We are bombarded at this time of year with articles about ‘detoxing’ our bodies but how many of us really understand exactly what is meant by detox. Scientists say that spending money on potions and pills to give your body a quick fix after festive season excesses is futile and a waste of money. However most would agree that a long term strategy such as having a few alcohol free days during the week and eating a healthy diet throughout the year would be the best New Year resolution for your health. Our liver works very hard to rid our body of toxins and other waste. Starting a new year off by filling your diet with foods your liver will love will support natural detoxification and give your immune system and energy levels a boost, but looking after your liver should not be just for January!
We are subjected to an increasing number of toxic compounds in our everyday life, from the air we breathe, to what we ingest. An individual’s ability to detoxify is a key factor to overall health and the food we eat has a greater influence on our liver than many people would believe. We are all aware that alcohol stresses our liver but how aware are we that high sugary, fatty food damages it significantly too. We are also probably unaware how much influence certain compounds in our food can have on our liver enzymes, either slowing down or speeding up the detoxification process. Green leafy vegetables, dark berries and green tea have been found to be particularly supportive of optimal detoxification.
Nutrients too, are crucial to the functioning of our liver. The detoxification process requires the help of certain vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, iron, selenium and many antioxidants, so eating a nutrient rich diet gives your liver a fighting chance.
Amongst its duties the liver plays a role in the control of blood sugar and metabolising cholesterol and hormones. Ensuring a good intake of fibre is important as this will help to reduce blood sugar and insulin levels and aid in the elimination of excess cholesterol and hormones from the gut. Alongside this it is important to drink plenty of water which will support gut motility and further support the liver.
An adequate supply of protein is essential too, as many of the detoxification pathways are protein based and require a ready supply of essential amino acids. We cannot store protein and therefore a consistent intake is needed in our daily diet.
So the message is clear, fresh nutrient dense foods eaten daily will enhance natural detoxification and in turn will give our immune system and energy levels a bit of a boost too!