Lifestyle | March 11, 2024

Spring Liver Cleanse

3 min read
Author: Chelsea Freeman

SPRING CLEANSING

Winter can mean heavier diets and lighter activity, which can lead to potential toxin buildup in the body, particularly the liver. Spring is the optimal time for a liver cleanse.

5 Gentle Ways to Cleanse Your Liver

Spring cleaning is a staple in many people’s homes, but have you ever thought of Spring cleaning your body? Most people associate the idea of detox as a juice cleanse or liver flush, but these can come with unpleasant side effects when implemented too quickly. Instead, you can naturally support your body and liver in safe ways each day to help flush out unwanted toxins.

Traditional Chinese Medicine associates the spring season with the liver. The liver is one of our most important detoxification organs. It plays a significant role in the immune system, vitamin storage, digestion, metabolic health, sleep patterns, and regulating hormones. “Fatty liver” is a disease that is estimated to affect around 100 million Americans. It is quite misunderstood, as many people can show mild to no symptoms. Toxin accumulation and the Standard American diet can contribute to this and lead to pre-diabetes, weight gain, and chronic inflammation. Signs of stagnation in the liver can range from digestive distress, GERD, painful PMS or imbalanced cycles, anger, poor sleep, and waking up nightly around 1-3am. Thankfully, the liver is an incredible organ and these effects can be reversed once lifestyle and diet changes are made! Keep scrolling for five simple daily practices to incorporate for a healthy liver this Spring.

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1. Eat local and seasonal foods.

When you shop for produce from local farmers, you are supporting small businesses, maximizing nutrients, helping the environment, and consuming way less chemicals. Local farmers do not need to add extra pesticides to withstand long transit times to grocery stores. When you eat freshly picked produce, the vitamin and mineral content is much higher! You can also swap out the sugar and processed foods for a delicious local honey. 

Look for a local farmer through Community Supported Agriculture. You can start a subscription with a local farmer and get weekly deliveries for the whole season!

2. Start your morning right.

Starting a morning routine can set the tone for your day. Right after waking up, start by drinking fresh celery juice or lemon water with Celtic Sea Salt. This will add back natural electrolytes and flush the liver by enhancing digestion and excreting toxins. Coffee and green tea also have polyphenols and protective benefits for liver health.

3. Get lots of movement.

Going on daily nature walks, hikes, bike rides, yoga, etc. will stimulate circulation, increase your oxygen levels, improve mood, and decrease oxidative stress. Daily sweating also boosts the body’s natural detoxification pathways and assists in removing toxins and heavy metals. 

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4. Try castor oil liver packs.

Wearing castor oil liver packs at night is a very effective and gentle way to clean out your liver. The oil is pressed from the castor beans and has many medicinal benefits which have been practiced for centuries. You simply place the castor oil on a cotton pad and wear it around your liver while you sleep each night. Not only will it clean your liver, but it also can balance hormones, improve the lymphatic system, gently clean the colon, and boost the microbiome. 

5. Eat liver supporting foods and herbs.

A nutrient dense diet with lots of organic plants and herbs will naturally support liver and gut health. Try cutting out common food triggers temporarily like gluten, sugar, and dairy. Add in extra support with foods that target the liver by boosting glutathione and stimulating bile production and that have chelating effects. 

Fruits and vegetables to support liver health:

Artichokes, beets, broccoli sprouts, asparagus, brussels sprouts, avocados, arugula, bok choy, daikon radishes, berries, citrus fruits, lentils.

Herbs to support liver health:

Rosemary, dandelion, sage, schisandra berry, milk thistle, turmeric, ginger, garlic, chicory root, green tea, cilantro, parsley.

References

Fatty liver disease. American Liver Foundation. (2023, September 11). https://liverfoundation.org/about-your-liver/facts-about-liver-disease/fatty-liver-disease/ 

Kalra, A., Yetiskul, E., Wehrle, C. J., & Tuma, F. (2023). Physiology, Liver. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.

Ng, C. H., Xiao, J., Chew, N. W. S., Chin, Y. H., Chan, K. E., Quek, J., Lim, W. H., Tan, D. J. H., Loke, R. W. K., Tan, C., Tang, A. S. P., Goh, X. L., Nah, B., Syn, N., Young, D. Y., Tamaki, N., Huang, D. Q., Siddiqui, M. S., Noureddin, M., Sanyal, A., … Muthiah, M. (2022). Depression in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is associated with an increased risk of complications and mortality. Frontiers in medicine9, 985803. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmed.2022.985803

Spring and the liver - china institute, TCM Clinic in St. Paul. China Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine. (2018, April 21). http://www.chinainstitute.com/spring-and-the-liver/#:~:text=Because%20spring%20is%20the%20time,happy%20and%20healthy%20throughout%20spring. 

Vusirikala, A., Thomas, T., Bhala, N., Tahrani, A. A., Thomas, G. N., & Nirantharakumar, K. (2020). Impact of obesity and metabolic health status in the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD): A United Kingdom population-based cohort study using the health improvement network (THIN). BMC endocrine disorders20(1), 96.

Williams, V. (2023, July 10). What is a Castor Oil Pack & Why do it?. Queen of the Thrones®. https://queenofthethrones.com/what-is-a-castor-oil-pack-why-do-it/ 

Yu, L., Lin, C., Chen, X., Teng, Y., Zhou, S., & Liang, Y. (2022). A Meta-Analysis of Sleep Disorders and Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: Potential Causality and Symptom Management. Gastroenterology nursing : the official journal of the Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates45(5), 354–363.