My neighbour wanted to detox on January 1st and like many people, he wanted a fast solution, thinking he was bullet-proof. He searched the internet and came across a recipe of epsom salts, olive oil and lemon juice. He drank it as directed across the day and fell violently sick after it with extreme weakness and diarrhea. ‘Never again’ he vowed.
I am not a fan or promoter of detox products. Our liver is amazing organ at regenerating but we need to respect it and rest it from time to time. Following are 10 simple steps that rest the Liver after of period of excess such as holiday.
1. Reduce caffeine in coffee, chocolate, redbull style caffeinated drinks and alcohol.
2. Reduce daily calories, even if this is just giving up unhealthy treats such as crisps (150-200kcals) and high calorie foods like Pizza, 1500 to 2000 calories. Eat real food. Cook simple meals using fish, egg, poultry with vegetables and snack on nuts, seeds, fruit. Check out my recipes. Aim for 1500 for an adult woman and 2000 for an adult man. Eat real food.
3. Limit foods that are high in sugars. Maybe try my Low Carb programme which will get rid of excess holiday weight. Sugars reduce a family of liver enzymes called CYP450 which help to detoxify the body
4. Drink 2 litres of filtered/mineral water across the day.
5. Exercise to the point where you are sweating and slightly breathless for 30 minutes to 1 hour per day. This mobilises fat and extracellular fluid where toxins tend to reside. This is especially helpful for tackling cellulite. Start with just 20 minutes a day if you are used to exercise and increase to 1 hour.
6. Eating regularly in small portions reducing the work load for the liver. Alternatively you can follow the Intermittent Fasting approach which allows the body to ‘clean up’ during the fasting period. Overeating at any one meal also makes the liver work hard. From the photograph you will see that the Liver is nutrient hungry so eat plenty of protein (1g to 1.5g grams to match your healthy weight in kg body weight), plenty of fresh vegetables, 2 fruits, seeds, nuts and wholegrains. Note the earlier mention of limiting calories – 1300-1500 adult woman, 1800 -2000 adult man, of you want to lose weight.
7. Foods that are especially helpful to the liver include watercress, rocket, dandelion, dark green salad leaves, onion, radish, artichoke, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, kale, cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, rosemary, parsley, beetroot.
- Enjoy a leafy green side-salad with radish, beetroot and artichoke both at lunch and dinner dressed with extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and garlic.
- A pint of filtered water with the juice of a lemon with on rising. in your salad.
- 2 lightly steamed green vegetables with your dinner every night.
8. Add 2 handfuls of Epsom salts added to a bath or footpath and soak for at least 20 minutes absorbing sulphur groups through the skin along with magnesium to relax tired muscles. Sulphation is one of the detoxifying pathways in the liver.
9. Sauna’s also help the detoxification process by sweating out toxins. Alternating between a sauna and a cold shower a few times is useful for dampening down inflammation and stimulating blood flow and detox.
10. It is imperative that you get good sleep. During restful sleep, the body repairs. No computers /phones/TV for 1 hour before going to bed and reduce lighting in room. Relax before bed. Write a list of your tasks for tomorrow before you go to bed to empty your mind.
In summary, give your Liver a holiday every now and again. It does not have to be a crazy detox, just follow the 10 simple steps outlined.