Happy New Year from the Wonder Foods Team!
January is a time where lots of people set their goals, instil healthy habits and cleanse from an often very hectic, indulgent December/Christmas period. It is a time where we usually slow down a little and reflect on what it is that we would like to achieve and take a break from the busyness that the end of the previous year brought.
A sluggish liver can occur due to the overindulgence of food and alcohol, bringing about tiredness and lethargy. It can also be burdened by the build-up of toxins and heavy metals, although given the right environment and fuel, the liver has an innate ability to cleanse and repair itself.
There are several ways that you can help to support the natural detoxification process of the liver to give you back the energy and vitality that you require to lead a full and healthy life.
Detoxification of the liver involves a two-step enzymatic process referred to as phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification. Phase 1 enzymes can directly neutralise certain chemicals as well as convert toxins into their intermediate forms, which are rendered more harmful, then phase 2 enzymes process these. Therefore, it is important that phase 2 processes are working optimally to ensure that the work of phase 1 can be eliminated from the body.
To improve the performance of the liver, you can start by removing the obvious burden of toxins such as chemicals/drugs and alcohol. The liver needs to process and filter absolutely everything that is consumed. Therefore, minimising toxic chemicals will naturally take some of the load off the liver.
Increase your intake of plant based foods, with lots of leafy greens and bitter foods such as rocket, endive and bitter melon, as bitter foods help to stimulate the production of bile. One of the primary routes of elimination is through bile, therefore it is important to ensure adequate bile is being produced. Bile also increases the breakdown of fats in the system, improving digestive processes.
For a more refined approach to detoxification, there are certain foods and nutrients that can specifically assist with phase 1 and 2 processes, ensuring your liver performs at its best.
Vegetables/Fruits/Herbs/Nutrients to activate phase 1 include:
- Brussels sprouts
- Caraway seeds
- Dill seeds
- Milk thistle
- Niacin (B3)
- Thiamine (B1)
- Vitamin C
Foods that inhibit phase 1 are:
- Clove oil
Nutrients and amino acids that stimulate phase 2 detoxification include:
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin C
- Globe artichoke
As we can see, a good general approach to assisting the body’s detoxification processes involves decreasing toxin load, eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and incorporating healthy lifestyle practices such as exercise and minimising alcohol and other chemicals. Using nutrient support such as the one’s above can further help the liver to do its best.
Love thy liver! 😉