by Dr. Will Cole
It’s a polluted world, and the dangerous impact has been revealed: Research is starting to show the link between our increased toxin exposure and autoimmune conditions. Normally, the body does an excellent job at eliminating toxins to keep us healthy and thriving—in fact, we humans are alive because of brilliant biochemistry. Each system of our bodies has its own unique function, but they are all inextricably linked and work together to keep us alive and functioning. When one system goes awry, it often affects other seemingly unrelated aspects of our health, and this is particularly true when it comes to detoxification. Problems in this complex process are one of the biggest factors of poor health that I see in my patients.
That’s why it’s more important than ever for your body’s detoxification systems to be working properly, and although many systems in your body are involved, the primary and most influential organ of detoxification is your body’s largest internal organ: Your liver.
Your detox manger.
Your liver does a lot of things for you. Working in constant communication with your stomach, pancreas, gallbladder, and the rest of your digestive system, your liver is responsible for storing and converting nutrients from the foods you eat for your body to utilize. Through its role in the metabolism of fat, protein, and carbohydrates, your liver works to ensure that blood glucose levels stay stable, preventing blood sugar imbalances and other metabolic problems. But one of its other primary functions is to filter out toxins from the foods you eat and the things you are exposed to in your environment. It’s also a blood purifier, clearing your blood of these impurities so that you only use what you need and don’t get too affected by those things that could compromise your health. Your liver is one busy organ, so if it’s not working well, your ability to detox will be significantly reduced, and that’s bad news for all kinds of reasons.
When your liver is overloaded with toxins because it can’t process them fast enough, this creates a cascade of systemic chronic inflammation in your body, which further affects your liver’s ability to rid itself of these toxins. It becomes a vicious cycle: toxins build up, the body becomes more inflamed, detoxification is inhibited, more toxins build up, inflammation increases, and on and on. The only way to break the cycle is to reduce your toxin exposure and support your liver’s natural ability to detox, allowing the liver to restore itself and catch up with the detoxification workload.
Easy practices to support your liver.
I’ve written in the past about various ways to make your life a cleanse, and there are many different things that can contribute to this effort. However, to really boost your detox pathways and liver function, these targeted natural tools are the most effective. They are my go-tos for next-level liver and detox support:
1. Drink dandelion tea
B vitamins act as fuel for methylation (methylation is your body’s biochemical superhighway that controls your ability to detox) and they are found abundantly in dandelions. Brew up a cup of dandelion tea to support methylation and optimal liver function.
2. Take milk thistle
Milk thistle is a plant that aids in eliminating toxins that have built up in the liver. It also helps to restore liver cells that have been damaged from increased toxin exposure. It’s one of the most well-researched natural remedies for treating liver problems and has been used for years to treat a variety of liver ailments, from hepatitis to alcoholic liver disease. You can take it in a supplement or drink as a tea.
3. Season with garlic
Garlic makes food taste great, but it also helps to activate liver detox enzymes. These break down the toxins that enter your body in order to effectively eliminate them, so supporting your liver by encouraging this enzyme release can help support healthy liver function. Don’t be afraid to load up while cooking your next meal! Garlic is great on just about every savory dish.
4. Munch on sulfuric vegetables
Vegetables such as broccoli, broccoli sprouts, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower contain sulfur, as well as the powerful antioxidant glutathione. This antioxidant is essential for activating phase 1 and phase 2 liver detoxification.
5. Eat beets
Beets are also great for helping break down toxins through increasing enzyme activity. Give your liver a boost with beautiful beets – I enjoy roasting them as a side dish, or adding them to a salad seasoned with garlic (a two-for-one live- supporting combination)!
6. Enjoy red clover
This herb, made from the flower of the red clover plant, is one of my favorites for its ability to rid toxins from not only your liver but your spleen and lymphatic system as well. It’s a one-stop shop for all-over detox. You can take it in capsule form or as an herbal tincture.
7. Try burdock root
As a tea or supplement, this root is another detoxifying wonder, especially when it comes to heavy metals. Burdock root has natural diuretic properties, so it flushes fluids from your body along with toxins. This is especially stimulating for your detoxifying lymphatic system.
You don’t have to try everything on this list, but by making yourself a cup of dandelion tea, adding garlic and beets to your next meal, or taking a red clover or burdock root supplement, you can jump-start support of your detox pathways.
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