‘Tis the Season to Detox

Along with the other 500 functions it’s supposed to carry out, our liver has been working hard to digest and detoxify all that food and drink we’ve crammed into the festive season. The way to help it (you’ll be pleased to know) is not to go on a week-long “detox liver cleanse” drinking nothing but liquidised spirulina and celery. Instead, take the following sensible and achievable steps below:

Support your Detox Pathways

Don’t bin the brussel sprouts yet. They, and other members of the brassica family, alongside the allium family (means onions) contain sulphur which is vital for Phase II detoxification.

Whilst we’re talking of sprouts brassicas also contain a phyto-nutrient called indole-3-carbinol which the liver loves. Can’t get enough of it, in fact. If detoxification was a love story the liver would be infatuated with I3C and would write sonnets about it.

Needed in the intermediary stage between the detox pathways are anti-oxidants such as vitamins A, C and E but also minerals such as zinc and selenium. Found in all fresh fruit and vegetables – make sure you’re getting your 7-a-day, but also have a handful of mixed seeds and nuts as well.

B vitamins are also needed at Phase I, found in marmite and whole grains for example. Marmite on toast – sorted.

Improve Excretion

If our bowels aren’t moving then the toxins that our liver has worked so hard to make safe and excrete hang about and stand a chance of being reabsorbed. Keep things moving by increasing your fibre intake. The recommended intake is only 18g but we should aim for more than that. One average meal of mixed vegetables (broccoli, carrot, peas), whole grain rice, chicken and apple is around 15g. How much more difficult can it be to exceed 18g with 2 more meals?

However if you still need help then supplement with flaxseed or psyllium alongside a glass of water. These are excellent sources of soluble fibre which promote intestinal health.

Don’t forget fluids, aim for 1.5-2 litres of non-caffeinated a day. A major contributor to constipation is simple dehydration. Make your 7-a-day into a soup. Drink water, vegetable juices and liver supporting herbal teas such as: milk thistle, dandelion, artichoke, mint and fennel.

Reduce Toxicity

In order to give the liver a really helping hand though let’s try to lessen its burden where we can. That means drinking less alcohol, reducing unnecessary drugs and eating organic to reduce pesticides.

If you can’t manage a dry January keep to the Government guidelines of 14 units a week with ideally at least 2 consecutive dry days a week.

Reduce Liver Load

It’s not just toxins that we need to reduce. Think also about your intake of fats, sugars and red meat. Live life cleaner and save cakes, biscuits, refined food products and take-aways for special occasions. We’re not saying 2017 has to be devoid of these foods but they shouldn’t be a staple.

Exercise

It is no co-incidence that January-March is known as the Golden Quarter in the gym industry. We’re fed up with being coach potatoes and our bodies are craving to get moving again.

Unlike the arterial system, the lymphatic system has no pumping mechanism and relies instead on our movement for its movement. This is necessary for transport of white blood cells and to remove harmful toxins from tissue into the bloodstream for the liver to process. As such it is a crucial part of the immune system. That spring in our step that comes from exercise is self-fulfilling.

Make those changes. You know you want to. Leastways your liver does.

Although, having said all of the above I do know some great smoothie recipes which include spirulina and celery – drop me a line if you’re in need.

By Saffron Rogerson

22 December 2016