Never mind diamonds, your liver is your best friend. It is the greatest multi-tasking organ, and as a result its function – or dysfunction – has an incredibly important impact on how you feel. When you overindulge, your liver works hard behind the scenes. It breaks down and eliminates toxins and excess hormones, balances your blood sugar, produces bile, the stuff that helps you digest fat and cholesterol, and puts vital nutrients into storage for a rainy day. Your liver is the unsung hero of your health, so why not give your liver a 9-day detox?
Liver Detox Principles
In this article, Patrick Holford shares his ideas on the 9-day liver detox program, a detox that is built on nothing but sound nutritional principles. It aims to support your liver’s ability to do its job by detoxing your body by removing toxins from your diet and replacing them with the very nutrients it needs for optimum efficiency.
You’ll be taking in a large quantity of the nutrients that are directly beneficial to your liver and which will actively support its detoxification function. It can then do its job of safely removing toxins from your fat stores and processing them appropriately without any ill effects. When your liver is firing on all cylinders you will experience:
- Increased energy and vitality
- Clearer skin
- Freedom from digestive complaints
- Regular bowel movements
- Fresh breath
- Clearer sinuses
- Fewer infections
- Brighter eyes
- Sharper mind
Five habits to break
1. Wheat: There’s a kind of gluten in wheat, called gliadin, which irritates the gut. Give your inside a break by avoiding all bread made from wheat and all commercially made cakes, biscuits, pastries and pasta.
2. Milk: If I told you I was breastfeeding at the age of 49, albeit from another species of animal, would you think I was weird? Adult humans are simply not designed to drink milk, so it’s important to have a break from milk products. Instead, buy rice, almonds, coconut or quinoa milk, coconut or pumpkin seed butter, tahini, soya cream (or make your own with finely ground cashews and water), or any nut or seed butter.
3. Caffeine: Caffeine is treated as a toxin by the body. Give yourself a break from coffee, black tea, colas and diet colas, Red Bull and other caffeinated drinks. Substitute up to two weak cups of green tea, rooibos, herbal tea or water. Stay away from decaf.
4. Alcohol: This is your liver’s worst enemy, so give your liver a total break. Replace it with tonic water or organic grape juice in a wine glass so that you feel (and look) as though you are having an alcoholic drink.
5. Bad fats: Take a break from all meat, all fried food, all processed foods containing hydrogenated (or partially hydrogenated) oils, commercial mayonnaise and all margarines and spreads. Substitute with essential fats from fish (but not fried fish), eggs, olive oil, raw nuts and seeds, and nut and seed butters and oils. (But don’t cook with them; if you are intending to use oil in cooking, use only olive oil or coconut butter.)
Four habits to make
1. Drink eight glasses of water each day, ideally filtered or bottled natural mineral water. Your detox potential is enhanced if you have a mug of hot water with the juice of half a lemon twice a day, as this encourages bile flow, which helps remove toxins.
2. Eat the big five super foods each day. These are:
- Seeds, for example pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds, and flaxseed, which contain omega-3 and omega-6 essential fats to help repair damaged cell membranes. They are also rich in the minerals needed for the detox and antioxidant enzymes. Have the equivalent of a tablespoon a day.
- Dark green leafy vegetables are rich in vitamin C, folate, chlorophyll and antioxidants. They are best eaten raw in a salad, as cooking destroys their vitamin content.
- Cruciferous vegetables (brassicas), comprising broccoli (tender stem is wonderful), Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnip and kohlrabi. These contain a number of essential compounds that help support detoxification.
- Onions (especially red), spring onions, shallots and garlic. These produce the sulphur necessary for the detoxification process and can reduce inflammation. Again, eat raw if you can.
- Eat berries or pomegranates because they are the best for antioxidants.
3. Take detoxifying supplements. Take two grams of vitamin C a day, plus an all-round antioxidant supplement containing glutathione, alpha lipoic acid and vitamin
A and E.
4. Do detoxifying exercises each day. The best kind of exercise to do is something that generates ‘chi’ – TAI chi, other martial arts or yoga. Alternatively, go for a jog or a brisk walk in the fresh air.
Patrick Holford, BSc, DipION, FBANT, NTCRP, is a pioneer in new approaches to health and nutrition. He is a leading spokesman for nutrition in the media, specialising in the field of mental health.
He is the author of 36 books, translated into over 30 languages and selling millions of copies worldwide, including The Optimum Nutrition Bible, The Low GL-Diet Bible, Optimum Nutrition for the Mind and The 10 Secrets of 100% Healthy People, 10 Secrets of Healthy Ageing and Good Medicine.
Detox your week with Jamie Oliver’s Cranberry Salad! Follow the link to read the recipe.