A liver detox is a combination of drinking less alcohol, eating less and exercising more. Here are some supplements and facts that may also help to heal your liver.
You just finished “Dry January.” Congratulations! In addition to reducing your waistline and your entertainment expenses, taking a break from alcohol helps clean your liver. But, alcohol isn’t the only thing that can lead to a dirty liver. Your liver works hard filtering many different toxins in the body, and certain medications, foods, and environmental factors can clog it up, too.
So what can you do?
Try a Simple Liver Detox
The best thing you can do to keep your liver healthy is to treat it with kindness, says John Hopkins Medicine: “Avoid frequent overconsumption of food and alcohol, maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen, and get screened if you have liver disease risk factors.”
Your liver is similar to the filter you use in your furnace or refrigerator, except that you can’t change out your liver like you would an appliance filter. When you detox your liver it’s similar to rinsing a reusable filter and using it again. Once the filter is clean, it is usually much more efficient at removing the things it is supposed to be filtering. After all, a dirty filter doesn’t work very well.
Here’s a simple month-long liver detox program along with a list of supplements that can help keep your liver clean and functioning at its best
Liver Detox: Simple Steps
Follow these healthy habits for at least a month to give your liver a break and get it functioning at an optimal level. Remember, before starting a liver cleanse, check with your doctor to make sure it is right for you. If you have certain conditions or are taking certain medications a liver cleanse may not be suggested.
- Limit alcohol. Alcohol puts unnecessary strain on the liver and is counterintuitive to a detox.
- Drink plenty of water. Water is a great way to help flush away toxins from the liver and kidneys. Try to make sure to drink at least eight glasses of water per day.
- Exercise daily. Studies show that daily exercise helps keep glucose levels in check, which in turn keeps insulin levels normal. Insulin is processed in the liver and an imbalance can be a leading cause of liver disease. Daily exercise is also beneficial when cleansing since a good sweat will help release toxins from the body.
- Avoid eating an excess of saturated fats. Diets with high levels of saturated fat can contribute to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Saturated fats are found in things like red meat and fatty cuts of meat such as sausage, bacon, and ham. Instead, try eating more omega-3.
- Eat plenty of high-antioxidant fruits and vegetables. Dark leafy greens contain plenty of inflammation-reducing antioxidants plus they contain many nutrients that are helpful when detoxing.
- Limit sugar intake. Given the relationship between glucose and insulin to the liver limiting sugar can help improve liver function.
Liver Detox Supplements
All the steps above can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle well past the month’s end. For a boost, supplements may help as well. Before taking any supplements, check with your doctor to make sure they won’t interact harmfully with your other medications or health conditions.
Milk Thistle is an herb that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Specifically, the constituent in Milk Thistle called silymarin is a high-powered antioxidant. In several studies, it has been shown to reduce liver inflammation. Milk thistle is thought to reduce free radicals through its antioxidant properties that are produced by the liver in response to certain toxins.
Turmeric is a spice native to Southeast Asia and most famously a main ingredient in the Indian spice blend curry. Tumeric itself is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Several studies have shown Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric to help reduce non-alcoholic fatty liver markers.
Dandelion isn’t just that annoying weed we are forever trying to rid from our lawns it is also an herb that has detoxification properties. The vitamins and nutrients in the herb aid in keeping the liver clean and breaking down fats.
Artichokes are delicious but they also have healing properties. One study showed that two months of supplementation in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease reduce liver inflammation. Another study involving artichoke supplementation in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver showed improvement in liver function in the group that received the supplementation.
5 Natural Ways to Keep Your Liver Healthy
- Eat a Balanced Diet
Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables provide plenty of fiber, important to maintain a normal blood sugar level. Keep the saturated fats and refined carbs to a minimum and eat good fats from nuts and avocado. Keep hydrated. Don’t eat raw shellfish.
- Keep Exercising
Regular exercise burns fat and that can also help reduce liver fat.
- Avoid Toxins
Read the labels on food products. Try to keep your ingredients simple. Limit exposure to toxins, like insecticides, and when using cleaning products always wear gloves and keep the room well ventilated.
- Limit your Alcohol Use
Excessive drinking can damage liver cells and raise blood sugar levels. Drink in moderation.
- Caution Mixing Medications
Let your doctor know about all the medications and supplements you are taking. Taking a combination of medications and supplements the wrong way may harm your liver.
This post is not intended to substitute for medical advice or prescribed medication. Especially if you have special health needs or a special diet, consult a physician before undertaking any new diet or exercise plan.
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