Happy spring/summer! I’ve been thoroughly enjoying more outdoors time lately. Aside from more comfortable temperatures, this is also the perfect time of year to not only "spring clean" and declutter your home, but to cleanse your body, mind and spirit! In Chinese medicine, this is the season where the liver is regenerating. The liver is the primary organ responsible for detoxification. Everything we eat and drink, including drugs and medications is filtered by the liver. Our vitamin D levels, hormonal balance, allergies, cellular health and much more is dependent on liver health. We live in a very toxic world, especially when you add up our personal care products, cleaning supplies, environmental pollution, poor dietary choices, and stress. Here are some tips to encourage a gentle detox or cleanse of your body to promote liver health and healing:
1. BEGIN YOUR DAY WITH LEMON WATER AND/OR APPLE CIDER VINEGAR WATER
Lemon juice is an excellent, gentle liver cleanser. The benefits of apple cider vinegar (ACV) are seemingly endless; the list continues to grow. Studies show that by acidifying the gut, we can aid in normalizing blood sugar, balancing hormones, stimulating immune function, liver/gallbladder detoxification, and purging the lymphatic system (garbage disposal of the body). A tablespoon of ACV to 8 oz of water and lemon juice is a fantastic alternative to coffee when cleansing.
2. EAT A CLEAN DIET
This should be common sense, but even those of us with the best intentions and knowledge slip at times. Eliminating sugar, wheat, dairy, soy, corn, grains, and all processed foods will provide you more energy and mental clarity. Increasing the following foods in your diet will encourage proper detoxification of your liver and your entire body/digestive system: dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, collard greens), berries, mushrooms, beets, garlic, grapefruit, avocados, apples, olive oil, cruciferous vegetables, and walnuts. Plus, being sure to eat organic as much as possible will lighten the load on your system by eliminating a huge source of toxicity and pesticides. Visit the EWG.org to see this year’s dirty dozen and clean 15 list of fruits/vegetables to arm yourself with the knowledge of the most important foods to purchase organic.
3. DRINK LOTS OF WATER
The solution to pollution is dilution. Imagine you live in a bathtub filled with dirty water. Now imagine that you only took 1 cup of water from in the tub and replaced it with 1 cup of clean water each day. It wouldn’t take you more than a few days to be disgusted in your bathing environment. As our bodies are primarily water, if we aren’t replacing the stagnant stuff by drinking about ½ our body weight in ounces daily, pretty soon our body will become a gross place to live.
It’s just as important to cleanse our minds as it is to cleanse our bodies. I always encourage my patients to work on 5 minutes of meditation daily…and if you don’t have time for 5 minutes daily, you need to do 10! Hitting the reset button on your mind, spirit and nervous system is of utmost importance when getting out a toxic pattern. Our emotions have a powerful effect on the liver – focusing on forgiveness, compassion and love by letting go of anger and resentment will benefit you and your loved ones as well!
5. MOVE YOUR BODY
Our muscles are the primary movers of lymph fluid. If we are sedentary, so is the lymphatic fluid in our bodies. If you’re a seasoned athlete, or are already regularly exercising, continue doing what you’re doing. If you’re one that hasn’t yet made exercise a part of your routine, START SLOW. Simply starting by walking daily…parking farther away. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Try small ways to gently increase your activity level without overwhelming your system.
I love this time of year…I consider it a great opportunity for a new beginning. There are many more ways to encourage detoxification that I didn’t get into…infrared saunas, Epsom salt baths, dandelion tea, enemas/colonics…etc. I did a YouTube video earlier in 2021 on liver detoxification, including the details of each phase of liver detox, and ways to nutritionally support each. Feel free to check it out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-SjwD_spQo and consider subscribing to my channel Dr. Christy Cares! There is such a thing as too much supplementation and cleansing, and it’s important to know your body and its limits to do what’s comfortable and that which doesn’t push you too far. If you need guidance on more specific suggestions for your unique situation, please feel free to reach out to me for one on one support. Near or far, I am here for you on your health journey!
Dr. Christy Matusiak