We live in a poisoned world…
Exhaust from cars, factories and power plants contaminate the air.
Chlorine and fluoride are added to our water… not to mention gender-bending chemicals and other pollutants that make their way to the tap.
Flame-retardants coat our furniture. Stain treatments protect our clothing.
We take chemical drugs when we are sick. We rub chemical cosmetics on our skin. And nearly everything on supermarket shelves has been preserved, dipped, dyed or sprayed.
According to EPA sales and use statistics, nearly one billion pounds of toxic pesticides and herbicides are intentionally introduced to the environment and our food supply each year. A study published in the Annual Review of Public Health estimates that the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed by the average person in a year has the equivalent of a GALLON of pesticides and herbicides sprayed on it.
We’re even exposed to toxins before we take our first breath. Researchers at two major laboratories recently found an average of 200 pollutants in the umbilical cords of babies, including industrial chemicals, consumer product ingredients, pesticides and wastes from burning coal, gasoline and garbage.
Your body is immensely adaptable. It can protect you from occasional exposures to these contaminants. Unfortunately, however, for the average person, our exposures are anything but occasional. They are chronic and nearly constant.
The results of a lifetime of chronic exposure can be serious disease or just a general feeling of sluggishness, fatigue, pain and “unwellness.”
Now, that’s the bad news.
But there is good news…
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Fortunately you have a liver that is incredibly resilient. It is so perfectly designed that it can protect you from our toxic modern world. Of course, your best line of defense is to avoid toxins in every way possible.
But you must also give your liver the daily care it’s looking for. To do that, it is important to understand what your liver is doing on your behalf. Then you can give it the love it needs!
Detox Pathways in a Nutshell
There are three main processes that occur in your liver to turn toxins into excretions:
- Phase One Detoxification: This step includes oxidation, reduction, hydrolysis, hydration and dehalogenation. This phase turns toxins into different (but still toxic) substances.
- Intermediary step: Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions protect the liver against the substances produced in phase one. This is the liver’s way of cleaning up its own ‘mess’.
- Phase Two Detoxification (aka conjugation): This includes acetylation, methylation, sulphation, glutathionation, glucuronidation and transamination. These actions turn the toxic substances into water-soluble compounds that can be safely passed through the body for excretion.
Think the “Master Cleanse” is the answer? Think again. In fact, each of these three vital detoxification steps involve a range of different nutrients. And no surprise, these liver-cleansing nutrients are found abundantly in an ancestral diet.
Below, I share three of my favorite liver supportive foods – all backed by science. Consume these foods at least every few days to give your liver the nutritional support it needs.
Detox Food #1: The “Alligator Pear”
During the intermediary step of detoxification, your liver uses the antioxidant powers of vitamins A, C and E to help repair the damage caused by free radicals during phase one detoxification.
Avocados are good sources of both C and E… but their antioxidant super-powers go far beyond that.
A 2005 study found that the addition of avocado to both salad and salsa significantly enhanced the absorption of Vitamin A precursors (alpha and beta-carotene) within the foods.
Earlier research, published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, tested 22 different fruits on liver damaged rats. Out of all the fruits, the researchers discovered that, “Avocado showed extraordinarily potent liver injury suppressing activity.”
So, give your liver that soft touch by adding chopped avocado to salads. Whirl it into smoothies made with grass-fed whey protein (another detox superstar). Or create a delicious guacamole to serve alongside an antioxidant-rich salsa.
Detox Food #2: The “Stinking Rose”
Garlic pops up nearly everywhere when it comes to health-promoting foods. And in the case of your liver, the so-called ‘stinking rose’ is a welcome gift.
Among many other beneficial nutrients, garlic contains organosulfur compounds which your liver uses during phase-two detoxification.
But garlic may also help prevent disease of the liver in other ways…
A 2009 study, demonstrated the liver-protecting power of garlic against acetaminophen toxicity. The study authors suggest that garlic may actually be used as “an antidote to the development of hepatitis.”
Of course, garlic can be used to flavor just about any savory dish. But to capture its medicinal results, it should be added at the end of cooking. Better yet, consume garlic crushed and raw so that it retains the majority of its active constituents. Mix crushed garlic with oil or blitz it with avocado oil and fresh herbs (like parsley and cilantro) in a blender to create a flavorful Chimichurri (then serve atop or alongside your favorite pastured chicken, wild fish or grass-fed beef dish).
Detox Food #3: The Golden Healer
Curcumin is the active compound in the golden spice turmeric. It has long been studied for its powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This also makes it highly valuable in that intermediate step between phase one and phase two detoxification.
A study conducted in 2012 and published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand found that curcumin successfully regenerated and repaired damaged liver tissues in diabetic rats.
And a 2014 review published in Food and Chemical Toxicology discusses curcumin’s ability with regards to heavy metal toxins. The authors state:
“Curcumin has shown, in clinical and preclinical studies, numerous biological activities including therapeutic efficacy against various human diseases and anti-hepatotoxic effects against environmental or occupational toxins.”
It’s no surprise that turmeric pops up in many commercial detoxification supplements. But you can get the daily benefits of turmeric just by adding it as a condiment to your daily diet… and for a lot less money, to boot!
Use fresh turmeric root blended into smoothies with other organic liver-loving vegetables, berries and grass-fed whey protein, or just add a teaspoon of this golden healer to curries, sauces, salad dressing or any savory dish for a powerful boost.
In addition to these three detox superfoods, consider the liver-cleansing benefits of gelatin to boost glutathione (your body’s master antioxidant and detoxifier).
Detox Daily with a Low Toxin, Ancestral Lifestyle
By enjoying a whole foods ancestral diet – rich in leafy greens, healthy fats, vibrant herbs and spices, wild seafood and pastured meats – you’ll provide your body with the nutrients it needs to detox effectively… all year long!