Your liver works overtime to keep you healthy. How do you repay it? You punish it with alcohol and a poor diet. What if you had 7 days to detox your liver? It’s possible. The liver is really adept at repairing itself – but that’s not an excuse to keep battering it. We’ll show you how you can combine this purification process with some healthy habits that will help your liver to thrive.
Can you tell when your liver needs help?
Watch for these signs that it’s time to detox your liver:
- Digestion trouble could mean that your liver is compromised. If you’re experiencing abdominal pain, constipation, indigestion or excess gas, there may be problems with your liver.
- Foul moods are connected to liver malfunctions. When you’re feeling irritable, impatient, restless or angry, you may want to consider a physical explanation.
- Dark circles under the eyes can mean that your liver isn’t functioning properly.
- Pain in the right eye sometimes indicates liver toxicity.
- Sallow, almost jaundiced skin and eyes are sure signs of liver trouble.
- High blood pressure (hypertension) has direct links to liver health.
- Skin problems and allergies are often symptoms of weak liver function.
Prepare to purify!
The process that we’re recommending does take a full 7 days, so it’s vital that you follow our guidelines to the letter. Once the detox is finished, some of the healthy habits may have begun to take hold. Avoid excess of any kind so that your body doesn’t react badly. Please consult with your GP before undertaking this programme – especially if you’re taking medication or have any pre-existing conditions.
Be aware, too, that any purification process may result in symptoms such as tiredness, headache, elevated temperature or diarrhoea can appear. If you develop any of these maladies – especially if they persist – we’d urge you to see your GP.
Forego these foods
During the 7 days that you’re undertaking the detox, abstain from all of the following:
- Fried foods
- Red meat
- Ready meals
- Refined sugar
- Artificial sweeteners
Running on empty
In the morning, you’re essential waking from a period of fasting. Sleep is the time that you rest and regenerate yourself. You don’t want to burden your empty stomach with rich, heavy foods. Choose with care what you’ll eat first thing. When your aim is to detox your liver, your best option is to drink two glasses of warm water when you wake up. Follow them shortly thereafter with a tablespoon of lemon juice and a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. This easy ritual will assist your body in the cleansing process, assuring good organ function and a liver that is ready to…deliver.
Break your fast
Half an hour after you’ve taken your lemon and olive oil, it’s time for brekkie. Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice is a heavenly way to kick things off. You can add a bit of agave nectar or stevia if the juice is too tart.
Follow your grapefruit drink with one of the options below:
- Breakfast 1: A fruit smoothie made (try apple, pear, pineapple or banana) with rice or oat milk, a teaspoon of nutritional yeast, a teaspoon of ground flaxseed, a handful of prunes and a teaspoon of ground almonds
- Breakfast 2: Toasted wholemeal bread with tahini (sesame pate) and avocado
- Breakfast 3: Salad sandwich made with wholegrain bread or a tortilla wrap.
This liver detox isn’t a diet, so you aren’t counting calories. Your primary objective is to eat foods that strengthen your liver. If you’re hungry before lunch, don’t hesitate to grab a bit of fresh fruit or a handful of nuts to fill you up until your afternoon meal.
Even if you don’t eat at mid-morning, you do need to drink an infusion made with one of the herbs listed:
- Boldo (available from health food shops)
- Milk thistle
Mix it up as you wish by choosing one option from each category listed:
- Starters: Gazpacho, salad or baked apples
- Mains: Brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, millet or a baked potato
- Complements: Vegetables, grains or plant protein (tempeh, tofu or pulses)
Feel free to season your meal with a sprinkle of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and a dash of apple cider vinegar. Top off your midday meal a herbal infusions. Choose from those previously mentioned.
Feeling peckish in the afternoon? Munch on one of the suggested ‘brunch’ foods and drink an infusion. It’s your last one of the day!
Your liver loves a light dinner that’s not taken too late. Just as you need your beauty sleep, the liver has to have ample time to repair itself during the night. It’s easier done when it’s not fighting the digestive system at the same time.
During your detox week, homemade vegetable soups (blended) are ideal for your evening meal. You can add seaweed, flaxseed oil or wheat germ to boost nutrients. If you’re feeling famished and you think that soup won’t vanquish your hunger, add some rice cakes or seeded crispbread.
Have a look at this article that has some excellent tips for liver-friendly foods. Here’s to happy health!
Images courtesy of elle_ann, Foodmayhemcom and diekatrin