If you have any of the following: pot-belly fat, obesity, pre-diabetes, diabetes type 2, elevated blood fats, or frequent consumption of soft drink beverages you need a sound and inviting but easy program to detoxify. These strategies will improve your health tremendously.
You have heard of detoxification regimens. Chances are you or one of your friends has tried one. But do you really need detoxifying? You do. Indeed, you already have multiple detoxification systems.
Multiple Detoxification Pathways
In fact, every cell and every system in your body engages in some form of detoxification. Lysosomes are organelles found in each cell that remove cellular debris. Phagocytes gobble up both live and dead germs. The kidneys prevent compounds and elements from accumulating in toxic amounts while the colon also removes waste products. The key is to keep your lysosomes, phagocytes, kidneys, colon, and liver in top-notch shape.
Liver: Your Super Detoxifier
Under the diaphragm in the right upper abdomen is the liver, which receives 20% of the blood pumped each minute by the heart. All the blood from major abdominal organs must be filtered and cleansed by the liver before returning to the heart. In fact, every minute the liver detoxifies about two quarts of blood. When working correctly, its special phagocytes (germ-eating blood cells) called Kuppfer cells capture, eat, and destroy 99% of the bacteria. Highly efficient, the liver performs over 500 chemical jobs each day!
In its detoxification of poisons and cancer-producing agents, the liver’s phase-1 liver enzymes begin to break apart carcinogens, but the resulting byproducts of this process can be even more toxic. However, phase-1 enzyme activity is essential to prepare the toxins for total destruction by phase-2 enzymes. For the destruction to take place, the phase-2 enzymes must be synchronized with phase-1 activity, or dangerous toxin levels escalate. The typical American diet, low in fruits and vegetables, causes phase-2 enzymes to lag behind phase-1 enzyme activity and toxic effects accumulate.
Glutathione is needed for phase-2 detoxification. Glutathione is an amino acid complex of glutamic acid, cysteine, and glyceine and is also an important antioxidant that scavenges free radicals and protects the liver. Stress, obesity, toxins or drugs, alcohol, too much dietary fat, and severe exercise deplete the liver of glutathione and consequently decrease the efficiency of the liver to detoxify.
Keep Your Diet Simple and Nutritious
1. Enjoy a fruit plate or fruit salad each day.
Citrus fruits, strawberries, raspberries, and raw apples stimulate the liver phase-2 detoxifying activity. Lemon contains a special flavonoid that counters glutathione depletion and reduces free radical damage occurring in the liver. Grapefruit, strawberries, and watermelon are all good sources of glutathione. Citrus flavonoids blunt the inflammatory response in metabolically important tissues including liver and kidneys.1
2. Eat a cruciferous veggie every day.
Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Bok choy, Brussels sprouts, Cauliflower. These foods stimulate the liver’s detoxification of toxins.2 Try broccoli florets in potato soup, or chopped kale in lentil soup, or cabbage or Bok choy in a vegan Chinese dish.
3. Go green.
Green leafy vegetables are high in antioxidants that help to protect the liver from the free-radical damage that it incurs by processing toxins. Chlorophyll (the green pigment of plants) reduces toxin absorption from the gut thereby reducing the toxin load the liver has to handle. Chlorophyllin, a water-soluble derivative of chlorophyll, protects the DNA in the colon and also reduces the development of aflatoxin B1, a carcinogenic mold that damages the liver.3 Avocados and asparagus are good sources of glutathione.
4. Replace hamburgers with veggie burgers and legumes.
Legumes offer special benefits to the liver. Their phytic acid helps to protect the liver and colon from cancer. Soybeans, in particular, improve the antioxidant activity of the liver. Mung beans and black beans have been shown to help protect the liver from some of this free radical damage.4 Legumes can reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the liver.
5. Use cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil instead of butter, margarine, and most commonly used oils.
These may cause free radical damage to the liver. Virgin olive oil reduces free radical damage, inflammation, and fat accumulation in the liver.5 Don’t overdo it though. One tablespoon makes one-fourth your daily requirement of fat. Nuts, olives, and avocados are the best way to get your requirement for fat.
6. Skip all processed foods and junk foods.
Frequent consumption of junk foods and drinks increases triglyceride levels which consequently damage the liver. The high fructose corn syrup in soft drinks increases fat accumulation in the liver.6 It also reduces the liver’s production of ATP, so necessary for your liver’s energy and efficiency.
Don’t Sabotage Your Liver!
Alcohol poisons and promotes inflammatory responses in the liver. If alcohol abuse continues, it can lead to permanent scarring of the liver (cirrhosis). However, over three-fourths of the liver can be damaged before symptoms occur. If more than two alcoholic drinks are consumed by men or more than 1-1/2 drinks by women each day, serious liver damage will eventually occur. Alcohol reduces the liver’s capacity to cleanse the blood from impurities and pathogens. Several studies show that one or more alcoholic drinks per day are independently associated with the risk of colon cancer.
Obesity Kills Liver’s Efficiency.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) occurs in 10-24% of the general population. In this condition free radical damage, inflammation, and fat accumulation eventually damage the liver. Of these, 20-40% will develop fibrosis and 30% will develop cirrhosis. The risk for liver cancer also substantially increases. You are at risk for developing NAFLD if you have any of the following: pot-belly fat, obesity, diabetes, pre-diabetes, elevated blood fats, hypertension, or frequent consumption of soft drink beverages. Wise calorie restriction protects the liver and kidney function and improves the efficiency of the lysosomes and the immune system.
You don’t need to go on a long fast but cut back your calories by 10-20%. Restricting caloric intake improves the efficiency of the lysosomes. If you are obese, consider eating only two meals a day—breakfast and lunch. Omitting supper improves growth hormone production. This physiologic boost of growth hormone promotes burning of fat and improves the efficiency of the immune system and protein synthesis throughout the body including the liver. We should mention that “under nutrition” hurts the liver, too.
Learn to Simplify Your Life!
As stated, the liver is one of the major detoxing organs, but we need mental detoxification and peace of mind to achieve optimal health and improved performance of the liver. Psychological stress inflames any pre-existing inflammation in the liver. Individuals who scored highly for symptoms of depression and anxiety were more likely to die later from liver disease than those with lower scores for psychological distress. The Scriptures provide this kind admonition to not let our hearts be overcharged with cares of this life. Distinguish between genuine needs and superficial wants.
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Disclaimer: The information in this article is educational and general in nature. Neither Wildwood Lifestyle Center, its entities, nor author intend this article as a substitute for medical diagnosis, counsel, or treatment by a qualified health professional.
- Assini, JM, et al., Citrus flavonoids and lipid metabolism. Curr Opin Lipidol. 2013 Feb;24(1):34-40.
- Hall, EJ, Learning about your liver. The Journal of Health and Healing, 25(1):12.
- Egner, PA, et al, Chlorophyllin intervention reduces aflatoxin-DNA adducts in individuals at high risk for liver cancer. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 98 (25):1401-6, 2001.
- Wu, SJ, Evaluation of hepatoprotective activity of legumes. Phytomedicine. 2001 May; 8(3):213-9.
- Assi, Nimer, Olive oil consumption and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. World J Gastroenterol. 2009 April 21; 15(15): 1809–1815.
- Nseir, William, Soft drinks consumption and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. World J Gastroenterol. 2010 June 7; 16(21): 2579–2588.
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