Carrying out a liver flush is a good idea if you haven’t exactly been engaging in ‘healthy living’ recently. The liver is the organ which is largely responsible for filtering a lot of the body’s waste materials.
In general is does a pretty good job, but if it gets overwhelmed – for example, by excess alcohol consumption – things can start to go wrong.
The Good News: Your Liver Can Regenerate
You may have heard that the liver is the only organ which regenerates itself, which is true – so in most cases just cleaning up your diet and lifestyle goes a long way towards getting your liver back in working order.
However, if too much damage is done the liver’s ability to fix itself up can be greatly reduced – so don’t just adopt an ‘I’ll deal with it later’ attitude.
The Other Piece of Good News: A Liver Flush Isn’t Necessarily a Radical Crazy Diet
There are positive steps you can take to perform a liver detox from today onwards.
The process of a liver flush may not be quite what you’ve come to expect – it doesn’t have to involve some crazy, out-of-this-world diet or living for a week on nothing but apple juice (although we will talk about these kinds of liver cleanses here).
Before we get into exactly how to carry out a liver detox, let’s look at some typical symptoms of liver problems that indicate you need to start paying more attention to your liver (and which will also let you know if you need more serious medical attention).
Catching the Elusive Symptoms of Liver Problems
Unfortunately many signs of liver problems are quite vague, general and easy to miss.
For example, a general feeling of fatigue is a common sign of liver problems, and often more distinctive symptoms don’t crop up until the problems have already become serious.
Still, however, there are a few common problems to watch out for, including:
- Sudden weight loss (often accompanied by loss of appetite)
- Pain in the abdominal area
- Reduction in sex drive
- Change in urine colour (dark urine often indicates a problem)
- Lack of energy
If you’re seeing serious symptoms of liver problems, just performing a liver flush may not be enough – you need to seek professional medical advice from a doctor immediately.
If your liver has undergone significant damage, you may need medication in order to correct that damage.
In other cases, liver problems may be a result of a virus or infection rather than anything you’ve actually done in terms of diet or lifestyle, so simply changing your diet may have little to no effect.
Natural Liver Detox Methods
Chances are if you’re looking for a liver flush, you want to stick to natural liver detox methods.
There are actually several very effective natural treatments that can help improve your liver health – although do keep in mind that if you have a more serious problem, these natural liver detoxes are unlikely to help you in any significant way.
If you just want to promote better liver function and achieve a greater level of health, you can try out these natural liver detoxes.
The Protective Power of the Milk Thistle
This supplement quite literally creates a protective coat around the liver which keeps it safe from damaging substances in the body.
In addition, it promotes the liver’s own natural process of self-repair, making it a useful ally for people trying to reverse lifestyle-related liver problems such as certain types of fatty liver disease.
Milk thistle can be taken in several different ways including pills, capsules and teas.
The Simplicity and Effectiveness of Pure Water
Water is essential for making sure all the body’s vital organs function as they should – and most of us simply don’t drink enough pure water.
Increasing your water intake can help naturally improve liver function, allowing the liver to cleanse itself more effectively.
Liver Flush Cleanse Methods
– Beyond the Myths
You have no doubt heard of liver flush methods that involve drinking nothing but apple juice or lemon juice, and wondered whether or not these are for real and exactly how they work.
Let’s now turn our attention to these methods, dispel a few myths and explain how they really can benefit you.
Pure Juice Diets … Research Is Vague on This
For starters – yes, juice-only diets can be useful for liver cleansing, although there are a couple of words or warning to bear in mind before you go throwing all your food away for two weeks.
Be careful about how long you maintain these kind of cleanse diets for – going for too long without eating solid food comes with a whole series of risks of its own, so don’t damage yourself in your attempts to achieve a healthier liver.
In fact, there’s little in the way of actual research to indicate a juice only diet is any more effective than a juice-and-better-food diet.
If You’re Going for the Juice Diet, Apple Juice Is Most Effective
While it may be thought of as an apple juice liver flush, technically it’s more of a ‘malic acid flush’ – this is the key ingredient in apple juice that makes the flush effective.
The acid helps to loosen up the contents of bile ducts by dissolving the bonds between masses of toxins that have become stuck to each other.
Essentially it allows the material which has accumulated in the liver to move through it more freely, so it’s expelled quicker.
The Hardcore Process: Every Two Hours for Two Days
Many liver detox recipes include other ingredients like olive oil and recommend you don’t eat during the flush. (Other are recommendations are less radical and suggest that in-between the drinks you eat healthy, organic raw fruit and vegetables.)
Again, there is little to no scientific evidence supporting these flushes and they can cause problems of their own, so it’s best to maintain a good liver cleanse diet while performing a juice flush.
A Very Simple Non-Radical Liver Detox Flush Video
Here is a nice little video that supports the less radical liver detox flush.
Instead of drinking only apple juice for two days, you can simply squeeze a bit of lemon mixed with a bit of good olive oil and a little salt.
This you drink each day for two weeks just before going to bed.
Liver Tonics – Real or Snake Oil?
In your search for the perfect liver flush you’re likely to come across various pre-packaged formulas being sold online or at pharmacies.
So do any of these liver tonics actually work?
Some of them are actually quite effective, although in most cases they are concoctions made up of combinations of the natural liver detox ingredients we have touched on here already.
In most cases they are simply a convenient way to get all the benefits of a handful of different natural liver remedies.
Milk thistle is one we’ve already touched on, and you’ll find this is the primary ingredient in many liver tonics, or at least included.
Dandelion extract is another common natural treatment for liver problems which tends to be a central ingredient in liver tonics. Dandelion is recognized for its ability to cleanse toxins from the blood, which essentially means it aids natural liver function.
It also stimulates bile production, again aiding the natural function of the liver (bile is a necessary part of the fat metabolizing process).
You may also come across liver tonic products which contain an ingredient called ‘silymarin’ – these have essentially the same effect as milk thistle (providing a protective coating for liver cells against toxins), since silymarin is just the active ingredient found in milk thistle.
Taurine, Yellow Dock and Turmeric
Liver Cleansing Diet Tips
At the end of the day, if you want to clean up your liver naturally, you really can’t beat adopting a balanced, healthy diet which includes a respectable intake of water.
So what exactly constitutes a healthy liver cleansing diet?
1) Alcohol, Nicotine and Caffeine Are All No-Go
For starters, you want to cut down on alcohol, nicotine and caffeine – all of which are essentially poisonous to the liver. Cut right back on these if they’re a part of your regular lifestyle, or eliminate them altogether if possible.
2) Avoid the Fatty Foods Trap and Go for Low Fat Protein and Fish
Stick to low fat cuts of chicken and turkey, low-fat beef or ham and plenty of fish. Along with being a great low fat source of protein, fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids – although be careful of the source of fish you eat as certain types, such as tuna, are sometimes high in mercury.
In terms of foods that actively help cleanse the liver, you may be surprised to find that even small additions to your diet can have a big effect.
3) Garlic Is a Great Liver ‘Cleaner’
4) Green Tea Has Cleansing Powers from Antioxidants
Green tea is also an easy addition to a liver cleansing diet, being high in antioxidants (although it tends to be a bit of an acquired taste!).
Raw Fruits and Vegetables
Avocados, leafy green vegetables and of course apples all help promote better liver function.
Tumeric, the Yellow Liver Booster
And of course turmeric, already mentioned as a common ingredient in liver tonics, is a spice – so sprinkling some in with your cooking is an easy way to add both flavor and liver-cleansing properties to all your meals.
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