Detox seems to be the new “diet.” People used to say, “I need to go on a diet”; now we often hear “I need to go on a detox”, or “I need to do a cleanse.” It seems to be the go-to whenever you are feeling tired, bloated, or if you over-indulge. On the other hand, “detox diets” have also received a lot of criticism.
“Why detox? That is what the liver is for!” Well, it is true, the main function of the liver is to detoxify the body. However, the liver does require certain nutrients and conditions to accomplish this. The liver is a biological organ, not a magical cleaning machine. It has limits. At some point, it may not be able to handle all the toxins we throw its way. Bottom line is the liver needs help. So, let us delve into the inner workings of the organs involved in detoxification, so we can fully comprehend what it takes to keep our bodies’ internal cleaning process running smoothly.
With respect to detoxification, the liver has two main jobs:
You can think of the liver’s detoxification process as an assembly line. It has two phases. These phases must be in harmony.
An overactive phase 1 and an underactive phase 2 can create a back log, causing further harm.
Phase 2 must package toxins in way that they can easily be removed. Important molecules are required for this process. Such as glutathione, cysteine, and sulphate. The key thing to remember here is that our body must make these important molecules. The building materials come from the foods we eat.
Again, the body isn’t magic; it can’t make something out of nothing. Have you ever overcooked broccoli and it produced a strong sulphurous smell (like rotting eggs?); that is the sulphates being released.
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli contain important nutrients for liver detoxification. There are many other nutrients required for the liver detoxification process. Too many to mention here. Instead let us focus on the source of these nutrients.
Here are some top liver-supporting foods and herbs:
Once the liver has done its job, the gallbladder then acts as a holding station for bile. Bile is made by the liver and is composed of phospholipids, salts, acids, cholesterol, and other chemicals. Bile is what helps to digest fats. It is important to keep bile flowing in order to keep the detoxification process going.
Here are some great foods to help support the gallbladder and its important detoxification role:
Lemons: Warm lemon water first thing in the morning is a great way to stimulate bile flow and get your digestive system going. It’s like a mini cleanse for your body and should be done every day.
Bitter greens: Dandelion greens, arugula, and fennel all stimulate bile flow. Having a salad with bitter greens will help you to better digest your meal and get toxins moving.
Dandelion Root: This contains flavonoids which help to flush out toxins. It is great as part of your salada, as a tea, or drink it roasted as a coffee substitute.
Part 2 of “Do You Really Need a Detox?” will follow in a few weeks.
If you are looking to make changes to your food habits in order to improve your health, we can help. Just reach out to us via text, call, DM or email.
Certified Nutritionist Kirsten Colella is always eating clean to ensure healthy liver and gallbladder functions. Kirsten enjoys trying out new recipes. You can find Kirsten’s delicious recipes, colourful food pics and fibre-rich healthy food ideas on our Instagram page at @essentialbalanceholistic.