Spring is a time of renewal for all of nature, a time of expansive energy and budding youth. Our bodies tick to the same biological clock as we are all part of the natural world.
Traditionally, we spend the winter eating heavy, fatty foods that are more difficult for our bodies to process, with our liver taking the brunt of the work. As your body’s main escape hatch for toxins, your liver will benefit from spring cleaning.
It is a hard-working organ with such an important job! Not only does it filter out toxins and process cholesterol, it also produces HDL cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol, which escorts excessive fat out of your bloodstream. It produces bile to be stored in your gallbladder, which assists with handling fat breakdown.
Vitamin C for your liver?
Antioxidant-containing vitamin C plays an unsuspected role in the health of your liver. Standardly thought of as an immune-system builder, it offers so much more, especially for liver health. Unlike most other animals, humans cannot make it in our liver, so we have to be sure we consume enough in our diet.
Studies have shown that 500 to 5,000 mg of vitamin C per day appears to actually flush fats from the liver, depending on the individual. It also starts a domino effect because it synthesizes the amino acid L-carnitine to be processed for the liver’s benefit. This nutrient’s synthesis is important because it transports fatty acids in the form of triglycerides that would normally be handled by your liver into your cells’ mitochondria to be burned as energy. These processes take a load off your liver’s fat processing task!
Most people are familiar with vitamin C sources, such as the obvious citrus fruits, but kale, parsley, black currants and red bell peppers are packed with it. Best food sources containing L-carnitine include avocados, dairy and meat products. If you consume dairy and meat, find the highest quality sources. Encourage the production of healthful HDL cholesterol by eating fish and nuts and get exercise as you are able.
Other foods that are great for liver cleansing are dark, leafy greens for their chlorophyll content, cruciferous veggies, and apple cider vinegar. However, individuals with weak digestion should take care not to consume too many raw veggies since they can have a cooling effect on your digestive fire. Keeping seasonings and recipe ingredients simple and limit or exclude alcohol to make less work for your liver.
What is on the outside makes its way in!
Remember that whatever you breathe into your lungs will enter your bloodstream. If you are using chemicals to clean the house (and were probably exposed to a lot of them over the holidays to accommodate house guests), consider switching to natural products as much as possible. This will be better for you and the environment. Drinking plenty of water that is properly filtered to reduce contaminants and using an air purifier in your home can also make a great improvement on your liver’s health.
This simple mixed greens salad recipe makes an ideal liver-cleansing meal with flavors that blend together beautifully:
Authored by Debra Disharoon
Green Salad with Sweet and Zesty Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing
2 cups baby spring mix
1/2 cup shredded baby carrots
1/8 cup chopped walnuts or slivered almonds
Thinly sliced red bell pepper
Sections of one clementine, separated
To make the dressing, combine the following in a blender: (Makes 2 cups of dressing)
• 1 cup olive oil
• 3⁄4 cup Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
• 1 tablespoon raw local honey
• 1 teaspoon dried basil
• 1 -2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
• Sea salt to taste
Toss the salad mix in with some of the dressing and top off with a little coarsely milled black pepper.
Store your leftover dressing in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container, preferably glass.