodownik