The Thanksgiving feast, holiday parties, carry-in lunches at work and the special homemade ‘treats’ that make their way into your life at this time of year may tempt you to look for a way to undo all of the damage overeating and drinking is doing to your system.
After an extended period of eating sugary, high-fat foods loaded with empty calories, and drinking too many special holiday drinks (whether it be a couple of shots of Tequila at the after-party or a 460 calorie Eggnog Latte from Starbucks) your liver could use a break.
Do You Need A 48-Hour (or 7 Day) Detox or Cleanse?
The desire to get rid of that stuffed, sluggish feeling that comes after a few days of overdoing the food and drinks sends a lot of people to the drug store for a commercial liver detox or cleansing product. But, research shows that the liver doesn’t need you to spend your cash on a product that promises to flush your system of all of the toxins you’ve consumed.
According to Dr. Andrew Weil, “If you are in good health and not overloading your system with toxic substances (such as alcohol), the liver will cleanse itself very well.” Dr. Weil also reminds us that liver toxicity does not cause cancer, heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, auto-immune conditions, or aging.
The best thing you can do for your overall health is to get back to a plan of eating and drinking foods and beverages that promote liver, colon, kidney and heart health. Drinking six to eight glasses of water daily, eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, avoiding tobacco smoke and limiting alcohol can get your system back in top-notch condition.
The Good and The Bad
A commercial cleansing product might not be as beneficial to your healing as promoters of the products would have you believe. But, there are some foods that are particularly bad and good for the liver. If you work to avoid those on the bad list, and consume plenty of those on the good, you’ll begin to feel better quicker.
Six substances to avoid (besides the obvious tobacco and alcohol) are sugar, artificial sweeteners, fried foods, monosodium glutamate, acetaminophen (Tylenol) and fuel exhaust.
Foods that support liver health are beets, broccoli, sweet potatoes, lemons, lentils, minimal amounts of healthy fats (found in avocados, nuts, and chia seeds), apples, onions, and leafy greens. In general, whole foods that are low in calories, sugar and salt, but high in nutrients and vitamins are what you need to get and stay healthy this year.
In particular, large amounts of leafy green vegetables, six to eight glasses of water with slices of lemon, cucumber or other fruits, green tea, and moderate amounts of daily exercise are all you need to naturally ‘detox’ your system.
A while back I posted a recipe for a delicious and super healthy kale and pomegranate salad that provides a ton of nutrients, and fiber and would be something to add to your natural detox plan.
Your Liver On Sugar
One of the best things you can do for your liver is limit the amount of added sugar that you consume each day. Too much sugar, and more specifically fructose, turns into fat in the liver. Over time, this buildup of sugar leads to a condition known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and damages the liver in the same way that too much alcohol does.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than nine teaspoons a day for men and six a day for women.
For more reasons why you should say no to sugar, click here.