Naturopath Katrina Ellis tells us how you can naturally cleanse your liver
Your liver plays a crucial role in keeping you alive and well, so it’s essential for us to be mindful of our liver health and support our liver function every now and then with a rejuvenating cleanse. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean surviving on cold-pressed juices for a week straight! Detoxing can be as simple as making adjustments to your diet to include foods and drinks that help flush out toxins.
In the article below, naturopath, herbalist, iridologist, whole foods chef and wellness advocate Katrina Ellis explains the importance of liver health, some signs that your liver may be in poor condition, and her recommended foods and drinks that are wonderful for naturally detoxing your liver and getting your health back on track.
The function of the liver
The liver can filter three pints of blood per minute and clear nearly all toxins, heavy metals, bacteria, pollutants and other nasties before they re-enter the blood circulation. If the liver is overloaded with toxins or functioning poorly, many of these toxins re-enter the blood circulation, creating cell breakdown, advanced ageing and disease. It is a remarkable organ that can also clear bad hormones, preventing weight gain, fibroids, endometriosis, cysts and many other problems.
Causes and symptoms of poor liver health
Poor liver health is often the result of following a nutrient-deficient diet that is rich in processed foods, saturated fats, too much sugar, excess caffeine, alcohol and the intake of pharmaceutical and recreational drugs.
However, sometimes people suffer from sluggish liver problems even if they follow a clean diet. This is often caused by genetics that can affect phase 1 and phase 2 liver detoxification pathways. If you suspect you have a problem with the liver, you can do a simple gene profile and find out which foods and nutrients can help to switch your healthy liver gene pathways back on giving you the liver function you deserve.
Some key indicators of poor liver health include:
- Joint aches and pains
- Rashes or skin breakouts
- Digestive problems
- Weight gain
- Excess cellulite
- Easy to anger
The benefits of detoxing your liver
Detoxing your liver can help remove toxins that are absorbed from the environment and toxins that are created every day in the body from the poor breakdown of foods. If these toxins are not removed they congest your lymphatics, kidneys, skin and even the brain.
When the liver is clean, the blood is clean and this resonates in more energy, glowing skin, hair and nails, an increase in your happiness and concentration and the removal of unwanted fat that can store as excess cellulite.
Detoxing foods and drinks
The best vegetables to help purify the liver are ‘bitter vegetables’ like dandelion, endive and rocket. Cruciferous vegetables are also great for improving liver function as they contain indoles – powerful chemicals that can detoxify bad hormones and many toxins.
Beetroot is another powerful liver detoxifying vegetable. It’s a rich source of betaine – a substance that can help with methylate genes in the liver and purify the lymphatics too.
Green tea, particularly matcha and sencha, contain powerful substances known as catechins that help to neutralize chemicals before they can create any damage.
Cold-pressed omega oils like avocado, olive, hemp, walnut, pumpkin seed and flaxseed oil are amazing for improving liver function.
Lemon juice in water is a great way to start the day to stimulate a healthy liver and gallbladder function. Use a little skin as it contains limonene, a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes toxins and improves liver health.
Additional tips to optimise liver function
Pure, alkaline and hydrogen-rich water is the simple key to improving liver function. The body is almost 80% water and with the liver needing to filtrate toxins at 3 pints per minute, if you are dehydrated, blood becomes sticky and filters poorly through the liver. Aim for two litres of alkaline water per day.
Near far infrared sauna treatment is another simple tool to improve liver function. When you are exposed to near far light and your body begins to sweat out heavy metals and toxins through the skin, the stress of filtration is taken off the liver, helping it to clear less toxins in the blood.
Coffee enemas are another simple tool for improving liver function. A coffee enema increases glutathione production in the liver, allowing it to clear stored toxins and heavy metals at a faster pace.
For some homemade recipes to enhance your liver function, try my Happy Liver Flush (page 143) and Radish, Shitake and Radicchio Salad (page 231) in my new book The Alchemy of Beauty.
If you want to read more from Katrina, click here to read her article about the best foods for beauty.