Trying to imagine your body without proper liver detox functions? Imagine a world without trash cans or garbage collection systems.
What would happen if all the waste we produce was never processed, sorted or eliminated?
If you close your eyes and think about it for a minute, you can almost feel it: the mess, litter pileups, buzzing flies disrupting the silence, the penetrating stench of rotten eggs, the decomposing food scraps scattered like dirty rainbows contributing to the overall decay of our ecosystem.
It would be chaos.
We’re not about to get political - although environmental consciousness is important to us - we’re just trying to paint a picture.
That’s precisely what would happen to our bodies if it wasn’t for the liver - and liver detox.
The liver is the single largest internal organ in the body, it receives 30% of the blood circulating in the body every minute, turns nutrients into substances we can use and acts as our very own garbage processing plant taking toxins and converting them into less harmful materials to eliminate.
Continuously, effectively, inevitably.
Ongoing liver detox is one of the most vital processes in human health; without it, our bodies would collapse.
In this post, we’re going to show you exactly why the liver is such a crucial organ, why liver detox is important, and how to detox your liver with foods that spread health from the inside out:
- Why is the liver vital for a healthy body?
- The role of the liver in body detox
- Signs of a healthy liver
- How to support liver detox with healthy foods
Why the Liver is Vital for a Healthy Body
The liver is a football-sized organ found in the upper right area of the abdomen in most people, just below the diaphragm; it’s so large it’s about 2% of the average person’s body weight! If size were an indication of importance, we’d be safe to say the liver is amongst the organ MacDaddies.
The liver is in charge of a multitude of metabolic, body detox, and immune functions that keep our bodies running at optimum speeds and levels. After you ingest something (food, water, red wine), the stomach starts digestion and sends whatever nutrients -or lack thereof- to the liver through the blood for processing. For the sake of this post, that's the regular function we are calling liver detox.
This blood coming from the digestive organs is carrying nutrients, supplements, vitamins, medication, and also toxic substances we consume wittingly and unwittingly.
The liver is important because it is the organ that receives such nutrient and toxins rich blood, and then through metabolic, body detox, and immune functions it decides what gets processed, stored or altered. The liver either sends items back into the blood (so other organs that need it can function) or sends the trash to the bowels and kidneys for elimination.
Essentially, without it, we can neither grow, play, and thrive, nor get rid of what no longer serves us.
That’s why liver detox is so important - we’d have the same rotting mess we imagined earlier without it!
The Role of The Liver in Body Detox
Liver detox is a supremely important job (seriously, we can’t stress ‘liver detox is massively important, ask your doctor’ enough). But that's not all your liver does.
There are other functions in addition to body detox performed by the liver, that are just as paramount to our health:
Liver Metabolic Functions:
- Turns nutrients into essential elements the body can use
- Determines which nutrients to process, store, and what to eliminate via stool
- Sends back easy-to-use substances to the bloodstream
- Stores fat-soluble vitamins and minerals (like copper and iron)
- Breaks down protein available as amino acids
- Converts glycogen into glucose for metabolic energy
- Processes fat (lipoproteins, cholesterol, and phospholipids) and either stores it or uses it as an alternative energy source in the form of glycerol
- Ensures sugar blood levels are even
- Processes and distributes carbohydrates
Liver Detox Functions:
- Blood filtering through hepatocytes, the primary liver cell
- Removes dead cells and invading bacteria present in the blood
- Neutralizes harmful hormones (organic and grass-fed anyone?)
- Uses enzymes and oxygen to expunge toxins, turning them into less hazardous substances and then eliminates them through a two-phase process called ‘oxidation and conjugation’
- Takes the ammonia (a highly toxic substance) produced from protein-processing and eliminates it via urea, which is later released through the kidneys
- Removes alcohol from the blood
- Produces bile to absorb fat-soluble vitamins and flush out unwanted substances
Immune System Functions
- Removes bacteria from the bloodstream
- Aids in the production of immune lymph factors
- Produces blood-clotting proteins in combination with vitamin K necessary for healing
- Takes inhaled or ingested toxins (drugs, alcohol, medicine)
- Breaks down damaged red blood cells
- Clears bilirubin (what makes skin and the whites of the eyes turn yellow, also known as jaundice)
The Signs of a Healthy Liver
When things are running smoothly, body detox is taking place correctly and the liver detox, metabolic, and immune functions are all working correctly you’ll notice:
- Optimum to high energy levels throughout the day; you get tired, but it’s not chronic fatigue
- Your skin is clear from pimples, dryness or excessive grease, etc.
- Digestion is smooth and feels good
- Your immune system feels strong; you can catch a cold, but it’s not a common thing, and your body can cure a cold without the help of medications
- Regular menstrual cycles in women
- Steady and continuous bowel movements, no constipation
- Steady blood sugar levels
- Clear mind, no fogginess or inability to concentrate
- Normal bilirubin levels: less than 0.3 mg/dL (less than 5.1 µmol/L) for Direct Bilirubin and 0.1 to 1.2 mg/dL (1.71 to 20.5 µmol/L) for Total Bilirubin. Blood tests and doctor supervision are necessary to check this.
All of these things are easily taken for granted or go unnoticed, but when liver detox is correctly working in our favor, we feel good.
However, liver detox and body detox in general -the natural one we go through every day- is heavily reliant on the what we consume, food, drinks, and the things we inhale or absorb through the skin.
It may be that your liver is getting extra material to work with and detoxify, and with no overtime or vacation time - it can easily get overtaxed, stressed, or start to underperform.
It’s not your liver's fault; it’s the considerable amount of toxins we’re now exposed to.
You may have to detox your liver so it can resume proper body detox!
If you want to learn how to detox your body and support liver detox, making sure these foods are in your diet regularly (or performing a cleansing liver detox) will help your goals.
How to Support Liver Detox with Healthy Foods
The liver leverages enzymes and vitamins, among other elements, to perform an adequate body detox. When you’re looking into how to detox your body for supported liver detox, these foods are either rich in vitamins that attack harmful free radicals the enzymes or help activate liver detox enzymes.
- Broccoli Sprouts: may be better than broccoli for body detox, they support both phases of liver detox with a glutathione boost and antioxidants.
- Beets and Beet Juice: may help activate liver enzymes, supporting conjugation or phase 2.
- Berries: like blueberries and cranberries, which contain anthocyanins an antioxidant that may prevent liver damage.
- Chlorophyll: supports body detox helping the liver get rid of toxins in food, and stored toxins.
- Cruciferous Vegetables: have been shown to increase liver detox enzymes in animals and men.
- Fresh Raw Garlic: contains allicin and 39 antibacterial agents, helps activate liver enzymes and supports gastrointestinal health, reducing the load on the liver.
- Fermented food: if it helps your gut, it helps your liver. Kefir, kombucha, kimchi, pickles, all help support healthy gut bacteria which reduces the work-load for the liver.
- Grapefruit: rich in antioxidants, studies in animals show it helps protect the liver.
- Nuts: nuts have been associated, in preliminary research, with lower risks of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases.
- Wheatgrass: a superfood that may help reduce toxins and oxidative stress, with enzymes that support liver function.
- Turmeric: helps the liver produce enzymes that flush out toxins in phase two.
- Citrus Fruits: rich in antioxidants, the go-to for body detox
- Green Tea: full of antioxidants, in moderation, it supports liver detox and kidney cleanse
You can support daily liver detox with Organifi Green Juice, which has chlorophyll, wheatgrass, and other liver and immune system supporting superfoods. While you're at it, why not get an antioxidant fix with Red Juice (full of berries and other magic nutrients!) to give your liver a break - or a boost.
As a rule of thumb, if you’re interested in how to detox your liver, look for the following key body detox opportunities:
- Remove excess toxins: alcohol, processed food, added sugar, excess fat.
- Clean up your cabinets: plastic food containers, cosmetic products with the top five toxic chemicals - formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde resin, and camphor.
- Eat healthy foods in their most natural raw form, or in a powdered extract that retains its original compounds.
If you follow these simple steps you’ll achieve liver detox sooner than you might expect and will be well on your way to helping your liver detoxify your body more efficiently than before.
If you are still looking for new ways to promote healthy liver function, let us know. The team at Oraganifi has been hard at work to bring you the next superfood blend, and liver detox is now available for people who want an easy way to keep your liver happy and healthy!