Feeling a little bit run down? Sluggish? Bloated? You might need cleanse and detox your liver and kidneys.
Eating lots of processed fatty foods and drinks can overload your body with toxins, making you feel really run down – to fix this, you need to eat the right foods to give your body the vitamins and nutrients it needs to function at its best.
Cleansing or detoxing the liver and kidneys isn’t about staving yourself – it’s about getting the right nutrition. The liver and kidneys are both detoxification organs – they both help your body to filter waste. Detoxing your liver and kidneys means that your body will be much more able to process and dispel waste, helping you get back to your former self.
Function of the Liver and Kidneys
Your kidneys regulate the levels of sodium and minerals within your body, helping to filter out excess salts through your urine – your kidneys are basically responsible for filtering out toxins and dispelling them through your waste system.
Your liver aids in digestion, processing the food and drink that you take in, breaking down fats from your food and absorbing nutrients and minerals. Because your liver and kidneys play such an important part in your overall health, it’s important that you take good care of them.
What Should I Eat?
Generally, when you are cleansing your liver and kidney, it’s recommended that you eat organic produce to avoid pesticides and contaminants, and that you drink filtered water to avoid contaminants that may be present in tap water. You should eat an entirely natural diet – avoid processed meals and cook everything from scratch.
Eat plenty of whole foods, including whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, and limit the amount of animal protein and saturated fat that you take in. You should also avoid alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and drugs (unless you’re taking medication prescribed by your doctor or if you need to take a medication, such as a pain medication).
Drink Plenty of Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Juices
Drinking freshly squeezed juice means that your body expels less energy on digestion – meaning that there is more time for healing. Pick juices that are filled with nutrients – carrot, celery and beetroot juices all help to flush toxins from the liver, and all of them are individually packed with antioxidants, further helping to protect the body from damaging free radicals.
Fruit juices to choose include cranberry, blueberry and pomegranate juice. Again, these juices are packed with antioxidants, helping to prevent damage to the immune system, but they also aid in kidney function, helping to remove toxins from the kidney.
Cranberry juice is particularly good for you – drinking it regularly can help to prevent kidney stones, but it also converts into a particular enzyme in the liver, helping to flush out toxins from the liver as well as the kidneys.
Whatever you drink, it’s important that you drink plenty of it! Many people embark on detoxes but they fail to drink enough, meaning that they don’t stay hydrated. Not drinking enough can cause further kidney problems and can in fact lead to kidney stones – so make sure you drink at least 2 litres of water or juice every day.
Raw Leafy Green Veggies
Dark green leafy veggies are jam-packed with vitamins and nutrients, including iron, folic acid and magnesium. These vitamins are essential for health and are especially important when you’re detoxing. Spinach, in particular, is a natural cleanser and will help to remove toxins from the kidneys.
We can’t stress this one enough – wholegrains are exceptionally good for you. They are packed with fibre, which basically means that they can help food move through your digestive tract more quickly, aiding the detoxification process. Opt for wholegrains that are low on the GI index and that contain the whole of the grain – wholemeal, for example, is not the same as whole grain. Millet and barley are good choices, as is brown rice, whole grain pasta and whole grain bread. Serve these wholegrains with veggies and some plant-based protein.
Animal-based protein tends to contain more saturated fat than plant-based protein, and this means eating it will cause more of a burden to your liver and kidneys. Choose plant-based protein instead, such as tofu or beans (black beans, kidney beans, butter beans etc). Prepare your protein with herbs and spices to boost flavour.
Finally, if you’re getting a little fed up of veggie juices, you can enjoy some types of tea. Dandelion, burdock, nettle and ginger teas will all aid in the detoxification process, boosting the effects of your diet.
When detoxing, it’s important that you eat enough. Some people think of detoxing as a way to lose weight, and although you might lose weight on a detox, it’s important that you eat enough to fuel your body. Don’t skip meals because you could find that you finish the detox with a weight gain, feeling worse than you did when you started.
We also do not recommend doing a detox when you are breastfeeding as it is common to experience headaches and lethargy when detoxing as your body cleanses itself and dispels toxins.
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