First, let’s cover the basics.
Meet Your Liver
Sure, you’ve heard of it—but how well do you know this important organ? First, the liver is your largest internal organ. It can be found in the upper right part of your abdomen, beneath your diaphragm and above the stomach. Fortunately, the liver works extremely hard to keep your largest external organ, the skin, looking good! But how? It regulates and removes toxins from the blood, processes nutrients so the body can use them, and makes bile to break down fat. Most notoriously, it metabolizes and clears alcohol from our system.
It’s crucial to remove these impurities from the inside to maintain a clear and healthy glow on the outside. Registered dietitian Sarah Greenfield warns about these other symptoms of sub-optimum liver function: “A poorly functioning liver can lead to things like bloating, gas, constipation, low energy levels, decreased appetite, heartburn, difficulty losing weight, and high blood pressure.”
The Liver’s Detoxification Process
To optimize your liver function, it’s important to understand its natural process for cleansing. Your liver detoxifies in three phases.
The liver takes toxic chemicals from the bloodstream and converts them into less-toxic chemicals. It’s done by specific chemical reactions: oxidation, reduction, and hydroxylation. Unfortunately, this process produces free radicals, which can harm the liver and the body. Consequently, these need to get cleared out, which is why it’s important to have an antioxidant-rich diet.
The liver takes toxins that have been converted in phase one and adds new compounds to them so they can be excreted. It uses compounds like sulphur, glycine, and cysteine to do so, which is why it’s important to eat foods rich in these compounds.
This phase moves toxins and compounds from phase two out of the liver and into the bile and urine, where it can be excreted by the body.
Supporting Your Liver
“Instead of thinking about detoxing your liver as a one-time thing,” Sarah says, “you should think of ways you can change your lifestyle to support the health of your liver all the time. Overall, the best way to detox your liver is to remove toxins from your diet and environment. Also, it’s important to increase your intake of foods and supplements that promote liver health.”
In sum, here are the specific steps she offers for ongoing liver support:
- Eat foods and take supplements that support the liver.
- Decrease excessive alcohol consumption (more than two drinks daily).
- Replace toxic skincare and cleaning products.
- Get an air filter.
- Replace plastics with glass whenever possible.
Liver Detox Diet & Supplements
First, Sarah recommends drinking raw vegetable juice. “Vegetable juice allows you to get more nutrients from vegetables than you would from just eating them raw. Veggies have a lot of important compounds needed to support phases one and two of the liver’s detoxification process.” Additionally, vegetable juice is very alkaline, which is important for overall health.
Furthermore, eat foods potassium-rich foods like avocado, acorn squash, spinach, sweet potato, salmon, dried apricots, pomegranate, and banana. “High-potassium foods help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and support cleansing of the liver.”
Finally, consider taking supplements to support your largest internal organ. HUM’s Wing Man supplement includes milk thistle, dandelion root, and artichoke leaf—all powerful herbs that support liver function. For instance, milk thistle boosts the production of glutathione, an antioxidant the liver uses to regenerate damaged cells and work more efficiently.
In conclusion, Sarah gives us this tip for a healthy liver supplement: “I suggest taking Wing Man for a couple of weeks while your body needs additional support—or after a night of partying!”