Detox is your body’s process of cleaning your blood and processing and flushing out toxins from the body through your digestive tract. Seems simple enough right? It absolutely is if you give your body the nutrients it needs to be able to complete the detox process. You don’t need to do a juice cleanse to detox your body. There are many things you can do to boost your liver’s ability to perform at a higher level, the tricky thing is that there are a lot of things that can harm your liver other than the obvious one we all think about, alcohol. It’s summer, we all love hanging out in the sunshine sipping on a cocktail, but that doesn’t always make you feel the best the next day. We are going to talk about all the ways you can boost your liver health to make your feel better the next morning.
- Liver Love – what nutrients does your liver want and thrive on?
What does your liver need to fuel itself? Good quality protein like grass-fed beef, high quality fats like grass-fed butter and coconut oil, and good carbs like sweet potatoes, root veggies, and fruit. The higher quality, the more micro-nutrients like minerals and vitamins you are getting from each of these food groups. Your liver detox pathways use amino acids (from protein), essential fatty acids from fats, and minerals and vitamins from all of the above. B vitamins in particular are very helpful in liver detox, as well as Vitamin C and glutathione. Healthy fats help stimulate bile, which carry toxins out of the body through your digestive tract. So good digestion and regular bowl movements is KEY to helping your body eliminate toxins. Your liver also regulates hormones such as estrogen (which is why alcohol can make you estrogen dominant by bogging your liver down), and you need to be able to eliminate excess estrogen so it doesn’t recirculate back into your blood stream, causing an estrogen dominance which can look like stubborn weight gain, PMS issues, anxiety and clotty or heavy periods. Eating a raw carrot a day can be an awesome help in aiding in eliminating excess estrogen, raw carrots help bind to estrogen and carry it out of the body. Other ways to support daily bowl movements: drinking enough water (1/2 your body weight in oz. daily), magnesium, and eating enough fiber from good quality carbs throughout the day. Giving your body the nutrients it needs, not a gimmicky solution like a juice cleanse, is what your liver wants to do its job and keeping you feeling your best. Your liver excretes toxins through your digestive tract, though your kidneys, your lungs as they expel air, and your skin as you sweat. Sweating daily though exercise or sauna, or even an epic dance party session in your kitchen is a great way to help your liver eliminate toxins.
- Sneaky toxins affecting your liver health
Most of the time when we think of toxins, we think of alcohol, air pollution, chemicals, and pesticides. All of these things bog your liver down, making it difficult to do its job efficiently. There are a lot of things in our daily lives that we don’t even realize contain chemicals, for example, what we put on our skin. Your skin absorbs all those chemicals in your shampoo, makeup, body wash, etc. One thing you can do for your liver is try to clean up your makeup/ body products and look for things that are paraben-free and BPA free, two sneaky chemicals that live in a lot of household products. Fragrances and candles also contain chemicals, so stick to things like essential oils instead of the chemical storm inside those products. Even things like canned goods and receipt paper contain BPA, and the big one most of us know about is plastic. Finding water bottles if they are plastic that say BPA free is important.
- Liver boosting tips/ Pre-drink tips
- The simplest place to start is making sure you are getting enough protein, fats, and good quality carbs to help your liver process alcohol…. Amino acids and B-vitamins play a huge role in detox, don’t drink on an empty stomach.
- Stay hydrated! Make sure you drink lots of water and electrolytes throughout the day, water helps you eliminate toxins through your kidneys! Pro-tip: add a nuun tablet to a few of your waters (you lose electrolytes when you are drinking) Adding an extra zip to your water throughout the day before will help the next morning quite a bit.
- Get lots of collagen, Vitamin C, and probiotics in! Alcohol can deplete these nutrients, causing free-radical damage (hi wrinkles and sad puffy skin) and damage your good gut flora.
- Manage your blood sugar by adding in healthy fats and proteins into every meal. Blood sugar depletes B-vitamins which play a crucial role in liver detox.
- Liver supporting foods/ supplements–
- Grass fed liver is an awesome source of B-vitamins, Vitamin A, and Copper (they make capsules, if you are like me and literally can’t even with liver though you are a nutritionist and should know better)
- BEETS! They help you digest your fats and stimulate bile flow. Poor fat digestion can clog your lymphatic system, which is like a pre-filter for your liver. Dandelion root is also great for bile production. Emperica’s Liver Love is amazing for the gallbladder and liver.
- B-vitamins are critical for liver detox, Emperica’s Vital B’s are a great source of high-quality B-vitamins
- Glutathione is an amazing antioxidant that supports detoxification, as well as healthy cell function, healthy aging, and immune function. Emperica’s glutathione is a very bio-available form which is awesome because most glutathione supplements aren’t easily digested because they are oxidized during the digestion. Topical glutathione is another option, as well as taking NAC, the precursor to glutathione.
- Reishi mushrooms are my absolute favorite all around whole-body support, amazing for rejuvenating the liver.
- Digestive bitters are awesome not only to help you stimulate stomach acid and digest your food, they have a lot of liver supporting herbs.
- Sweat it out and move your lymph! Exercise, sauna, dry brushing, lymphatic movement like jumping rope, dancing, jumping on a trampoline all help keep your lymph moving, and your liver happy by helping it secrete excess toxins.
- Other great liver supporting foods and herbs: sulfur-containing veggies like cabbage and broccoli, garlic, ginger, fruits and vegetables help your body make glutathione, your liver’s master antioxidant. Awesome liver supporting herbs include Banaba, Licorice root, dandelion root, milk thistle, yellow dock root, ginger, burdock root, to name a few.
- During drinking tips
- Stay hydrated when you are drinking! Always have some water to sip on nearby.
- Take a charcoal pill with your drink! Charcoal is a bile binder, meaning it will bind to toxins (and nutrients so don’t take within 1-2 hours of a meal) and carry them out of the body, taking some of the burden away from the liver. This is super helpful for preventing the next day hangover!
- Choose your alcohol wisely and stay away from sugary mix-ins! Clear liquors like vodka, gin, and tequila are lower in other toxins (just alcohol!). Wine is a good choice because it has health benefits and there are a lot of clean wine companies out there like Dry Farm Wines that make sulfate free/ low sugar wine. When in doubt, choose a dry French white or stick to a lower alcohol wine around 12/ 12.5 % from Italy or France because they have generally better practices when making wines, and the lower the alcohol in the wine, the lower the sugar content. As far as mixers, mix it up and try something like kombucha instead of soda! You get the flavor, and the added benefits of helping your gut out at the same time! I also love adding kombucha to wine…like a mango kombucha in a white wine – a healthier mimosa! Watermelon kombucha and tequila or mezcal with some lime makes a freaking awesome margarita without getting the sugar bomb from traditional margarita mixes. Adding lemon and limes to your cocktails helps give you a boost of vitamin C! Coconut water and sparking waters make excellent mixers as well! The trick is to add in extra electrolytes/vitamins/water to your cocktails since alcohol depletes those things.
- Before bed, drink water with a pinch of high-quality salt and some magnesium – Tri-Mag by Emperica is amazing and a very bio-available form of magnesium…this will help your quality of sleep improve a little, as well as the next day headaches.
- Next day drinking tips
- Liver/anti-inflammatory love – turmeric and fish oil are a great alternative to popping an Aleve to cure your hangover. They work with your body to lower inflammation which is causing those pounding headaches you get from drinking a darker alcohol like red wine or whiskey.
- Water water water. Hydration can’t be emphasized enough. Alcohol dehydrates you and depletes your body of electrolytes, so add in some electrolytes for good measure. My favorite homemade electrolyte replenishing is a mix of 32 oz of half water and coconut water, with the juice of one lemon and a dash of pink salt.
- Drink some warm tea! This will sooth your upset stomach. A liver detox tea blend w/ warm honey and ginger is amazing, and peppermint/ginger are your besties for an upset stomach.
- Take an Epsom salt bath. This will help your body detox your alcohol from the night before due to the magnesium in the Epsom salts, and causing you to sweat a little which aids in detox further.
- SWEAT IT OUT! Getting a workout in will be difficult but will make you feel so much better after. Jumping in a sauna is a great way to do that too. Make sure to add in extra electrolytes to your water during your workout or your sauna because that will deplete your electrolytes as well. In addition to an electrolyte tablet or coconut water, pickle juice or even a low sugar green juice ( think mostly veggies and some lemon) makes a great little electrolyte boost.
- Probiotics to help repopulate the good little bugs in your gut. Alcohol messes up the gut microbiome and typically depletes nutrients like zinc that helps create stomach acid production, so make sure you are supporting your digestion… pro tip, add a little ACV to room temp water before a meal to get your stomach acid flowing and activate your vagal nerve by humming and rubbing behind your earlobe – the pathway between your stomach and brain that gives your stomach the signal to start producing stomach acid
- Do a face mask. This will help soothe and help de-flame the face, follow by jade rolling or gua sha (chill in the freezer GAME CHANGER for that next day puffiness) and hydrate hydrate hydrate.
Giving your liver some extra love can be a good way to mitigate the effects of drinking. Drinking enough water, eating enough, and adding in some extra support is a very simple and doable way to support your liver. Proper detoxification helps your organs and cells function optimally, making you feel your best. So if you do decide to indulge this summer, the tips provided will help your next day be a little easier so you can still get out there and live your life.