If you’re looking to find out how to detox your liver at home, try these natural foods to give your body the boost it needs. We’ll show you why over-the-counter liver detoxes aren’t worth your money and what experts say you should do instead.
As the second largest organ in your body, the liver has a demanding job. Not only does it keep the body functioning and push toxins out, but it also processes everything you put into it. Cleansing your liver at home can be dangerous, so experts say the best detox for your liver is to allow your body to do what it does best. Read on to learn how to detox your liver the natural way.
What is a Liver Detox?
You’ve probably seen liver detoxification products sold in the health or weight loss section along with other cleanses and wondered how to detox your liver or if it’s right for you. However, dietary supplements come with some risk and liver detoxing can cause harm when used improperly.
The liver is among the largest organs in your body, and its job is to remove waste from the body while processing the nutrients and medicines you put in. Many liver cleanses claim they’re important for your daily health, aiding weight loss, or that they can help you remove toxins after you spent a weekend overindulging on food or alcohol. But do they?
Like many other detox methods, a cleanse has benefits but only if you follow the steps. They’re all different too. Some may require you to spend time fasting or only drinking liquids for a few days, while others may restrict your diet or require you to take dietary supplements during the process.
Many times, limiting your intake of highly processed food like fats and sugar during this time does enough good on its own, and there is no real proof the cleanse removes any toxins from your body or can make you healthy. According to doctors, detoxes don’t change how your liver works or fix previous damage you may have caused.
The most concerning thing about these products is that they aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Most of them haven’t gone through clinical trials to ensure they even work, so you can’t be sure of the products entirely.
Although there is limited proof that a liver detox works because there haven’t been many clinical trials yet, there have been studies using turmeric extract or milk thistle that have shown positive results to protect the liver against injury and decrease inflammation. However, there isn’t enough research to prove that cleanses help your liver at all.
Some companies may also put ingredients in the detoxes that are harmful, and if you have another disease like diabetes or kidney disease, a cleanse may put you at risk of making your illness worse. Fasting or drinking only liquids may also lead to faintness, headaches, and dehydration. If you have liver damage already, your liver damage may increase as well.
Who Needs a Liver Detox?
If you think you may need a liver detox, you may find yourself disappointed. Cleanses really can’t do much for your health. However, you can benefit from a natural liver detox if you notice your organ is becoming overtaxed. Early signs of a stressed-out liver can include:
- Poor sleep
- Excessive fatigue
- Worsening allergies or chemical sensitivities
- A bloated belly or gas
- Hormones imbalances or excessive PMS symptoms
Liver disease isn’t necessarily common, and if you had liver disease, an over-the-counter detox wouldn’t help cure you anyway. Any of the following risk factors for liver disease (mainly hepatitis c) mean you should see a doctor for regular screenings to ensure your health:
- Genetic history of liver disease
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Tattoos from an unregulated shop
- Previous or current drug use
- Patients with HIV or on hemodialysis
- Health care workers stuck with a needle from a hepatitis c-positive patient
- People who received blood transfusions before 1992
To be clear, obesity doesn’t necessarily increase your risk of developing liver disease, but it does increase the risk you’ll develop nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. This disease is easily treated by losing weight, thus decreasing the level of fat in the liver.
The prevalence of the nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is rising with obesity in America, and experts believe within the next 30 years it will overtake the main indication for a liver transplant, which is currently hepatitis c. Eating healthy food that aid your liver is a clear way to avoid your risk of needing a liver transplant and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
How to Detox Your Liver Naturally
Instead of buying a liver detox product from the store, try kicking your liver’s natural detox abilities into gear by eating liver-cleansing foods. All you need to do to detox using food is to eat the foods that contain the vitamins and minerals to support the liver, reduce inflammation, and push toxins from the body. Experts say this method is much healthier.
If you really want to know how to detox your liver, drinking water rather than sugary drinks help, along with the following ten foods. Add them to each meal for real natural liver boost each day.
The perfect food for aiding illnesses, garlic activated liver detox enzymes and contains 39 antibacterial agents. Plus, it even activates liver enzymes to aid your body in flushing out toxins. Fresh garlic is easily added to a number of home cooked meals, especially vegetables.
Fruits like limes, lemons, oranges, and grapefruits all work by boosting the liver’s natural ability to cleanse itself. Even small amounts of citrus fruit can allow the liver to produce enzymes to push out pollutants and detox properly.
Cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, kale, broccoli sprouts, and carrots are all great for the liver. They’re rich in antioxidants and support liver detoxification by helping produce detoxifying enzymes. The sulfur they contain helps aid the liver as well. Leafy greens especially contain high levels of chlorophyll, which pushes toxins from the bloodstream. They even neutralize any heavy metals that may float around in your bloodstream to further protect your liver from damage.
Cooking with spices that boost anti-inflammatory properties such as turmeric and ginger is much better than taking them in supplement form. Turmeric has also been in the spotlight of multiple studies recently, showing it can decrease inflammation.
A well-known brain boosting food, walnuts also help increase blood flow and circulation in the body. This process allows toxins that could be trapped to move to the liver. Walnuts also help flush out the effects of ammonia or alcohol.
This veggie is a tough antioxidant that can even improve your exercise performance, as it works to boost liver enzymes, absorb healthy fats such as vitamin E, and push toxins from the body. Basically, it works by helping the body break down waste and excrete them faster. Plus, beet juice is easy to make and delicious.
Other than water, green tea is a good drink to improve liver function. The antioxidants in the plant are known to benefit the liver but beware of green tea extract which may actually have a negative impact on your liver.
Organic fruit like apples contains fiber, which adds friendly bacteria to your gut and helps clean out your bowels. Pectin, the chemical in apples that helps release toxins, cleanses the digestive tract and allows the liver to manage its toxin load better. They make perfect snacks when you’re on-the-go and work much better if you leave the skin on.
An all-around superfood, avocados do so much good for the body. For the liver, they cleanse arteries and help the body create a compound to aid the liver in ridding toxins.
Liver damage can be reversible with some changes to your lifestyle, but the best thing you could do to get a healthy liver is to treat yours well. You only have one, so you should take care of it. Preventative measures you can take include:
- Avoid overconsuming food or alcohol
- Avoid weight gain and maintain a normal BMI
- Avoid sitting too much
- Regularly workout and eat healthily
- Stay hydrated
- Drink more coffee, which research shows reduces your risk of liver disease
- Obtain regular screenings if any liver disease risk factor applies to you
- Work with a physician to create health plans if you already have liver disease
- Beware of risky behavior, such as illicit drug use or unprotected sex
- Practice safe sex and avoid multiple partners
Taking care of your liver is important, and if you think your liver health is slipping, a few small lifestyle changes are all you need to improve your health. Through regularly eating liver-healthy foods and exercising, you can protect your liver against disease. If you find your liver needs a boost, try drinking more water and adding some liver-friendly foods to your diet.