You Don't Need Fancy Cleanses. Here Are 3 Super-Simple Ways To Support Your Liver

Photo: Jennifer Brister

It's almost summer, and that means sundresses, tropical fruits, bathing suits, and sunscreen. It also means we're entering the season of detoxes, cleanses, and diets. If you're looking to support your body's health detoxification—whether it be to improve gut health, shed a few pounds, or reset your hunger signals—you might be surprised by the price tags you encounter. In fact, you might not think you can afford to detox at all.

Luckily, that's not the case. There are a TON of affordable (and even free!) ways to support your liver and body's natural detoxification pathways. So while we LOVE a great doctor-approved detoxification program, you should know that there are other ways to accomplish your goals. We asked three top functional medicine experts about their favorite way to detox; here's what they had to say:

1. Sweat

"Detoxification is dependent on two critical factors: avoiding additional exposure to toxins and removing any toxins that are present in the body. Ridding the body of the toxins is done through two major pathways. The first is by improving liver function—since the liver is responsible for the majority of our detoxification—and the second is through sweating. The skin is our major detoxification organ, and sweating is the best way to get the toxins out of our body. Sweating can be done with Epsom salt baths, exercise, far infrared saunas, or steam." Wendie Trubow, M.D.

2. Eat

"We help people with detoxification every day, and I truly believe the best way to support our natural detoxification systems is through food. Two great ways to increase detox capacity are to increase our supply of glutathione, as well as using things that actually bind up toxins and increase elimination. The best natural glutathione boosters are broccoli sprouts; they have an extremely high amount of a substance called sulforaphane, which is also found in other cruciferous veggies like cabbages, Brussels sprouts, and kale. Put them in smoothies and on salads daily to support detoxification.

In addition, once the liver processes toxins, they get excreted into our bile and then into the intestines, where they get bound up and safely removed. If they are not bound up, they can circulate back into the body, which is bad. There are several natural binders that can be used to help with this process. One of my favorites is chlorella (cracked wall algae) because it's particularly adept at binding up heavy metals and can be used safely for long periods of time. Another good option is activated charcoal tablets, which bind toxins well but can also bind minerals and vitamins, so you must take one between eating meals and taking other supplements." Heather Moday, M.D.

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3. Fast

"I believe we should make our life a cleanse, and that food is the center of it all. But one tool that I love to promote health detoxification pathways actually involves no food. I love the power that intermittent fasting can have on the body's natural detox processes. Periods without food give our body a chance to repair and clean itself out, since it doesn't have to focus on or funnel energy to our digestive system. Think of this as your body's chance to leave work and catch up on some house cleaning. One of the cool self-cleaning tools utilized during fasting is something called autophagy, which literally translates to 'self-eating.' When this process is allowed to do its thing, our body's healthy cells gobble up any unhealthy cells, leading to a true cellular detox." Will Cole, D.C.

Not sure if a cleanse is right for your body? Here are 16 signs it's time for a detox.

And are you ready to learn more about how to unlock the power of food to heal your body, prevent disease & achieve optimal health? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Kelly LeVeque.

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