Benefits Of Liver Detoxing

Written by Dr Cris Beer and published by MiNDFOOD.

Do detoxes actually work and what does the word ‘detox’ mean?

Your liver is essential. It has over 500 imperative functions to help keep your body healthy. However, its role in our general wellbeing can easily be overlooked. In order to get well and stay well, liver health needs to be addressed.

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Benefits of Liver Detox

If your liver is healthy you should:

  • Feel energetic
  • Have clear eyes with no dark circles under your eyes
  • Have clear skin
  • Have a normal metabolism and healthy body weight for your frame
  • Have normal, healthy cholesterol levels in your blood
  • Not have any coating on your tongue
  • Have a healthy immune system
  • Not bruise easily

Conversely, if your liver is not functioning well you could feel:

  • Fatigued
  • Generally unwell
  • Nauseated at random times
  • Itchy, especially worse at night
  • Not hungry
  • Bloated
  • Swollen especially our ankles
  • Abdominal pain under the right side of the rib cage

Often times in order to improve our liver health we ideally need to undertake a liver detoxification. But do these detoxes actually work and what does the word ‘detox’ mean?

Detox often refers to ‘detoxifying’ the liver by removing any build-up of toxins or substances that can overload it, such as environmental toxins, alcohol, and other substances found in our lifestyles.

The issue with relying on one particular product, supplement or strict diet to detoxify the liver is that this creates a reliance on the particular liver cleanse to be able to return your liver to good health. Another problem with relying on a strict diet is that it is often not sustainable. As soon as you stop following the diet and return to your usual lifestyle you will find the same problems occurring with your liver.

So to put the record straight first, I’d need to say that there is no one ‘detox diet’ that works for everyone. In fact, oftentimes the best approach is not extreme but rather involves making some small changes to our overall diet and lifestyle to keep your liver healthy and help your liver to do its job.

One of the key roles of the liver is to detoxify harmful or chemical substances from the body such as environmental chemicals, pesticides, drugs, alcohol, and other toxins. The liver also has key roles in food breakdown, storage, and metabolism.

The key then to detoxifying or cleansing the liver, so to speak, is to reduce exposure of the liver to risk factors or substances which can overload this vital organ. The good news too is that the liver is remarkably efficient at renewing itself so when given a chance the cells in the liver can regenerate and work as they should.

Red cabbage

To promote healthy liver function, try the following strategies:


Provide your liver with the fluid it needs to effectively eliminate and detoxify. Avoiding further dehydration by reducing tea and coffee intake to no more than 2-3 cups per day.

Limit alcohol consumption

Alcohol is a direct toxin to the liver so excessive intake can lead to liver damage. When you drink alcohol, do stick to safe limits, which is one standard drink for women on no more than five days per week or two standard drinks for men.

Reduce Toxic Fats

Trans fats found in processed and packaged foods as well as excessive intake of saturated fats found in animal products such as fatty cuts of meat can overwhelm the liver’s ability to deal with these and can contribute to poor liver health, which where the liver can become ‘clogged’ with excess fatty tissue making it less efficient.

Reduce Sugar

Fructose found in table sugar as well as fruit can overwhelm the liver if eaten in excess. The result can be poor liver health as described above, as well as insulin resistance whereby your body becomes less able to handle and process dietary sugars. Limit processed foods as these often have hidden sugars as well as fruit to no more than two pieces per day.

Use Paracetamol responsibly

This drug is often taken in excess and for too long which can damage the liver. Stick to no more than 4 grams per day (usually equivalent to 8 capsules or tablets) for no more than three days consecutively.

Stay Regular

A healthy liver requires a healthy digestive system as the two are linked. Staying regular and avoiding constipation is key. Try increasing your fibre intake slowly to avoid bloating. If you have digestive troubles you could try taking a good quality probiotic.

Staying on top of your liver health

  • Start your day with a large glass of water. Some find it easier to drink room temperature or warm water with a little lemon added. Keep hydrated throughout your day.
  • Have a higher protein breakfast such as eggs on a bed of spinach or kale, a protein shake containing psyllium husks for fibre, or plain yoghurt and berries. Avoid processed cereals or fruit juices.
  • Have a lighter lunch – ideally a large salad with a small amount of protein.
  • Trade your afternoon coffee for a herbal tea instead.
  • Make your evening meal the smallest and opt for fresh steamed vegetables and fish, lean cuts of meat, or chicken. Ideally include in your week three serveings of fresh fish. Avoid higher mercury containing fish such as swordfish, flake, or basa. Avoid over-indulging in dessert by having herbal tea instead and keep alcohol to a minimum. Perhaps trade a glass of wine for sparkling mineral water.

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This article was originally published on MiNDFOOD

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