May time. Its always a month where we feel it a little more ready to party. The sun is shining (well trying), there are more Bank Holidays than weekends (slight exaggeration) and so many of us come out of hibernation a bit and indulge in the years first BBQ's, Festivals and general get togethers. BBQ'd meat, processed foods, beers and booze are a flowing and flood your bod with tons of toxins that your liver and its pals gallbladder and kidneys have to process. And process they do, in fact the liver is part of around 400 key processes in the body and an overloaded Liver can cause all sorts of human horribleness such as:
Pains and Aches
Headaches & Migraines
Feelings of depression
Acne and Skin problems
This is just a few nasty symptoms in a long list and so giving your liver a helping hand is not only key to surviving this first month of the summer season but essential in avoiding starting the whole summer off a potentially spotty, smelly, miserable footing!
Now if you have ever been in and had a conversation with me at Rawr, you know I'm a big Turmeric pusher. Its my number 1 go to for liver cleansing but not everyone has the ability or resource or drive to use it daily so this list is made up of foods you have no excuse but to use and daily! *BIG TURMERIC SWOONING BLOG PIECE TO FOLLOW*
So here are my top 5 foods that can be incorporated in any diet, everyday, no excuses! Use them. Thank me later!
Citrus fruits such as Lemons, Limes, Oranges and Grapefruit help the liver by breaking down toxic substances so they can be absorbed by water and more easily cleansed from the body.
How to eat them:
Drinking a glass of warm water and Lemon Juice in the morning helps to stimulate the liver, activate the enzymes that break down toxins.
It also has a mass of other benefits from aiding digestion to boosting metabolism and is an easy, inexpensive and great way to start the day.
Green tea is packed to the rafters with antioxidants that assist the functions of the liver along with lowering cholesterol, lowering the risk of cancer, boosting the immune system and beyond.
How to use it:
Green tea is easy to incorporate into anyones diet as its as simple as changing out one of your hot drinks a day, whacking a bag in a cup and boiling the kettle. However ensure you are using a well sourced green tea, preferably organic and in minimal doses if Matcha as it packs quite a punch for your liver to process. Too much can cause the reverse affect and be harmful to your liver. 1-2 cups of green tea a day is plenty and avoid green tea extract with a barge pole. It might seem easier to pop a pill but theres a few cases of hepatotoxicity (chemical and herbal induced liver damage) that it is really not worth the risk.
If you aren't a fan of green tea or even if you are, ensure you don't leave the bag in too long making it too bitter, that the kettle isn't boiling when you pour and experimenting with additional flavours can easily kickstart a lifelong love affair with this wonderful tea.
Adding a slice of lemon, fresh mint or squeeze of lime can make all the difference to the taste so don't be afraid to try something new.
Anything really green has high amounts of Chlorophyll which is fantastic at stripping toxins from your blood stream and working like the PA of the liver. Swooping in and sorting out some of the nasties before they arrive on Liver's desk. They love neutralising heavy metals so fish fans should always have leafy greens in their superfood stock pile.
How to eat them:
The easiest way to incorporate leafy greens is in a smoothie or juice. Starting the day with a green smoothie is my number 1 go to for incorporating greens easily and without fuss. If you aren't a smoothie or juice fan, it can be as simple as swapping lettuce in salad based meals or sandwiches for spinach or always have a big side of rocket salad with every meal for an inexpensive, quick and peppery way of helping your liver out.
If you don't already have avocados on your basic of basics shopping list, you haven't lived. Easy to use in a variety of ways, they help the body produce Glutathione which the liver needs to get rid of toxins.
How to eat them:
Don't say you don't like avocados! Most people who I've heard say this haven't been eating them right. Shop bought guacamole doesn't count as giving them a chance and if thats not the reason, there are ways of having them and not even tasting them.
The easiest way is in a smoothie. Use them with the leafy greens and you kill two birds with one stone. For avocado haters, you won't even taste them and 1/2 an avocado will create a lovely thick and enjoyable smoothie.
They are also easy to blend up with Raw Cacao and a banana for a silky and healthy chocolate pudding or my favourite is to eat 1/2 out of the skin with a spoon after a sprinkle of Himalayan salt, cayenne pepper and sesame seeds. Quick, easy and awesome.
High in Omega 3's which and Glutathione which again are key in assisting the liver functions, walnuts are also high in Arginine which is an Amino Acid that helps the liver get rid of Ammonia.
How to eat them:
As they are. Simple. Walnuts are easy pocket food but also easy to throw in side salads, in rice dishes broken up or even in smoothies. Inexpensive and long lasting and something that can be eaten with the most minimal of fuss.
Treat your liver as a lovely member of your team and it will reward you.
Treat it like an overworked, unpaid employee and you catch my drift.
Your liver rocks and so do you so give yourself the health you deserve daily.
Written by Gemma Bloor
Nutritional Director and Nutritional Therapist
Rawr Juice & Superfood Bar Ltd