Atma: How to boost your body’s detox power with food

Faye Bradley

Healthy food is the fuel to our wellbeing – but we all know that, even if we don’t always abide by it. Your liver is the driver to removing negative toxins from the body, whether it’s consumed in the form of food, medication, chemicals or beauty products. Our strong bodies are supported by the liver which does most of the work to eradicate these toxins from our systems – but just how much can it take and what can we do to minimize the impact?

It can be difficult to control and monitor absolutely everything that enters our bodies though. For example, pollutants and chemicals in the air can cause harm to the liver. These are almost impossible to rule out since they come from ground-level ozone, particulate matter, lead, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide in the air. But there are some ways to reduce the exposure. These include reducing the use of automobiles, increasing indoor plants and going solar.

As for eating, this is much more in your control. The liver controls three main functions – detoxification, synthesis and storage. A quick summary for each role of the liver:

  • Detoxification – is when the liver removes the naturally occurring toxins from substances, alcohol and medication.
  • Synthesis – this refers to the process of the liver making bile to help break down fats, carbohydrates and proteins. This is then used to produce energy and help to regulate your body’s blood sugar.
  • Storage – a very important part of the detox process. Your liver then stores the important vitamins, minerals and stored sugar which is saved up until it’s needed. If you don’t use these, the body will eliminate them.

The importance of a balanced diet

Eating well can significantly help to provide the liver with the nutrients it needs. A well-balanced diet is crucial in supporting the mind and body and will help to support each stage of the liver’s detox process. The intake of foods with added sugars, like chocolate and candy, causes the body to produce more fat in the liver, which can build up over time and trigger insulin resistance, leading to potential pre-diabetes or cardiovascular problems in the future.

The best way to fuel your body with the nutrients it needs is to follow a healthy schedule. Hydration is so important and drinking water all day every day, with a recommended intake of 11 cups for women to 15 cups for men. Besides water, herbal teas that incorporate natural, detoxifying ingredients like ginger and turmeric are also supportive for the system. Eating anti-inflammatory fruits like berries, grapefruit and apples can also help the liver in maintaining electrolyte minerals. Studies have also shown that drinking coffee can help lower the risk of liver damage. 

When it comes to protein, sourcing substances that supply amino acids can help the liver’s natural detoxification process. Poultry, pumpkin seeds and lentil are examples of glycine that contribute to a healthier gut while glutamine sources like spinach and parsley are also significant. 

Non-starchy vegetables are great for providing phytonutrients and fiber. Some of the most efficient cruciferous vegetables include kale, broccoli and cauliflower known for their high fiber content and high beneficial plant compounds.

When you’re cooking your food, don’t forget to add a healthy dose of herbs and spices to not only enhance the flavor but also improve the overall liver function. Turmeric, parsley and cilantro are particularly recommended and can be easily added to most recipes.

And finally, last but not least, integrating probiotic-rich and prebiotic-rich foods can really vastly help to improve the gut. Fermented yogurt, vegetables and tempeh are great sources of probiotics, while bacterias like garlic, onion and leek can also boost immunity.

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