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Foods that Fuel Liver Detox Phase 1 and 2
Our liver works very hard to keep us healthy. Poor food choices, alcoholic beverages, medications, and environmental toxin exposure are just a few examples of what our liver has to detoxify for us.
The liver uses a two step detox sequence known as, Phase 1 and Phase 2 detoxification. Phase 1 is when the liver makes toxins soluble by processing them into a water soluble form. This crucial step is what allows these toxins to be excreted from the body. Problems arise, when Phase 1 is complete, at this point toxins can be 60 times more harmful to our bodies then before they entered our body. This is where Phase 2 comes in, and finishes up the dirty job of Phase 1. Phase 2 neutralizes the toxins. If Phase 2 is not working well, we will store those toxins in our fat cells, and this can make us sick. This toxic burden has been connected to headaches, migraines, acne, mood disturbances, as well as women's health concerns, such as fibroids, endometriosis, breast cysts, and cancer. Below are some simple things you can do to help your body move these toxins out!
Increase Cruciferous Vegetables in your Diet
Increase cruciferous vegetables in your diet such as; cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collards, bokchoy, and brussel sprouts at least three times per week. These foods support both Phase 1 and Phase 2. This means they process the toxins and excrete them effectively. Not a lot of foods can do that. Cruciferous vegetables are also touted for their anticancer properties, and are rich in indole-3-carbinol, a phytochemical that inactivates potentially harmful estrogens, reducing the risk of female fibroids, cysts, and cancers.
Drink Lemon Water
Start your morning off with a glass of lemon water. Cut about 1/4 of a lemon wedge and squeeze into a glass of room temperature water. The bitter flavour of lemon stimulates the liver and promotes bile production from the gallbladder.
Eat Raspberries and add Tumeric to your Diet
Raspberries and tumeric both slow down Phase 1 and speed up Phase 2. This is a good thing. Tumeric can be added to rice, tossed in with some veggies, added to smoothies, or mixed in with some almond milk and honey as a warm beverage.
Try having a few vegetarian meals per week. You can start with "Meatless Monday" and incorporate beans into your lunch or dinner plan. Beans help support phase 2. There are a variety to choose from; chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, lima beans etc. Add them to a salad, put them in a wrap, on rice or quoina, or make a bean salad.
Go More Green
Pump up your green vegetable intake or consider a greens drink. Green vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals; such as C, K, E, K, folate, calcium, magnesium and iron. They really are a powerhouse of nutrition. They also neutralize chemicals and pesticides in our foods, and support liver health. A green supplement is helpful on the days you are not eating enough of these vegetables. Powdered drinks are easily mixed into water and give you the equivalent serving size of 8 vegetables. There are a variety to choose from, just make sure you pick up an organic one.
Rachel Schwartzman is a board certified naturopathic doctor, licensed acupuncturist and birth doula. She maintains a general family practice in Toronto, with a special interest in family medicine, women's health, pregnancy and pediatrics. www.rachelschwartzman.com