There are so many detox products on the market, what do you recommend for supporting liver health and general detoxification?
There are many foods and herbs that support liver function, and Spring is a ideal time to start focusing on these foods, especially since many of them are now in season.
The liver is the main detoxification organ, and because it has so many other functions as well, (including bile production, carbohydrate metabolism regulation, hormone regulation, blood filtration, and GTF synthesis) it is important to keep this organ functioning optimally.
The liver has two phases of detoxification. The first phase alters the toxins making them weaker and/or water-soluble. The water-soluble toxins are then excreted via the kidneys. Phase two neutralizes the altered toxins, which are then excreted via the colon.
Foods that Support Phase 1:
Brassicas (cabbage, broccoli*, Brussel sprouts, kale, cauliflower), Citrus, and Vitamin C and B complex (choose food sources or whole-food based supplement)
Foods that Support Phase 2:
Asparagus*, Walnuts*, Avocado*, Artichoke, Brassicas, Vitamin C and B complex, Sulphur foods (garlic*, onion, broccoli), Citrus, Beets, Carrots, Dandelion, Turmeric*, and Leafy Greens*
Supplements and Herbs:
In addition to the above foods and herbs, supporting the digestive and intestinal systems is also important for maintaining a healthy liver.
Beginning each day with 1-2 glasses of room temperature water with freshly squeezed lemon is a excellent way to gently stimulate and support the liver as well as kickstarting the digestive system. The intestinal system can be supported with probiotics, fibre, and fresh aloe vera.
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An easy and delicious way to incorporate more greens into your diet.
10-20 crimini mushrooms, stems removed
1/2 cup coconut aminos or gluten-free tamari
1 1/2 cup filtered water
Rinse the mushrooms and place the caps and stems into a large bowl. Add the coconut aminos/tamari and water. I like to place another bowl filled with water on top to ensure all the mushrooms are fully immersed in liquid. Marinate for 2-8hrs, the longer they marinate the softer and more flavourful they become. *Save the stems for soup or salad.
Wild Greens Pesto:
2 cup basil (packed full)
1/4 cup dandelion leaves
1/2 cup walnuts or pistachios
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1-2 cloves garlic (optional) or 1t garlic powder
Place pesto ingredients in food processor, blend until well combined but still a little chunky. Place a spoonful of pesto into each marinated mushroom cap. Enjoy as is or warm in the dehydrator for 1-4hrs. Garnish with diced tomato and serve on a bed of arugula.
Shawna Barker BSc., RHN is a nutritionist, college instructor, and raw food educator.