7 Simple Steps To Help Your Liver Detox Efficiently
How healthy we are is determined by how well our body can rid itself of dangerous substances also known as toxins. Human beings today are far more vulnerable to toxin exposure from the environment, lifestyles, processed foods, and toxic body care products.
Many of us need to give our body’s natural detoxification process a break and help it instead. This outside “help” is what has come to be called detox. And it’s become quite the buzzword in health circles.
But what is detox aimed at really? What organs of the body are most affected by toxins?
How can we improve our body’s natural detox?
These are some of the questions this article intends to answer. But the first thing you need to know is that the most important toxin-removing organ of our body is the liver. Other organs including the kidneys, lungs, digestive system, and skin also eliminate toxins, but the liver is the king of this function.
What Does The Liver Do Exactly?
Did you know that the liver has two titles? It’s an organ and a gland. Though it’s three to four inches in length and weighs less than three pounds, our liver performs more than 500 functions on a daily basis.
Some of these functions include:
- Producing important proteins and cholesterol
- Removing old red blood cells
- Balancing and maintaining fat, protein, and sugar composition in our blood
- Processing nutrients brought in by our intestines for better absorption
- Maintaining the right chemical balance in our blood so it can clot
- Breaking down alcohol and medication
- Storing vitamin A, minerals, and iron
- Removing toxins from our bloodstream
- Produce bile to digest fat
- Break down hormones
The liver is one of the busiest, most sophisticated organs of the body and it’s entrusted with the Sisyphean task of keeping our body clean from within – it’s our natural detox agent.
But then the liver can only perform its internal cleansing well when it is itself in good shape. That is why, every once in a while, health-conscious people take up a 24-hour detox fast.
Now a regular detox is a part of the body’s normal routines. And so when we take up a “detox diet”, we are not doing something our bodies don’t do naturally. Instead, we’re trying to boost our body’s natural detoxification processes and help it perform optimally.
7 Practices To Optimize Your Natural Detox
Here are some of the key ways in which you can help your liver detox to its optimum.
#1. Limit your alcohol intake
More than 90 percent of the alcohol you consume, is metabolized and processed by your liver. And the more you drink – whether beer, spirit, or wine – the more your liver has to work.
With time, over-consumption of alcohol can damage your liver and destroy some essential liver cells. Excessive drinking can lead to liver scarring, inflammation, and fat build-up, all impacting liver function.
As a result, your liver cannot perform adequately and had trouble taking care of its most essential tasks such as removing waste and filtering toxins.
That is how some people end up with acute alcoholic hepatitis or alcoholic fatty liver disease, for example. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend no more than one drink daily for women and two for men.
Moreover, make sure not to mix alcohol with medications since that can really burden your liver.
#2. Drink lots of water
Drinking water does more than answer your thirst. It lubricates joints, helps digestion and the absorption of nutrients, regulates body temperature, and cleanses your body by ridding it of harmful substances. In fact, the latter is one of the reasons why skin and beauty-conscious people make it a point to keep themselves hydrated well.
Our body’s cells are predetermined to repair and restore themselves for optimal function and to use nutrients for energy. These continuous processes continually release waste in the form of carbon dioxide and urea. These two substances need to be drained or washed out of the body since their accumulation can harm your blood.
Good water intake removes this waste via urination, sweating, and breathing. That is why keeping up with your water needs is key to healthy detoxification.
So what’s the daily adequate water intake? Women should take about 2.7 liters while men are recommended to drink about 3.7 liters. But your ideal water consumption also depends on your condition, your diet, the climate of where you live, and your activity levels.
#3. Reduce your intake of processed foods and sugar
Much of the current health crisis is attributed to sugar and other junk foods and for good reason. Research has found a strong correlation between high consumption of sugary and processed foods to such diseases as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, among other chronic diseases.
These diseases in turn negatively impact your body’s ability to cleanse naturally by damaging critical organs like the liver and kidneys.
Fatty liver disease – which significantly impacts the liver’s performance – has frequently been linked to excessive sugar consumption.
Just minimizing junk food or at least limiting it, can help heal your body’s in-built detoxification system. Another tip that can work wonders for your detox organs is to simply increase your intake of fruits and vegetables.
#4. Reduce your salt intake
Some people view detox as a way of removing excess water from their bodies. But the reason why your body retains excess water is that you’re consuming too much salt. If you don’t drink enough water or suffer from a condition that affects your liver or kidneys, this water retention can get worse.
If you use too much salt, you can easily rid yourself of those extra pounds of fluid by detoxing. Now, this may come across as counterintuitive, but drinking more water is actually one of the most effective ways of getting rid of excess water retention resulting from high salt consumption.
When you have a lot of salt but not enough water, your body produces an antidiuretic hormone that hinders normal urination patterns. Thus preventing detoxification.
When you increase your water intake, your body releases much less of this hormone and produces more urine, thus allowing you to eliminate more water and waste.
Now if you’ve had too much salt, one way of counterbalancing it would be to load up on potassium-rich foods. Foods rich in potassium include squash, potatoes, bananas, and kidney beans.
#5. A few liver-friendly foods
What you eat, plays a huge role in the overall health and performance of your liver. For this, you should try to incorporate a variety of foods into your day-to-day routine. Make sure to eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Some foods that really work wonders for your liver include nuts, fatty fish, blueberries, and grapefruit. While it is important to provide the best nutrients to your liver, increasing your fiber intake will benefit it too.
Drinking coffee and tea is beneficial to liver health since these boost anti-oxidant levels.
Some herbs and supplements are said to have superfood benefits for liver function. Though these have yet to be proven beneficial by a scientific method, they have anecdotal value. These include turmeric, milk thistle, licorice root, ginseng, and ginger.
#6. Get good sleep
Getting sufficient quality sleep on a regular basis is important to maintaining and restoring your body’s detox mechanisms. Sleep is crucial to brain health since it allows it to recharge, reboot and reassemble itself, while it also supports our body to pinpoint and process the toxic waste we collect through the day.
One such harmful product is a protein called beta-amyloid, the accumulation of which can eventually lead to Alzheimer’s disease. Here’s how this is linked to sleep. When you’re not getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the moment in which it can discard certain substances. The gradual build-up of toxins then starts affecting the health of various bodily functions.
Research has shown that poor sleeping patterns can have both, long and short-term impacts on your overall well-being. It can lead to increased stress, anxiety, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and type-2 diabetes.
To promote good health, adults must get between seven to nine hours of sleep.
#7. Exercise regularly
Staying active and working out routinely vastly reduces the development of many diseases and conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and even certain cancers. Exercising, no matter what your body weight, lowers inflammation.
By reducing inflammation, working out can help your immune system, which in turn helps your body’s detox organs to function efficiently.
Exercising here does not mean you have to go to the gym or put on your running shoes and run several miles. You can simply start by working on a walking routine and take it from there.
Ideally, you should try to get 150-300 minutes of moderate exercise (like brisk walking) per week.
- Vandergriendt, Carly. (2020). 7 ways to improve the health of your liver. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/liver-detox-home-remedy#liver-friendly-diet
- Raman MS, Ryan. (2021) Do Liver Cleanse and Detox Drinks Work? A Scientific Deep Dive. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/do-liver-cleanse-drinks-work
- Dr. Bhandari M.D., Payal. 6 Simple ways to detox your liver. Advanced Health. https://www.sfadvancedhealth.com/blog/6-simple-ways-to-detox-your-liver
- Dr. Axe, Josh. (2022). Detox Your Liver: A 6-Step Liver Cleanse. Dr. Axe. https://draxe.com/nutrition/liver-cleanse/
- Wayne de Walle, Gavin. (2022). Full Body Detox: 9 Ways to rejuvenate your Body. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-detox-your-body