Support healthy detoxification
In the 21st century, more than at any other time in history, we are bombarded with toxins. In addition to environmental pollution in the air that we breathe there are toxins in the foods we consume in the form of additives, pesticides and packaging, and in products our skin comes in to contact with such as cosmetics and cleaning products. Our main detoxifying organ the liver does an amazing job of processing everything we eat, breathe and absorb, but there is plenty of additional dietary and changes we can make to help it do its job.
Buy organic where possible. Although it may not be possible to buy all of your groceries organic, there is a named ‘Dirty dozen’ fruit and vegetables that have been highlighted to have elevated levels of pesticides found in them, and are therefore advisable to buy organic when possible. This is the same for animal products including fish, poultry and red meat.
Increase intake of fruit and vegetables and eat a rainbow every day: this will help to ensure you are getting adequate supply of antioxidants and phytonutrients in your diet, which are vital for liver function. Herbs and spices such as turmeric, parsley and garlic can not only help to achieve this rainbow, but are also great liver boosters.
Eat seasonal and local – seasonal food grown in sync with nature’s cycle can improve the nutrient value of the food, as well as increase the variety of foods that you eat from month to month.
Eat protein with every meal – there are a number of enzymatic reactions that take place in the liver that are dependent on adequate protein. Sources of protein include lentils, pulses, nuts, seeds, avocado, fish, eggs, poultry and red meat.
Reduce sugar – high sugar consumption can cause as much damage to the liver as excessive alcohol, and a condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Eliminate all refined sugars from the diet and limit ‘healthy’ natural sugar alternatives.
Avoid processed foods – these contain additives that can be harmful to the body, as well as being packaged in plastic.
Drink a cup of warm water with a squeeze of lemon upon waking – this helps to cleanse and balance the pH of the digestive system.
Stop smoking, drinking excessive alcohol and taking drugs – these activities are an additional load for the liver and require a large amount of nutrients and energy in order to be metabolized. Contact your local healthcare provider for advice and help.
Switch to natural cosmetics – our skin is our largest organ and absorbs topical products that it comes into contact with such as moisturisers, shower gels and suncream.
Switch to natural cleaning products – effective natural cleaning products can be made from simple household products: bicarbonate of soda, lemon juice, vinegar, water and essential oils.
Increase fibre intake – fibre is essential for healthy bowel movements and the safe elimination of metabolized toxins and hormones. Sources include whole grains, flaxseed, chia seeds, dark green leafy vegetables and the brassica family.
Stay hydrated – aim for 1.5-2 litres of total fluid intake per day, this can include herbal teas such as fennel, peppermint, ginger and turmeric which are also great digestive aids too.