Liver Cleanse Recipe
Your liver puts its all into keeping you healthy and is involved with numerous everyday body functions.
Some of these include producing bile as part of the process through which your body eliminates waste, regulating blood clotting, removing drugs and toxins from blood, and making cholesterol and proteins for fat transportation.
It deserves a break now and again, don’t you think? If you want to give your liver a chance to take it easy for a few days, you can do a liver cleanse.
In this article, we’ll give you some recommendations for how you can flush your liver, along with a couple of liver cleanse recipes to get you started. But first, let’s talk about why specifically you might be thinking about cleansing your liver.
Is It Time for a Liver Cleanse?
Here are some situations where a liver cleanse might be in order:
- When you have been drinking to excess
- When you have been taking high amounts of drugs of any kind for a prolonged amount of time
- When you have been eating lots of sugar
- When you think you have been consuming more toxins than usual
- When you think you have been absorbing too many toxins through your skin
- When you are fatigued for no apparent reason, and it has been going on for a while
- Anytime you want to take extra care of your liver health
Do Detox Diets Work?
Cleanse diets and flushes online are a dime a dozen, and you might be wondering whether they are science or pseudoscience.
Some of them appear to be backed by some degree of evidence, but much more research is necessary.
One article that delves into this matter is “Detox diets for toxin elimination and weight management: a critical review of the evidence.”
According to this research, some clinical studies are backing the usefulness of commercial detox diets, but sample sizes are small, and methodologies are questionable.
Randomized controlled studies in humans are still needed to draw firmer conclusions.
Thie article includes a handy table of nutritional components and the evidence available for their ability to help flush various toxins.
|Nutritional component||Chemical eliminated||Evidence in animals or humans?||References|
|Malic acid||Aluminium||Mice||Domingo et al. 48|
|Citric acid||Aluminium||Mice||Domingo et al. 48|
|Succinic acid||Aluminium||Mice||Domingo et al. 48|
|Citrus pectin||Lead||Humans||Zhao et al. 55|
|Coriander||Cadmium||Rainbow trout||Ren et al. 50|
|Lead||Mice||Aga et al. 47|
|Selenium||Mercury||Birds, fish, mammals||Ralston & Raymond 58|
|Humans||Li et al. 59, Seppanen et al. 60|
|Chlorella||Mercury||Mice||Uchikawa et al. 52, 53|
|Lead||Mice||Uchikawa et al. 51|
|H6CDD||Mice||Takekoshi et al. 61|
|PCDDs||Rats||Morita et al. 62, 63|
|PCDFs||Rats||Morita et al. 62, 63|
|Nori||PCDDs||Rats||Morita & Tobiishi 64|
|PCDFs||Rats||Morita & Tobiishi 64|
|Olestra||HCB||Mice||Jandacek et al. 76|
|PCBs||Humans||Jandacek et al. 77|
We can reference this table and its contents as a basis for some of the liver cleanse diet recommendations.
Are Liver Cleanses Safe?
How safe it is to attempt a cleanse of any nature depends on 1-your health, 2-medications you are taking, and 3-the exact cleanse you want to try.
Here are some potential safety issues to be aware of:
- Fasting improperly can result in nutritional deficiencies. Lactic acidosis is also possible. Some people have died by detoxing incorrectly. You can read more about this (and the other potential problems listed below) in the linked study.
- Taking too much of certain laxatives or other substances can be dangerous. Even drinking too much water can be unsafe. There are also some nutrients/supplements you can go overboard on, like selenium, if you are not careful.
- Labeling and claims can be misleading. Many people are trying to make a buck by selling “cleanse” diets and products—research before trying anything and exercise caution.
How to cleanse your liver
Below is a step by step simple and flexible plan for a liver cleanse.
How long you do this cleanse is up to you, but seven days is a typical amount of time many choose to follow.
1. Eliminate foods and beverages that are overtaxing your liver
There are some foods and beverages that your liver has a harder time with than others.
The American Liver Foundation says, “Don’t eat foods high in fat, sugar, and salt. Stay away from a lot of fried foods, including fast food restaurant meals. Raw or undercooked shellfish such as oysters and clams are a definite no-no.”
However, Michigan Health references Lorraine Bonkowski, R.D., a dietitian in hepatology, saying that healthy fats belong in a nutritious diet, and it is unhealthy fats that need to be avoided. Bonkowski also emphasizes that excess sugars and carbs are essential to stay away from for liver health.
Furthermore, alcohol can be damaging to your liver and even lead to liver disease.
So, for the duration of your cleanse, avoid:
- Sugar and foods containing sugar
- Foods that are high in carbohydrates
- Excess salt
- Fried and processed foods
- Raw or undercooked shellfish
- Foods that are high in unhealthy fats
2. Eat healthy foods your liver likes, especially those high in fiber
The American Liver Foundation suggests that you favor the following foods for liver health:
- Healthy oils
In general, you should be loading up on fiber since fiber enhances liver function. That should be pretty easy to do through your choice of veggies, fruits, and grains.
So, here is an example of a recipe that would fit nicely into your liver cleanse:
Quinoa Salad Liver Cleanse Recipe
- 2 cups quinoa, cooked
- One diced cucumber
- One diced carrot
- 1 cup of spinach leaves, raw
- Two diced green onions
- One tablespoon almonds
- One tablespoon of lemon juice
- Five cherry tomatoes
- Two tablespoons of avocado oil
1. Combine the quinoa, cucumber, carrot, spinach, tomatoes, green onions, and almonds in a bowl.
2. Add the lemon juice and avocado oil.
3. Distribute the lemon juice and avocado oil throughout the salad, mixing all the ingredients.
You can easily vary this recipe by adding or subtracting vegetables or fruits. Chicken would make a great addition as well.
3. Fast with care
You will notice that many liver cleanse methods you find online involve some element of fasting, whether intermittently or over an extended period of time. Does fasting help improve liver health?
This article describes an animal research study conducted in Australia. The article explains, “In particular, the researchers found that the HNF4-(alpha) protein, which regulates a large number of liver genes, plays a previously unknown role during intermittent fasting.”
The article quotes one of the researchers explaining, “This has downstream consequences, such as lowering the abundance of blood proteins in inflammation or affecting bile synthesis.”
So, you may want to consider incorporating intermittent fasting into your liver cleanse.
The time of day that you eat versus the time of day that you fast is important if you want your fasting to be productive for your health.
Harvard Medical School explains that synchronizing fasting with circadian rhythms can promote better results concerning blood glucose.
This is further confirmed with evidence that Ramadan fasting, which involves eating only after sunset and not during daylight hours, does not improve blood glucose.
Consider restricting eating to the hours between 7 am and 3 pm each day and fasting the rest of the time for your liver cleanse. You can do this for several days of your week-long cleanse.
4. Stay hydrated
The American Liver Foundation says that drinking plenty of liquids helps your liver to function.
So, during your liver cleanse, make sure that you are not skimping on water.
When it comes to juice, it’s fine to consume so long as you are not drinking fruit juices that are high in sugar.
Vegetable juices with a lower sugar content but rich in nutrients may be a good choice.
5. Increase your intake of good bacteria
Good liver health can be facilitated through good digestive health. This article discusses the link between healthy bacteria in the gut and a functional liver.
The research suggests that using prebiotics and probiotics may be helpful for patients with liver disease.
So, as part of your liver cleanse, consider adding any of the following to your daily diet:
- Prebiotic or probiotic supplements
6. Introduce nutrient components to help flush out specific toxins
Finally, you will notice that many liver cleanse recipes include references to lemon juice or apple juice.
The reason that liver cleanse recipes so often include these ingredients is that certain nutrient components have been shown in studies to help eliminate certain toxins.
So, let’s say you want to try and flush out aluminum, for example.
Referencing the chart shared previously, any of the following nutrient components may be helpful:
- Malic acid
- Citric acid
- Succinic acid
Eating foods that contain these components might help.
As referenced here, malic acid accounts for around 80-90% of all of the organic acids present in apples.
So, you might want to eat apples daily as part of your liver cleanse or simply drink a lot of apple juice.
Lemons contain ample citric acid, so lemon juice is also included as an ingredient in many liver cleanse recipes.
As another example, say you want to flush out mercury.
That would mean increasing your intake of selenium. One of the easiest ways you can do that through your diet is with brazil nuts.
A single brazil nut contains around 68–91 mcg of selenium per nut. 55 mcg is the daily recommended selenium intake for adults, so just eating one brazil nut a day during your cleanse should be more than adequate.
In fact, you need to make sure you do not eat too many brazil nuts. It is easy to overdose on selenium this way.
Liver Cleanse Smoothie Recipe
Below is another example of a recipe that would be ideal for a liver cleanse. This recipe incorporates some of the essential nutrient compounds and ingredients to help cleanse your liver.
- One banana
- ½ apple, chopped (remove the core and seeds)
- Two walnuts
- ¾ cup almond milk
- One chopped carrot
- One cup spinach
- 1/4 cup parsley
- Two tablespoons lemon juice
- Two tablespoons protein powder
1. Put all the ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth.
Cleanse Your Liver Now
Now you have some basic steps for doing a liver cleanse.
This liver cleanse does not involve extreme fasting or calorie restriction and should be safe for most people.
Just remember to avoid alcohol and foods that are bad for your liver, load up on fiber-rich veggies, fruits, meats, healthy fats, and nuts, and try intermittent fasting. Nourish your gut with healthy bacteria, and drink plenty of water.
All of these steps should help to give your liver the cleansing support it needs.