Do you struggle with acne, breakouts, rashes or eczema that show up for no apparent reason? Do you deal with food and/or seasonal allergies? What about menstrual irregularities? If any of these issues, plus bloating, sluggishness, or feeling overly-emotional sound like just another Tuesday to you, it could be that your liver is trying to get your attention. And it may be calling for a little spring cleaning…
Sadly, most of us experience at least a couple of these uncomfortable symptoms on a regular basis. What most of us don’t realize is that these renegade reactions are actually messages from our bodies alerting us that something is out of balance!
Whether from environmental build-up and continual stress or poor diet and late night cocktail binges, the bottom line is we’re continually overworking our livers. The lethargy, irregularities and irritation are some of the tell-tale signals that something needs to change.
Nature always knows what to do
Every now and then we need to apply extra efforts to help regenerate and revive our liver. There are juice cleanses, food cleanses, products and supplements of all kinds to help promote liver health, but one of the simplest and most effective ways is to eat naturally cleansing foods – and springtime is the perfect time to do so!
Following the more stagnant winter months and their heavier, fattier foods, we begin to crave the light, fresh produce of the spring season. As it so happens, the seasonal produce available in spring is brimming with nutrients that naturally cleanse and fortify the liver. From citrus to young sprouts, bitter herbs, and our beloved avocado, here are nine foods that will help us get our livers back on track…
9 Liver-Detoxing Foods To Counter All That Pinot
An apple a day really could keep the doctor away. Apples are packed with detoxifying components like fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that provide nutrition and keep our body systems working efficiently. One such flavonoid, Phlorizidin, helps stimulate bile production and flush toxins out through the bile. The soluble fiber, pectin, also helps sweep the system of toxins.
By this point it may be safe to say we’ve all heard that drinking warm water with fresh lemon juice first thing in the morning is wonderful for your health. This highly alkaline fruit stimulates liver function and the release of enzymes that help to flush toxins from the body. Lemons are also a rich source of vitamin C which stimulates the production of glutathione, a primary antioxidant that is essential in both phases of detoxification.
We already know they’re full of healthy fats, anti-inflammatory properties, fiber and antioxidants – now we’re adding one more reason to love the avocado. Like lemons, they help the body to produce glutathione, essential to allow our liver to detox. Many people with liver issues are quite low in this antioxidant, so keep eating that avocado regularly!
What can’t this superfood do? It’s highly anti-inflammatory, excellent for immunity and used to kill and prevent cancer cells. Recent studies are adding liver protective and regenerative properties to turmeric’s long list of benefits as well. Add it to teas, tonics, use in place of ginger in recipes, or take it in supplement form.
Bitter Herbs and Sprouts
Young sprouts and bitter leafy herbs are some of the best spring ingredients to stimulate, cleanse, and protect the liver and gall bladder. Bitter tonic herbs stimulate bile and hydrochloric acid production, the immune system, nervous system function and help to combat fatigue and exhaustion. Some of the most notable are young sprouts, watercress, artichoke, basil, and dandelion.We often find them in the form of digestive bitters, but they are so easy to incorporate into salads, juices and smoothies to support the liver regularly in their fresh raw state.
Dandelion Root and Greens
Dandelion is worth mentioning all on its own for it powerful liver stimulating and detoxifying properties. Both the root and the leaves are used as a classic bitter liver tonic with diuretic properties, helping to produce bile and cleanse the liver and gallbladder. Dandelion may also have the ability to reduce cholesterol, and oxidative stress. In addition dandelion is used as a remedy for urinary disorders, weight loss, maintaining bone health, diabetes, acne, jaundice, and even some forms of cancers.
Like many of these listed ingredients, grapefruit contains certain phytonutrients – in this case, limonoids – that inhibit tumor formation by promoting the formation of glutathione, a detoxifying enzyme. Additionally, high in vitamin C and containing over 70 mg of glutathione, the nutrients found in grapefruits increase the natural cleansing processes of the liver by boosting the production of liver detoxifying enzymes.
Wheatgrass is overflowing with vitamins, amino acids, liver enzymes, and high chlorophyll content. Wheatgrass is probably best known for its liver supporting properties, helping to neutralize toxins, build the blood, detoxify what the body ingests and restore and revitalize the liver function with its plethora of nutrients.
Fennel has a long list of benefits far beyond just aiding the liver. With a delicious anise-like flavor, fennel is easy to incorporate into teas and salads to help increase urine flow and protect the liver from alcohol damage. A potent blood cleanser, fennel may also improve kidney function and prevent kidney stones.