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6 Liver-Boosting Superfoods to Add to Your Diet

6 Liver-Boosting Superfoods to Add to Your Diet

Avocado—Research shows that avocado supercharges other foods eaten alongside of it.  In other words, it boosts the nutrient absorption of other foods, particularly of a group of nutrients called carotenoids.  You may have heard of beta carotene (forms vitamin A in your body) and lycopene. The absorption of both of these nutrients is increased with avocado consumption.  Avocados contain a type of fat that is found in seafood but rarely in foods found on the land. While they have a reputation for being “high fat,” the fats they contain are beneficial and even reduce inflammation in the body. This translates into many liver health boosting properties. If you’ve never eaten avocado, it tastes like butter. Use it in place of butter on bread, wraps, or sandwiches, or top a salad with avocado, use it to make a delicious guacamole or veggie dip.  Simply cut lengthwise around the avocado, twist slightly to release the flesh from the pit, then using a slow chopping action hit the blade of a knife against the pit, twist and the pit will pop right out.

Dandelion Greens—Not just a weed, dandelion greens are delicious food and powerful medicine. They contain blood-building chlorophyll which gives them their green color. They also contain bitter compounds that help cleanse the liver. Choose young dandelion greens since they are more palatable. The older ones become extremely bitter. You can steam, sauté or juice the greens. Roast and grind the root for a delicious coffee-like caffeine-free beverage. I love dandelion greens chopped and sautéed with some minced garlic and olive oil then topped with some fresh lemon juice and a dash of unrefined sea salt.

Soy foods—Lecithin, found in soy foods, helps the liver metabolize fats and reduce cholesterol. Like eggs, it contains a substance called phosphatidylcholine and essential fatty acids that help keep liver cells healthy and help prevent fatty deposits from building up in the liver. Lecithin also helps reduce high blood pressure by allowing the blood vessels to relax to allow better blood flow. Lecithin is naturally found in soy milk, tofu, and miso, as well as organic eggs. Choose only certified organic soy foods since soy is a heavily genetically-modified food.  Fermented varieties like miso and soy yogurt are best.

Onions—Onions contains sulfur that is required to increase enzyme activity that, in turn, boosts liver cleansing. Without adequate levels of sulfur, the phase 2 of liver detoxification cannot keep pace with level 1, meaning that many toxins can become MORE dangerous in your body. Like garlic, onions also kill viruses, bacteria, and fungi.

Nuts and Seeds—I’ve counted these as 2 items but there are many different types of nuts and seeds, including: walnuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, etc. Consuming nuts and seeds is an all-natural way to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Be sure to choose raw, unsalted, nuts and seeds, preferably those found in the refrigerator section of your local health food store since the oils go rancid easily.

Leesa recommends eating only organic foods!

Adapted with permission from the book Weekend Wonder Detox by Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM, DHS, ROHP.  Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM, DHS, ROHP.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Take the FREE WEEKEND WONDER DETOX QUIZ to determine which detox is best for you.

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Leesa A. Wheeler

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11 Ways to Boost Your Lymphatic System for Great Health

11 Ways to Boost Your Lymphatic System for Great Health

 

The lymphatic system, or lymph system as it is also called, is a system made  up of glands, lymph nodes, the spleen, thymus gland and tonsils. It bathes our  body’s cells and carries the body’s cellular sewage away from the tissues to the  blood, where it can be filtered by two of the body’s main detoxification organs:  the liver and kidneys. This sewage is made up of the byproducts of our bodily  processes, over-the-counter and prescription drugs, illicit drugs, cigarette  toxins, other airborne pollutants, food additives, pesticides and other  toxins.

The Fat Flush Plan author Ann Louise Gittleman,  PhD, estimates that 80 percent of women have sluggish lymphatic systems and that  getting them flowing smoothly is the key to easy weight loss and improved  feelings of well-being.

If you are suffering from injuries, excess weight or cellulite, or pain  disorders like arthritis, bursitis, headaches or others, a sluggish lymphatic  system may be playing a role.  Here are 11 ways you can get your lymph  flowing smoothly.

1.  Breathe deeply. Our bodies have three times more  lymph fluid than blood, yet no organ to pump it. Your lymph system relies on the  pumping action of deep breathing to help it transport toxins into the blood  before they are detoxified by your liver. So breathe in that sweet smell of  healing oxygen. Breathe out toxins.

2.  Get moving. Exercise also ensures the lymph system  flows properly. The best kind is rebounding on a mini trampoline, which can  dramatically improve lymph flow, but stretching and aerobic exercise also work  well.

3.  Drink plenty of water. Without adequate water,  lymph fluid cannot flow properly. To help ensure the water is readily absorbed  by your cells, I frequently add some fresh lemon juice or oxygen or pH  drops.

4.  Forget the soda, trash the neon-colored sports drinks, and  drop the fruit “juices” that are more sugar than fruit. These sugar-, color- and preservative-laden beverages add to the already overburdened workload  your lymph system must handle.

5.  Eat more raw fruit on an empty stomach. The enzymes  and acids in fruit are powerful lymph cleansers. Eat them on an empty stomach  for best digestion and maximum lymph-cleansing benefits. Most fruits are  digested within 30 minutes or so and quickly help you feel better.

6.  Eat plenty of green vegetables to get adequate  chlorophyll to help purify your blood and lymph.

7.  Eat raw, unsalted nuts and seeds to power up your  lymph with adequate fatty acids. Choose from walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts,  macadamias, Brazil nuts, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.

8.  Add a few lymph-boosting herbal teas to your day,  such as astragalus, echinacea, goldenseal, pokeroot or wild indigo root tea.  Consult an herbalist or natural medicine specialist before combining two or more  herbs or if you’re taking any medications or suffer from any serious health  conditions. Avoid using herbs while pregnant or lactating and avoid long-term  use of any herb without first consulting a qualified professional.

9.  Dry skin brush before showering. Use a natural  bristle brush. Brush your dry skin in circular motions upward from the feet to  the torso and from the fingers to the chest. You want to work in the same  direction as your lymph flows—toward the heart.

10.  Alternate hot and cold showers for several  minutes. The heat dilates the blood vessels and the cold causes them to  contract. Avoid this type of therapy if you have a heart or blood pressure  condition or if you are pregnant.

11.  Get a gentle massage. Studies show that a gentle  massage can push up to 78 percent of stagnant lymph back into circulation.  Massage frees trapped toxins. You can also try a lymph drainage massage. It is a  special form of massage that specifically targets lymph flow in the body.  Whatever type of massage you choose, make sure it is gentle. Too much pressure  may feel good on the muscles, but it doesn’t have the same lymph-stimulating  effects.

There are countless benefits of getting your lymphatic system moving more  efficiently, including more energy, less pain, and improved  detoxification.  Adapted from The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox  Plan.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and 14-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine,  whose works include: 60 Seconds  to Slim, Healing Recipes, The  Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body Detox, The  Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan,  and The Phytozyme Cure.  Check out her natural health resources and  subscribe to her free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.

 

Top 12 Detox Superfoods

Top 12 Detox Superfoods

 

Even if you don’t plan on doing a detox program, your health will benefit from adding more  detox superfoods to your daily diet. There are many great superfoods with  detoxifying properties, but here are my top 12 picks.  And, they’re  delicious too.

Almonds—are high in fiber, calcium, magnesium, and useable protein that helps stabilize blood sugar and remove  impurities from the bowels.

Avocados—lower cholesterol and dilate blood vessels while  blocking artery-destroying toxicity. Avocados contain a nutrient called  glutathione, which blocks at least 30 different carcinogens while helping the  liver detoxify synthetic chemicals. Researchers at the University of Michigan  found that elderly people who had high levels of glutathione were healthier and  less likely to suffer from arthritis.

Beets—contain a unique mixture of natural plant chemicals  (phytochemicals) and minerals that make them superb fighters of infection, blood  purifiers, and liver cleansers. They also help boost the body’s cellular intake  of oxygen, making beets excellent overall body cleansers. Aphrodite, according  to legend, ate beets to retain her beauty. She was definitely on to a good thing  since beets, in addition to all the benefits listed above, also help stabilize  the blood’s acid-alkaline balance (pH), which in turn supports healthy  detoxification.

Blueberries—contain natural aspirin that helps lessen the  tissue-damaging effects of chronic inflammation, while lessening pain. Blueberries also act as antibiotics by blocking bacteria in  the urinary tract, thereby helping to prevent infections. They have antiviral  properties and are loaded with super-detoxifying phytonutrients called  proanthocyanidins.

Cabbage—contains numerous anti-cancer and antioxidant  compounds and helps the liver break down excess hormones. Cabbage also cleanses  the digestive tract and soothes the stomach, which could in part be due to its  antibacterial and antiviral properties. Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage  (kale is another excellent choice—see below) demonstrate powerful detoxification  activity, including neutralizing some of the damaging compounds found in  cigarette smoke (and second-hand smoke). They also contain a compound that helps  the liver produce adequate amounts of enzymes for detoxification.

Cranberries—have powerful antibiotic and antiviral  substances to help the body cleanse harmful bacteria and viruses from the  urinary tract.

Flaxseeds and Flaxseed Oil— are loaded with essential fatty  acids, particularly the omega-3s. They are essential for many cleansing functions  and maintaining a healthy immune system. They are also critical to maintaining a  healthy brain. The health of every cell in your body is dependent on getting  adequate amounts of essential fatty acids.

Garlic—helps cleanse harmful bacteria, intestinal parasites,  and viruses from the body, especially from the blood and intestines. It also  helps cleanse buildup from the arteries and lowers blood pressure. Garlic has  anti-cancer and antioxidant properties that help detoxify the body of harmful  substances. It also helps cleanse the respiratory tract by expelling mucous  buildup in the lungs and sinuses. I am referring to fresh garlic, not garlic  powder, which has virtually none of the above properties.

Kale—contains  powerful anti-cancer and antioxidant compounds that help cleanse the body of  harmful substances. It is also high in fiber, which helps cleanse the intestinal  tract. Like cabbage, kale helps neutralize compounds found in cigarette smoke  and contains a substance that jump-starts the liver’s production of cleansing  enzymes.

Legumes—are loaded with fiber that helps lower cholesterol,  cleanse the intestines, and regulate blood sugar levels. Legumes also help  protect the body against cancer.

Lemons— are superb liver detoxifiers. In addition, they contain high amounts of  vitamin C, a vitamin needed by the body to make a substance called glutathione.  Glutathione helps ensure that phase 2 liver detoxification keeps pace with phase  1, thereby reducing the likelihood of negative effects from environmental  chemicals. Vitamin C and other antioxidants found in lemons are integral to ward  off cancer, fight the effects of pollution and cell damage. Fresh lemon juice  contains more than 20 anti-cancer compounds and helps balance the body’s pH  levels.

Seaweed—could be the most underrated vegetable in the  Western world. Studies at McGill University in Montreal showed that seaweeds  bind to radioactive waste in the body so it can be removed. Radioactive waste  can find its way into the body through some medical tests or through food that  has been grown where water or soil is contaminated. Seaweed also binds to heavy metals to help eliminate them  from the body. In addition, it is a powerhouse of minerals and trace  minerals.

Adapted with permission from The 4-Week Ultimate Body  Detox Plan by Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD

Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and 12-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine,  whose works include: Healing  Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body  Detox, The Life Force Diet, The  Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme  Cure.  Check out her natural health resources and subscribe to her free  e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.

 

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Liver

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Liver

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.

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