Liver detox – a functional approach
Liver detox is a catchphrase and it’s overused, but you may need to pay closer attention to it if you struggle with stubborn weight around the midsection, low energy, blood sugar or hormone imbalances, digestive issues, high blood pressure, or irritability. Did you know that all of these symptoms can be related to the health of your liver?
The liver is one of the most underappreciated organs in the body. It filters and removes toxins, regulates hormones and blood sugar levels, and can store and build vital nutrients. When it is clean and healthy, the body’s other organs and systems work well. When it is clogged with excess fat and toxins, the whole body suffers.
It is estimated that 90 million Americans suffer from Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFL). A fatty liver is linked to inflammation, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. That is why detoxifying the liver is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Benefits of cleansing the liver include:
- Weight loss
- Balanced blood sugar
- Healthy cholesterol levels
- Increased energy
- Improved sleep
- Fewer digestive issues
- Better moods
So what can you do to detoxify and repair your liver?
Plenty! Below are several strategies you can use to restore your liver to optimal health.
Cut out refined sugars and flour. The main driving factor in NAFL is sugar intake. Fructose is especially harmful to the liver. Be sure to read labels carefully and avoid anything with High Fructose Corn Syrup like the plague! Eating large amounts of flour-based foods also contributes to the development of a fatty liver.
Eat optimal amounts of clean protein. The liver relies on the amino acids found in protein to package up and remove toxins and waste from the body. Without appropriate protein intake, the liver struggles to perform this vital task. Aim for 3 servings per day. Good options include:
- Pea protein
- Lean beef
Focus on phytonutrient-rich vegetables and fruits. Eating foods high in phytonutrients helps the liver remove waste and burn fuel more efficiently. Cruciferous vegetables in combination with carrot family vegetables are especially valuable. Try including:
- Brussels sprouts
Include plenty of fiber. High fiber foods prevent toxins and waste in your colon from being recirculated and sent back to your liver. They are a vital part of your body’s waste removal system. Some of the best fiber-rich foods to include are:
- Leafy greens
- Sweet potatoes or yams
- Wild rice
Add in healthy fats. Consuming moderate amounts of healthy fat tames inflammation and improves insulin sensitivity. Include foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids or monounsaturated fats like:
- Cold-water fish
- Olive oil
Moderate movement. Moderate exercise activates your muscles. They then assist your liver by becoming a backup storage location for extra fuel. The key is to keep things gentle while you are working to repair your liver. Exercising too hard actually places a burden on the liver and keeps it from getting the chance it needs to heal. Going for a daily 10-20 minute walk and then doing 5 minutes of interval or strength training is an example of a good, moderate routine.
Targeted Supplementation. Several herbs and supplements help support and detoxify the liver. A functional medicine doctor can recommend which ones will be most helpful for you based on your specific needs. Some of the most common include:
- Milk thistle
- Dandelion root
- Schisandra berry
- B vitamins
Always check with your healthcare provider before you start taking new herbs or supplements.
If you suspect that you may be dealing with the symptoms of a fatty liver, now is the time to reach out for guidance and support. Dr. Sisu can help you create a plan to detoxify and repair your liver so you can improve your overall health. Call today to schedule a consultation!