Last of the Summer Wine
Although we were blessed with a sun drenched summer, many of us are feeling the need to rein in the rosÃ©, shorten our lunches, and steer clear of night clubs… The post-summer detox has begun! You don’t need to join a monastery, starve yourself, or adopt punishing health regimes to detox. GPnutrition’s cleanse programme suggests it is as simple as avoiding unnecessary chemicals and pollutants while including specific alkalising foods, micronutrients and supplements to support the liver in working efficiently.
The Body’s Filter
The liver is a chemical cleaning house. Every minute of the day it purifies the blood, neutralises toxic wastes and supports elimination. The liver also removes excess hormones such as oestrogens, thereby maintaining hormonal balance. Alcohol, fatty foods, smoking and other environmental toxins, from pesticides and exhaust fumes to cosmetics, can overload the liver. If the liver is overloaded, it will force your other detoxifying organs (skin, kidneys, lymph) to work overtime, which can cause rashes, acne, bloating and poor health.
In order for detoxification to occur efficiently, the diet should be rich in numerous vitamins and minerals which have specific functions in neutralising toxins and eliminating them from the body.
Vitamin antioxidants A, C and E plus B vitamins are essential for detoxification processes. These can be obtained through the diet from natural sources such as fruit and vegetables, lean protein and fish.
Similarly, minerals Selenium, Zinc and Magnesium, amongst others are involved on antioxidant pathways associated with cellular detoxification. These minerals can be sourced from numerous foods such as nuts, seeds and whole grains.
In addition, research highlights the major role of plant based chemicals (phytonutrients) in detoxification. Important phytonutrients include:
Green tea is a source of catechins that have been shown to induce performance of detoxification enzymes. The polyphenols in green tea have exceptional antioxidant potential, which may limit the damaging effects of toxins on cells.
Berries contain anthocyanins. They provide some of the coloring or pigment of plants, flowers and fruits with a typical red to blue colour. They are very potent antioxidants, free radical scavengers and they up-regulate liver function. Look out for blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, blackcurrant, bilberry, cherry and red grape.
Cruciferous vegetables such as brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and horseradish contain glucosinolates. These sulphur-containing compounds are activators of liver detoxification enzymes. Additionally, evidence suggests the role of glucosinolates in induction of liver function which detoxify carcinogens.
Pomegranate naturally contains ellagic acid which modulates the transformation of toxins and enhances their elimination. In addition, ellagic acid has been shown to scavenge free radicals, therefore reducing the damaging effect of those substances.
The sulphuric compound allicin, found in garlic, leeks and onions is an important inducer of second phase detoxification, a process of making toxic elements ready for elimination. These foods also contain Thiols, plant compounds which help to detoxify a wide range of harmful substances, especially mercury.
Scrub and Shine
Linseeds are a good source of cleansing fibre because the absorb water and expand in the colon, allowing toxins to be removed. Some people find ground linseeds (also known as flaxseeds) are effective in alleviating constipation.
Lemon juice in water also has a slightly laxative effect and is cleansing to the digestive tract. It is high in water and vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant.
Papaya is also wonderful in the aid of digestion. It contains papain, an enzyme that breaks down protein and is soothing to the stomach. In addition papaya contains vitamin C, beta carotene and vitamin E, all powerful antioxidants.
Burdock, chamomile, dandelion, lemon and green tea can all support liver function and help gently detox. Sip some throughout the day. Milk thistle is also an excellent herb for the liver.
Water helps the body eliminate waste by making the fibre in food swell and become easier to pass. Without water, toxins can build up in our bloodstream.
GPnutrition offers professional, individual guidance on nutritional and lifestyle changes to support optimal liver function and cleanse. Gabriela can also include supplements (where applicable) – that support the liver, especially for those who lead busy lives and might not be able to get the optimal amounts through the diet. For more information, please contact Gabriela.