Many women go to extremes to achieve the ‘perfect body’ and many of them go on extreme detoxes and cleanses. I have seen many different ones, from the extreme lemon detox diet to juice cleanses. Although I am not a fan of extreme diets, detoxes or cleanses, I believe that you should feed your body with food that will help it detox – naturally. These are the types of foods I recommend in my F.I.T. programs, and I have even written you a guide, Body RESET, specifically designed to help detox your body with the help of the food that you eat.
There are several organs involved in the detoxification process and your liver is one of them. It is one of your largest organs and it is very important for your health. The liver supports the digestion, absorption, and storage of certain nutrients, such as fat, glycogen, iron, and vitamins A, B-12, D, E and K. It also assists with the detoxification process in your body, helping you neutralise and get rid of toxins, drugs and alcohol. These are just a few of the functions of the liver. If your liver is not healthy, it will have a major impact on your health and wellbeing.
There are many ways you can put your liver at risk of disease. If you are overweight, if your diet is low in vegetables and fruit, if your diet is high in fat (in particular trans fats), if you drink too much alcohol, or if your are inactive. However, a few simple changes to your lifestyle will help get your liver healthy again. So, ensure you follow these tips below:
1. Drink plenty of water
Water is great for your health, and for your liver too. Water helps the liver by getting rid of more toxins faster.
2. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit
Vegetables and fruit have the ability to help stimulate liver function. A diet low in vegetables and fruit might cause a sluggish liver. Ensure you eat a diet high in these foods to keep your liver healthy. I have listed some of the top vegetables and fruits to include in your diet below, so keep on reading.
3. Avoid processed foods
Processed foods that are high in salt, sugar, trans fats, and additives, put an extra strain on your liver. And, if you don’t provide your liver with enough vegetables, fruit, water, and healthy fats, you will put your liver under a lot of stress.
4. Eat healthy fats
Omega-3 fatty acids help the liver process fats but also help to lower the amount of triglycerides that are produced. This is also beneficial for people with high triglyceride levels or heart problems.
5. Ditch the drink
When you drink alcohol the stomach or the small intestines absorb it. It is then transported to the liver where it is metabolised into acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is toxic and is further metabolised into acetate, which is less toxic. The final step is to turn acetate into carbon dioxide and water. The liver can handle small amounts of alcohol, as the detoxification process is able to ‘keep up with demand’. However, when you drink large amounts of alcohol there is an accumulation of the toxic compounds. In addition, the liver needs water to function optimally, and the diuretic effect of alcohol might cause more issues.
6. Get active
Physical activity has shown to keep your liver healthy by improving circulation and improve your body composition. To reap the most benefits, it is important that you include both strength training and cardio.
As I mentioned above, vegetables and fruit are great for your liver to function optimally. However, there are some that are slightly better than others. Below are some of my favourite liver-loving vegetables and fruits.
Beetroot helps the liver’s detoxifications processes by increasing some of the enzymes necessary. Beetroot will also provide your body with other nutrients, such as pectin, that might assist in cleansing the body from toxins.
Grapefruit assists your liver by increasing the amount of liver enzymes. These enzymes are involved in the detoxification process.
Garlic is high in compounds that help activate some of the liver enzymes Inn particular, those that are involved in the detoxification process.
Carrots are high in beta-carotene, a carotenoid, proven to assist and protect the liver.
• Leafy greens
Leafy greens, such as rocket (arugula), spinach, dandelion greens, and mustard greens, are great liver-loving foods to include in your diet
Avocado assists the body with producing glutathione. This compound is important for the liver to detox your body.
Turmeric is a great spice to add to your diet as it has numerous health benefits. Turmeric has also shown to keep your liver healthy. Tip: sprinkle turmeric on your omelette, or make a curry.
Asparagus is a natural diuretic and assists the liver with the detoxification process. As a diuretic, asparagus will also assist the kidney to cleanse your body.
• Broccoli and cauliflower
These two cruciferous vegetables will help to increase your body’s levels of glutathione, and the amounts of liver enzymes.
Like broccoli and cauliflower, cabbage will help to increase the liver enzymes that are necessary to detox your body.
• Green tea
Green tea is very high in antioxidants (catechins) that aid the liver. So, ensure you have a cuppa!
• Brussels sprouts
This is probably not your favourite vegetable. However, this little sprout boasts an array of vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that are great for you liver.
Walnuts do not only contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but also glutathione, which great for your liver.
How do you ensure you keep you liver healthy? Please let me know in the comments below!