Saturday, May 1, 2010

Six Ways to Cleanse Your Liver

Reprinted from Care2.

Few of us give our liver a second thought. Yet this overworked organ is responsible for over 500 different functions, including: detoxifying environmental chemicals, storing certain vitamins, controlling cholesterol levels, metabolizing fat, and even regulating hormones. Now, more than ever, your liver may need cleansing to help it detoxify alcohol, tobacco smoke, environmental pollutants, food additives, pesticides, and hidden chemicals in your personal care products. Here are some of my top food and herb picks for liver cleansing:

1. Drink plenty of water with the juice of one-half to one lemon squeezed into it. Your body needs water to flush out toxins in your bowel movements and urine. The addition of fresh lemon juice helps to stimulate your liver to produce bile that helps flush out toxins.

2. Eat lots of garlic and onions. Your friends might stay away but your liver will love you for it. Garlic and Onions contain important phytonutrients that break down fatty deposits in the body. As a bonus: they kill viruses, bacteria, and fungi and protect against heart disease too.

3. Supplement with milk thistle extract. Milk thistle contains a potent substance called silymarin that protects the liver by inhibiting damaging substances that can cause liver cell damage. Silymarin also prevents the depletion of the nutrient glutathione–one of the most critical nutrients for liver detoxification. Both alcohol consumption and exposure to various types of synthetic chemicals can deplete glutathione in the liver. A typical dose for liver cleansing is about 140 mg of silymarin.

4. Take 1000 mg of vitamin C. While glutathione supplements are available, the best way to boost this important nutrient is to supplement with vitamin C. Give your liver an extra boost of glutathione by supplementing with vitamin C.

5. Take dandelion extract. Most people are obsessed with removing one of Nature’s medicinal powerhouses–dandelion–from their lawns. The Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism cites research supporting the liver-regenerating properties of dandelion. Due to pesticides and pollutants I don’t recommend picking dandelion root from your lawn. You can take one to two teaspoons of dandelion root extract or supplement with 500 to 2000 mg daily in capsules for two weeks to help cleanse your liver.

6. Eat Indian curries. Turmeric, one of the main spices used in Indian cuisine, adds a yellow-orange color to curry dishes along with a potent healing boost. Turmeric decreases cholesterol levels, lowers inflammation in the body, and protects the liver from free radical damage. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that can damage healthy cells. Add turmeric powder to soups, stews, and curries or supplement with 50 mg of curcumin, turmeric’s active ingredient to bolster your liver’s cleansing abilities.

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