We devote plenty of time and energy into spring cleaning our homes, but what about our bodies? As you rid your home of clutter and dust this year, consider cleansing your body of toxins, too. Everyday we encounter high levels of chemicals—from the food we eat to the personal care products we use each morning. Our bodies remove these chemicals through its natural waste system, but because we live in such a chemical-laden world, this system can get bogged down.
Your liver is arguably one of the most important organs in your body’s natural detoxification system. To prevent our fat tissues and cells from absorbing them, the liver turns fat-soluble toxins into water-soluble toxins, from which point our bodies can easily flush them. This is just one small role that liver plays in our body, however; the liver has more than 500 functions, from metabolizing fat to regulating hormones, and if it spends too much time working to remove toxins, your health can falter.
To support your liver and aid your body’s natural detoxification process, follow these tips:
Don’t overburden your liver. Your liver works hard enough without having to process things like alcohol and over-the-counter painkillers, which are unnecessarily hard on this vital organ. In fact, taking regular, small doses of painkillers is the leading cause of drug-induced liver disease and failure. (Learn more about how over-the-counter painkillers are wreaking havoc on your body.)
Drink plenty of lemon water. Water is important to the natural detox system; it’s one of the method by which our bodies remove toxins. The citric acid in lemon juice encourages the liver to produce bile, which is another vehicle that our bodies use to excrete toxins.
Take liver-support supplements. Turmeric, milk thistle and dandelion are all known to be helpful at cleansing and protecting the liver. Try 50 milligrams of turmeric, 500 milligrams of dandelion extract, or 500 milligrams of milk thistle daily. You can also steep fresh dandelion roots into a boiling water to make a tea. (Note: If foraging for wild dandelions, only pick them from areas that you know are free from chemical pesticides.)
Eat cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli, cabbage, kale, arugula, collard greens and other cruciferous vegetables are recommended foods when doing a liver detox. Be sure to eat at least one serving a day.
Get enough minerals. Minerals are essential to the liver detoxification process, so make sure you’re eating plenty of mineral-rich foods or taking a good mineral supplement (look for a liquid-based supplement with both macro and trace minerals). Important minerals for liver detoxification include calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, copper, iron, selenium, zinc, manganese and others.
Keeping your liver in top shape is essential to good health.
By Susan Melgren, web editor of Natural Home & Garden magazine. She enjoys writing about natural health, nontoxic homes and tips for green living.