For over a century, natural medicine has been shown that an increase in liver function assists your body in combating many diseases. The role of the liver is to cleanse the blood of toxins that are present in the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink. If the liver is performing sluggishly, the toxins begin to build in the blood, resulting in many chronic diseases over time.
A common problem in women is an imbalance in estrogen caused by several factors. When the liver is not functioning at an optimal level it cannot dismantle large amounts of estrogen. The effects of this manifests itself in debilitating premenstrual tension and mood swings. Other possible symptoms of sluggish liver are fatigue, pale skin, dark circles under the eyes, headaches, insomnia, arthritis, and a bitter taste in the mouth.
The most common causes of a sluggish liver are the use of medications such as antibiotics, synthetic hormones, anti-ulcer drugs and oral contraceptives. Natural aging also can decrease optimal liver function. Exposure to heavy metals like mercury, lead and cadmium and a diet rich in hydrogenated sugars and fats can also result in an ill-functioning liver.
Liver function can be weakened by a lack of nutrients. Current health conditions can also be a sign that the liver is not functioning appropriately. There are many benefits of cleansing the liver such as increased vitality and energy, improved concentration, resistance to diseases and illnesses, better digestion, reduction in allergies and weight loss.
Here are four excellent ways to encourage the liver to cleanse:
1. Healthy eating – the consumption of unhealthy foods full of fat and alcohol-containing chemicals puts an enourmous strain on the liver. Instead, eat foods that are loaded with fiber and other nutrients such as vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds and whole grains. These are nutrient rich foods that are important in any healthful diet. Specific foods that are of great advantage in the liver’s cleansing are broccoli, citrus fruits, beets, artichokes, cabbage, apples, oat bran, brown rice, spinach, onions, tomatoes, asparagus, garlic, green beans, celery, radishes and soy beans, to name a few. Keep in mind that you should drink ample amounts of water everyday to flush the kidneys of toxins from your body.
2. Juice fasting – A juice fast is an effective means of liver detoxification. The most effective juice contains a combination of celery, carrots and beets. Fasting from foods and consuming only juices for the purpose of clearing toxins from the liver is effective if it is done for several days depending on the level of cleansing needed. The fast would have to break with two to three days of vegetables, fruits and brown rice slowly adding more foods.
3. Exercise – Toxins accumulate in fat and muscle cells. An effective way to mobilize these toxins through the skin is through perspiration. The most effective means to achieve this is through exercise of at least 1/2 hour daily followed by time in a sauna everday for 2 weeks. Consult a doctor that is familiar with cleansing before starting any cleansing process.
4. Supplements – A daily supplement may be added to support liver function and assist with liver cleansing. A 2000 mg dose of vitamin C improves liver function. Effective cleansing herbs are licorice, dandelion, milk thistle, chicory root, bilberry, astragalus and burdock. The most effective supplements include artichoke leaf extract, wheat grass and turmeric.