Spring is the time of year when many people decide to detox. With the warmer weather, you may be desiring to eat lighter foods and to see an increase in your energy. This is not surprising. Spring is the most optimal time to detox the liver. If you are thinking of doing so right now, there are a few things you must know to improve your liver this season, and thus, your health.
What does the Liver do?
The liver has an incredibly important job. It regulates many chemicals in the blood while also excreting bile, a substance that helps digest fats and removes waste from the liver. Additionally, the blood exiting the digestive system has to pass through the liver. It is up to the liver to create nutrients for the body to use from this blood, but this isn’t it. Here are a few more common functions of the liver:
- Metabolizes drugs
- Produces bile
- Iron storage
- Converts excess glucose (the simplest form of carbohydrate) into glycogen
- Removes bacteria from the bloodstream, to reduce the chance of infection
- Regulates amino acid levels in the blood.
The liver is one of the largest organs in your body, and rightfully so considering the huge job it takes on to keep you safe from toxins. With the amount of environmental and food-related toxins you come in contact with on a daily basis, it is safe to say that the liver needs a helping hand from time to time. This is the body’s primary filtration system, so making sure it does not become overtaxed is key!
Why should I detox my liver in the Spring?
Have you ever heard that the saying “It is healthier to eat foods in season.”? In the same manner, you will receive the most benefit from detoxing your liver in the Spring. For over 3,000 years, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has shown us that the liver is associated with the Spring. Many of the seasonal foods harvested in Spring are dark leafy greens which are known to cleanse the blood, alkaline the body, and decrease inflammation--all functions of the liver.
In the winter, many people eat heavier, rich foods that promote weight gain, mucus production, inflammation, and water retention. As a result, they feel heavy, sluggish, and fatigued. In order to shed this excess, cleansing the liver is essential. In fact, cleansing the liver can improve the function of other systems, such as the kidneys and digestion. In the Spring, the body naturally wants to be lighter and less weighed down.
Keep this in mind…
Many liver cleanses are marketed as weight loss tools. While weight loss can be a result of detoxing, it should not be the main focus. Many of those products contain unnecessary herbal combinations, are not organic, and contain chemical fillers that promote inflammation. If you’re interested in detoxing in a way that will benefit your liver, keep reading.
How do I detox my liver the proper way?
If you’ve followed us for any amount of time, you know that we always encourage getting personalized guidance for healing. There are many wonderful herbs that detox the liver, however what herbal and food combination will work best for you may not work well for the next person.
Put simply, your body’s constitution matters. Someone who eats relatively clean and is healthy will require different herbs in a different ratio than another who has a compromised immune system or is elderly. If you’re interested in detoxing, we’d be happy to guide you in choosing the right regimen to fit your needs. Schedule a consultation with us today.
As a general rule, here is the basic process most people will follow:
Step One: Analysis.
What is the state of your health now? Having baseline blood work done is extremely helpful to compare your results. If this isn’t available, at least track your starting energy levels, food and water intake, and any other current symptoms.
Step Two: Elimination.
If your diet includes processed foods, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine, this has to be eliminated. Depending on your constitution, this may be done gradually or right away.
Step Three: Fasting.
This step is optional and also dependent on your body’s constitution. If you are more deficient or you suffer from chronic disease this step may be bypassed or altered. For those with excess constitutions, fasting will be the most beneficial. This may be done with alkaline water, organic raw juices, and/or herbal teas.
Step Four: Herbal Application.
This step can coincide with step three. Adding organic liver cleansing herbs such as dandelion root, milk thistle, turmeric, and other bitter herbs in the form of capsules, powder, or tea after elimination and fasting stage can support the restoration of liver function, while also detoxing.
As stated before, the potency of the herbs should be dependent on your initial condition of your health. More or stronger is not necessarily better (as we shared in this article). Make sure you stick to the serving size or the dosage recommended by an expert herbalist.
While you're detoxing the liver, you may feel slightly fatigue, experience a headache, or even have unexplainable dreams. This is normal. It’s important to stay well hydrated throughout this entire process; doing so can mitigate some detoxing symptoms.
Step 5: Nourish.
Once the detoxification process is complete, it’s time to nourish your body with high quality, organic, nutrient-dense foods. Plant-based smoothies and warm vegetable soups is a wonderful way to gently work your way back to solid foods. At this stage, you may notice your taste for certain foods have changed. You're starting with a fresher slate, therefore, the foods you desire will be fresh and vibrant!
It isn’t uncommon to notice that your sleep is more restful, your focus is better, your skin glows and your mood may be better. Keep up these new healthier habits and you’ll continue to see improvements in your well-being. Before you know it, you’ll feel brand new, just like Spring!