Some of the latest health trends are various types of “cleanses.” Detoxification programs, diets, and supplements claim to benefit the liver, kidneys, and other organs. But are you in need of a good spring cleaning, internally speaking?
Get “Organ”-ized: What exactly DOES the Liver do?
In simple terms, the liver is a giant filter for your body. But it does so much more. It processes your blood and cleanses toxins, but also does so much more. Did you know that your liver performs over four hundred functions in the body? Talk about an overachiever!
Here are just a few things the liver does:
- It makes bile, which cleanses waste and processes fats
- It creates clotting factors in your blood
- It stores and releases glucose for blood-sugar balance
- It creates proteins and iron for blood
- It helps control and create blood cholesterol to manufacture hormones.
- It helps you stave off infection and disease by producing immune factors and removing bacteria
- It processes and also stores nutrients from everything you eat, including fats, carbs, vitamins, and minerals
The liver filters neutralizes and clears everything you absorb, including toxins and other waste. These waste products include chemicals, many medications, harmful hormones, and alcohol. So with all that work to do, it’s no wonder the liver is such a truly vital organ.
Cleanliness is Next to Healthiness…
Well, do I need to perform some form of liver cleanse? Many doctors maintain that since the liver regenerates itself rapidly, there is no need to perform a special “cleanse.”
Still, other medical professionals, naturopaths, and homeopaths disagree. They maintain that because we live in such a toxic environment everyday and eat heavily processed diets, our liver easily gets overtaxed. At the very least altering your diet will to help lighten the load on your liver. But still, many swear by a more formal liver cleanse and detox regimen.
Do I Need a Liver Cleanse or Not?
One thing all medical professionals agree upon is that we should take better care of our liver by watching what we eat. Avoid heavily processed food, fried or overly fatty foods, overeating and excessive alcohol consumption.
However, you might want to consider taking more effective steps if you suffer from any of the following chronic symptoms:
- Constipation, heartburn, bloating and/or gas
- Weight gain, tiredness/sluggishness
- Pain in right side
- Bruising or skin and eye discoloration/yellowing
- Depression, anxiety, or moodiness
Of course, you should always consult a professional to accurately diagnose any symptoms and create a treatment plan.
Fifty Ways to Love your Liver
Keeping your liver in top form is not a difficult task. Some simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can help you stay cleansed and healthy. First, as mentioned, revamp your diet.
Exercise is also beneficial, as it aids in the regulation of your insulin levels, cholesterol, blood pressure, and numerous other metabolic functions where your liver plays a part.
One Liver, Hold the Onions!
Actually, onions and garlic are among the many beneficial foods that help keep your liver cleansed, so add them to your diet, along with the following:
- Vegetables: particularly leafy greens, spinach, cruciferous veggies, cabbage, beets, carrots, asparagus, tomatoes, and the aforementioned garlic and onions.
- Fruits: especially citrus like grapefruit and lemon; apples and avocados.
- Alternative or ancient grains: quinoa, millet, spelt, and other low-gluten or gluten-free grains are best.
- Healthy fats: nuts (walnuts in particular) and nut oils, seeds and seed oils, and olive oil. Avoid corn and soy oils, however.
- Lean protein: seafood, poultry, eggs, lean pork and grass-fed beef are all good options.
- Other supplements: green tea, turmeric, dandelion root, milk thistle, B vitamins, and artichoke leaf are all said to offer benefits to the liver.
Is a liver cleanse the right thing for you? Only you and your physician can make that decision. In the meanwhile, making healthy diet and lifestyle choices can only aid you overall.