Not only does Spring evoke warm, happy feelings of renewal and rebirth, but it also evokes cravings, specifically for greens, salads, fruit and fresh produce in general. There’s a reason why you want all of these fresh, detoxifying foods— according to Ayruveda, your liver is doing its biggest detox when the leaves start to grow back, making you naturally reach for lighter meals like smoothies, salads and juices. Specifically formulated detox programs are a great way to detox your liver and help it along while it does its purge, but these cleanses often involve drastic changes to both your diet and lifestyle and many could even be dangerous when put in the hands of the wrong person.
When a detox program is not in the cards for you, doing a few simple things as spring arrives can give your liver exactly the kind of love and attention it’s looking for without turning your entire life upside-down. Here are 5 ways to detox your liver without going all out.
1. Lower Your Fat Intake
One of the best ways to give your liver a break is to reduce fat in the diet, especially animal-based fats like beef and pork. Although a good amount of healthy fats like coconut, avocado and fish oil are indeed essential to a healthy diet, if you want to give your liver a break, cutting your fat will free up the organ to process any toxins coming through as opposed to processing the high amounts of fat you are eating. Stick with non-animal sources of fat and lean cuts of meat like chicken breast and fish and your liver will be laughing.
2. Drink raw juice on an empty stomach
I know a lot of you health freaks probably do this already, but raw juice is key when it comes to detoxing your organs. Try swapping juice in the morning for your typical cup of coffee and give your liver a fighting chance! Beets are known to be powerful liver cleansers. They are high in plant-flavonoids like beta-carotene (vitamin A), which improves the overall function of the liver. Try a blend of beet, carrot, apple and lemon for a zesty way to start the day.
3. Eat dandelion greens
Dandelion is famous for supporting the liver. The bottles of liver herbs at the health food store always seem to have dandelion in them, specifically dandelion root. Both the leaves and root are beneficial to the liver, especially when steeped into a tea or eaten raw in a smoothie or juice. Try having a dandelion root tea in the morning instead of coffee and maybe toss in a few leaves of raw dandelion leaves into your morning smoothie. Your liver will thank you for it!
4. Increase Vitamin C
Vitamin C is like Mr. Popular of the supplement world. There’s nothing that vitamin C can’t improve, including the health of your liver. If all you do this spring is incorporate more vitamin C, you will be doing more than enough to give your liver a boost. A great way to get more vitamin C into your life is to take a calcium-buffered ascorbic acid supplement or a superfood like Camu Camu. Avoid straight ascorbic acid as it can be irritating to the digestive tract.
5. Eat Lots of Cherries
What a great excuse to eat a big bowl of cherries! Cherries don’t get that much attention in the health world and are often only seen as a novelty fruit, but cherries support liver function like no other and taste flippin’ delicious, too! Try some frozen cherries in your smoothie or buy fresh from the grocery store or farmer’s market (make sure to soak them in a bowl of water if they are not organic) and keep them nearby for a tasty yet highly detoxifying snack.