Signs Your Liver Needs A Cleanse After A Month Of Holiday Treats & Sweets
The holidays are a glorious time to eat, drink, and be merry. I look forward to all of the festive desserts, savory appetizers, and fun cocktails that I get to indulge in each and every year. But once the new year rolls around, I welcome the opportunity to reset my habits and healthy routines.
As the body's primary detoxification organ, the liver helps filter, bind, and remove toxins that are ever-present in our everyday lives (think pollutants, heavy metals, chemicals, and yes, alcohol). This unsung hero of the body is underappreciated and often overlooked—largely due to the lack of awareness around what an unhealthy liver looks and feels like.
Here are telltale signs that your liver could use some TLC (plus, how to support its overall health and function).
14 signs your liver needs a detox:
- Craving sugar more
- Digestive distress
- An influx of sinus infections
- Not feeling healthy, even when you eat healthy foods
- Skin breakouts
- Constant fatigue
- Brain fog
- Sore, stiff, and achy joints
- Chronic stress
- Hormonal imbalance
- Excessive body odor and/or bad breath
- Irregular and disruptive sleep patterns
- Feeling depressed and anxious
- Painful cold sores
If you're experiencing more than one of these symptoms, your liver could likely use a reset.
5 ways to cleanse your liver naturally.
Call it a cleanse or a detox, but these practices aren't about cleansing the liver itself (scientifically speaking, that's not really a thing). Rather, they support liver health so that the vital organ can do what it does—filtering out toxins and turning them into waste—more efficiently. By helping protect the liver from modern environmental stressors, we can help it function optimally.
Here are our top five tips for cleansing the liver in a healthy, holistic way:
- Adopt a liver- and gut-friendly diet. Eat a balanced, plant-dense diet that contains diverse nutrients and phytonutrients that support liver and gut health; drink more water; and ditch processed foods.
- Try a form of intermittent fasting. Once you've mastered a nutrient-rich diet, you can introduce intermittent fasting for further liver support—evidence suggests periods without food can help improve sugar metabolism, reduce levels of liver fat, and also give the liver a chance to repair and clean itself out.
- Use liver-supporting supplements strategically. The right supplementation regimen can be extremely helpful in promoting optimal liver function. Certain nutrient and plant bioactives (such as milk thistle, glutathione, and other ingredients found in mindbodygreen's favorite liver supplements) have scientific backing for their ability to support liver health by assisting in the filtering and removal of unwanted toxins, stimulating bile production, protecting liver cells, and more.
- Schedule a daily sweat session. Detoxification is dependent on avoiding additional exposure to toxins and removing toxins that are already present in the body. Sweating during physical activity, hot baths, and sauna sessions can help take some of the detoxification burden off of your liver.
- Practice self-care on the regular. If you're still recovering from chronic holiday stress, this tip is for you! Too much stress in your life can negatively affect all facets of your well-being (including your liver) and contribute to internal oxidative stress1. Address unchecked stress by introducing more self-care activities—like meditation, long soaks, home spa nights, or simply prioritizing deep and restful sleep. Your liver deserves the chance to rest (and so do you!).
To learn more about the ins and outs of liver detoxification, check out mindbodygreen's guide to natural liver cleanses here.
There's no shame in enjoying cocktails and holiday cookies through end-of-year celebrations! That said, your liver may need some extra love and care heading into 2023. Try implementing these simple tips to promote optimal liver health and function throughout the new year.
Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition. Chamberlain believes in taking small steps to improve your well-being—whether that means eating more plant-based foods, checking in with a therapist weekly, or spending quality time with your closest friends. When she isn’t typing away furiously at her keyboard, you can find her cooking in the kitchen, hanging outside, or doing a vinyasa flow.