Why You Need to Clean Your Liver (and how to do it)

How often do you clean your liver? More than ever in history, our bodies are bombarded with toxins. Chemicals are everywhere, from air pollution to pesticides, from personal care products to plastics. They leech into our bodies through the food we eat, the water we drink, the products we use, and the air we breathe. They are, simply put, unavoidable. 

Our bodies were not designed to cope with the high amounts of chemicals we are exposed to daily. These toxic contaminants cause a buildup of unwanted compounds in the body, depleting nutritional stores, and leading to long-term health consequences, especially for the heart. 

Thankfully, we have an organ specifically designed to help detoxify our bodies. The liver takes the brunt of the responsibility of keeping the body clean. From the moment we are born, the liver works tirelessly to nullify the impacts of toxins. 

However, given the enormous job of the liver, it gets understandably tired. Every so often, it needs a hand. Today, we will share the best ways to clean your liver naturally. 

What does the liver do? 

The liver is the largest solid organ inside the human body. The liver lives in the upper right side of the abdomen, approximately the size of a football, tucked neatly behind the rib cage. 

This powerhouse organ works quietly behind the scenes, participating in hundreds of bodily functions. Just a few of the responsibilities of the liver include: 

  • Produces bile to help with digestion and fat absorption 
  • Makes and stores several vitamins and minerals 
  • Regulates amino acids 
  • Helps to metabolize drugs 
  • Manufactures proteins for blood plasma
  • Generates cholesterol and other proteins to transport fatty acids through the body 
  • Converts glucose to glycogen and stores it for energy
  • Regulates blood clotting 
  • Produces immune factors that fight infection 

Of all the jobs the liver has, the most critical function is its role in detoxification. Blood leaving the stomach and intestines passes through the liver. In fact, at any given moment, the liver holds approximately one pint of blood. The liver removes unhealthy toxins and other harmful substances from the blood.

Heart-liver connection

Organs don’t work in isolation, and the liver and heart are no exception. The liver and heart pair together to ensure healthy blood circulates through the body. 

The heart pumps the blood throughout the body, including to the liver, where it filters approximately two quarts a minute. At the same time, the liver produces bile to help dissolve fat in the blood vessels. Without bile, arteries would harden, making the circulation of blood impossible. 

Science has identified a link between liver dysfunction and cardiovascular health. For example, studies have found that individuals with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease are at much higher risk for atherosclerosis. Moreover, an unhealthy liver can lead to systolic and diastolic dysfunction and rhythm disturbances, such as AFib. 

Signs your liver could use some help 

The liver is a quiet organ, rarely alerting the body to a problem in a significant way. Instead, a tired liver may exhibit itself in the following ways: 

  • Fatigue or low energy 
  • Infrequent bowel movements or constipation  
  • Sugar cravings  
  • Bad breath or body odor 
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Skin problems such as acne or rashes
  • Anxiety, stress, depression, or mood swings 
  • Brain fog
  • Headaches  
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart palpitations 
  • Difficulty losing weight 
  • Gas or bloating 

If you experience any of the above symptoms, detoxing the liver might be a good idea.

7 ways to cleanse your liver naturally

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard of liver detoxes. From 3-day liver cleanses to juice cleanses, cleaning the liver is all the rage these days. But unfortunately, the vast majority of these fad diets don’t healthily support the liver.

The best approach to cleaning the liver is one that is naturally incorporated into daily life. The liver appreciates continuous love. The following seven tips will help your liver to release toxins slowly, gently, and effectively. 

Adopt a liver-friendly diet 

The liver processes everything we eat. Diets high in sugar, processed foods, preservatives, and pesticides put tremendous strain on the liver, making it work harder to remove the toxins. 

While one would think that fatty foods increase the liver’s workload, studies have found that excessive carbohydrates are the real problem. For example, researchers in this study found that after eating high levels of simple sugars for three weeks, the subject’s weight increased by 2 percent, but their liver fat skyrocketed by 27 percent. 

Focus on an organic, locally sourced diet rich in vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Keep in mind that liver detox pathways require protein, so eating pasture-raised poultry and eggs, grass-finished beef, and wild-caught seafood is essential for detoxifying the liver. 

Moreover, many of these high-protein foods are high in omega-3s. Omega-3s have a powerful effect in preventing liver inflammation. Multiple studies have found that omega-3s, such as those in fatty fish, can aid liver health. 

Other foods to boost the liver include: 

  • Fiber-rich foods that keep the gut moving 
  • Pre and probiotic foods that help maintain a healthy microbiome 
  • Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts 
  • Pungent foods such as mint, ginger, horseradish, dandelion, and chamomile 

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Hydration is essential for a healthy functioning liver. Water plays a critical role in helping to remove toxins from the body. Therefore, ensuring sufficient hydration is a crucial component of cleansing the liver. 

It’s important to remember, however, that water quality is just as important as quantity. Tap and bottled water are key sources of toxins, including pharmaceuticals, fluoride, pesticides, and other dangerous chemicals. So be sure only to drink filtered water

Aim for 6-8 glasses of room temperature water each day. Adding a squeeze of organic lemon or lime juice to your water stimulates the bile to remove toxins. 

Sweat it out

Sweating is one of the best ways to detoxify the liver naturally. When we perspire, chemicals stored in the body are excreted through the pores via sweat. 

Some of the best ways to support the liver through perspiration include: 

Focus on breathing 

We don’t often think of our lungs as detox organs, but we should. Lungs expel waste products every time we exhale. Diaphragmatic breathing, or breathing from the diaphragm instead of the chest, helps to eliminate toxins, thus reducing inflammation in the body. 

Practicing breathing exercises multiple times a day enables the respiratory system to detoxify more quickly, thus helping detoxify the liver. 

Consider liver-supportive supplements

While eating a healthy diet is the best way to clean your liver, an overburdened liver often requires additional help.  Some of the best supplements to aid in detoxification include: 

  • Glutathione – This powerful antioxidant supports cellular detoxification.  
  • Alpha-lipoic acid – Alpha-lipoic acids helps the body make glutathione while boosting other essential antioxidants.
  • Magnesium – Magnesium is an essential cofactor in enzymatic processes involved in liver detoxification.

Catch some Zzz’s 

In this day and age of go-go-go, sleep may feel like a waste of time. However, nighttime is the most productive time to restore health. While we are sleeping, our liver works hard on the detoxification process. 

Like the rest of the body, the liver also follows a circadian rhythm. Studies have linked sleep disturbances to an exacerbation of liver disease. Without sleep, the liver can’t perform adequate detoxification. 

Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to best support your liver.

Remove toxins from your life 

The world that we live in is incredibly toxic. While we can’t eliminate toxins entirely, we can help the liver by reducing exposure whenever possible. By avoiding certain products and chemicals, we can help reduce the burden on the liver. 

Take a good look at the products you use in your daily care routines, such as shampoo, lotions, and soap. Many of these products contain harmful chemicals that absorb through the skin and scalp and make their way to the liver. Additionally, consider the products used around your home, such as candles, cleaning supplies, and homeware. Wherever possible, remove unhealthy toxins from your life.  

Next steps 

The human body was perfectly and wonderfully designed with organs that serve several purposes. But unfortunately, the liver was never made to handle the enormous amount of toxins that flow through it daily. 

There’s not a single person in the world who wouldn’t benefit from cleansing their liver. However, knowing exactly how to detoxify the liver naturally can be confusing. A Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach can help you determine your toxic load and advise you on the next steps to reduce the burden on your liver. 

Eat well, Live well, Think well

Medical Review: Dr. Lauren Lattanza 2022

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