Removing stress from the body
If your liver could talk, it would probably ask you to show it some more appreciation and treat it with respect. It may even ask for a bit of TLC so it can keep serving you efficiently and keep you well and healthy for the rest of your life.
The liver is a multi - tasking workaholic
As our bodies are in a constant battle with our toxic environment which is loaded with chemicals in the food that we eat, the liquids we drink and the air we breathe, this incredible hard working organ, filters about 90 litres of blood per hour. It purifies the blood and detoxifies external toxins including environmental chemicals, pesticides, medications, alcohol and caffeine, as well as internal (endogenous) toxins such as hormones and toxic waste from the digestive tract. Our often under – acknowledged, under – nurtured liver constantly converts one substance to another changing chemical structures of different foods we consume to build structural proteins, as well as changing environmental toxins, chemicals, drugs and medications into safer more soluble molecules, ready for elimination through bile or urine. Even when the liver is not functioning optimally, it still has an incredible capability of regenerating, correcting and improving its own function while all it may need is a little bit of help from us.
Your liver talks to you every day
If the liver is over – worked or under – functioning, it may start to send you some signals. These signals, in other words, symptoms you may experience, are your body’s way of letting you know you could feel and look a hell of a lot better if you took some time to nurture the organ that already does so much for you.
Some of the symptoms associated with increased toxicity include recurrent headaches or migraines, muscle aches and weakness, skin conditions such as acne, recurrent infections, poor short term memory and concentration, chronic fatigue, lethargy, anxiety and mood swings, constipation or incomplete stools, waking up between 2am – 4am (liver detox times), sensitivity to alcohol and even sensitivity to environmental chemicals and smells.
How the liver operates
The liver detoxifies in three phases:
Phase 1: Toxins entering the liver are modified by P450 enzymes to create a Reactive Site.
Phase 2: A bulky molecule is attached to the site, making the toxin water soluble, ready for elimination via bile or kidneys.
Phase 3: Transporter Molecules pump toxins across the cellular lipid (fat) membrane for elimination through bile (then through the digestive tract), or to the blood for elimination via the kidneys.
Through reducing our toxic exposure, making conscious food choices and supporting the liver with nutrients involved in the function of each detox phase, we can enhance our liver function and begin to move towards not only a leaner, more energised body, but long - term optimal health.
Detoxing correctly – is juice fasting good for us?
Fasting for long periods of time, even when consuming fresh fruit or vegetable based juices has the potential of not only making you feel lethargic, but actually increase the toxic load on the liver.
The liver relies on certain nutrients, which work as catalysts in its detoxification reactions. Certain amino acids, including glutamic acid, glycine, methionine, cysteine and taurine which come from consuming protein in the diet, are needed to complete our phase 2 detox. When these nutrients are missing, we can end up with increased toxicity in the gut, as we are not able to activate our phase 2 detox and completely eliminate these toxins.
Phase 1 detox relies on other nutrients including vitamin B12, B6 Folic acid and antioxidants. While both phase 2 and 3 can be enhanced by antioxidants and phyto nutrients as well as curcumin (from turmeric) and green tea.
The optimal detox plan
The best detox plan should work in 3 ways:
- Reduction: of toxin exposure through slight changes to our diet and lifestyle.
- Removal: of bad bacteria and waste products from our digestive system (using antimicrobial herbs such as Phellodendron and garlic as well as nutritional supplements).
- Renewal and rebuilding: our digestive lining with supportive nutrients like glutamine while replenishing with good friendly bacteria and improving the function of our digestive system.
A natural health care practitioner such as an accredited nutritionist or naturopath, will be able to assess your detoxing needs and tailor an individual detox plan for you. I highly recommend seeing a professional who will support you through your detox journey, especially if you are a regular sufferer of any of the symptoms mentioned earlier.
Your general detox eating and lifestyle plan
- Avoid all alcohol and caffeine and replace with herbal tea, green and white tea. Increase your water intake to at least 2 litres a day.
- Choose organically grown or pesticide – free fruit and veggies. Otherwise, wash your fruit and vegies thoroughly. Soaking in warm water with a splash of apple cider vinegar will help break down some of the pesticides.
- Avoid using cheap plastic containers and products to reduce your exposure to harmful BPA (Bisphenol A) and phthalates.
- Remove all sugar and refined carbohydrates including lollies, chocolate, ice cream, soft drink, sweet and savoury biscuits, cakes, cookies and bakery goods including any other products containing white flour or sugar. Replace with fresh fruit as well as a variety of cooked vegetables and raw vegetables. Choose rainbow coloured veggies to cover your plate with to increase your intake of antioxidants and phytochemicals.
- Avoid all dairy while detoxing including milk, cheese, yoghurt and ice cream. Replace with the less reactive/less inflammatory form of dairy including goats or sheep milk, goats or sheep cheese or yoghurt. Other dairy alternatives include almond, coconut or rice milk, and coconut yoghurt.
- Replace wheat with other grains such as spelt, millet, rye, buckwheat and wholegrain oats.
- Avoid all processed meat and red meat. Replace with fresh fish, free range chicken, eggs and turkey, beans, lentils, peas, nuts and seeds.
- Avoid all commercial sauces such as tomato, sweet chilli and barbecue sauce and replace with herbs and spices.