Struggling to lose weight is often accompanied by symptoms like low energy, constant cravings, and poor digestion. And when we take a closer look, underlying these symptoms are hormone imbalance, poor detox function, and inflammation–all of which are key indicators that your liver may not be functioning optimally.
One thing that nearly everyone can benefit from to support liver health is a simple and holistic plan to remove toxins and metabolic waste that can build up and contribute to weight gain, sluggish detox function, and hormone imbalance.
The Truth About “Detoxification” and “Cleanses”
Terms like “detoxification,” “cleanse,” or “flush” have various meanings and their protocols can quickly become confusing. What is sometimes well-intentioned advice can leave you with an extremely restrictive, low-calorie protocol that does little if anything to support the actual detox processes your body could be struggling with.
With a proper holistic detox plan, you’ll still be able to eat nourishing food while helping your body perform necessary cleanup.
There are two things your liver does that are extremely important for metabolism. The first, is handling carbohydrate and fat metabolism. Your liver converts excess carbohydrates into fatty acids and triglycerides, and readies them for storage as fat tissue. It also synthesizes most of your body’s cholesterol and lipids (essential fats) (1).
The second thing your liver does, it performs with the help of other systems. Along with your digestive system, kidneys, and skin, your liver is your body’s primary detox organ. Your liver packages toxins, excess hormones, metabolic waste, and any other compound ready for elimination.
In summary, your liver has a major job to do, and it can become overwhelmed if we don’t take care of it.
Can Liver Problems Cause Belly Fat?
Abdominal fat, or fat around your belly, is one of the most common complaints for men and women. Unfortunately, it’s also the most problematic for overall health. Excess fat around the belly can hinder healthy organ function and produce excess inflammation that affects your entire body.
When your liver is overworked, you may also struggle to maintain a healthy blood sugar balance. This could be due to a condition known as insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is notorious for creating stubborn belly fat (2).
Say Goodbye to Inflammatory Foods
To detoxify your liver naturally, you’ll first need to reduce your exposure to toxins that bog down the liver, and then you’ll support systems that help your liver eliminate waste so your metabolism can efficiently use carbs and fat for fuel.
While we often enjoy a glass of pinot or the like to wind down at the end of a long day, alcohol stresses an already overworked liver. So if you’re trying to clean up liver health, you’ll want to eliminate alcohol–at least temporarily.
As part of a liver detox, you’ll also want to forego added sugar, processed foods high in omega-6 oils, and common allergens like wheat and dairy that can keep your body inflamed.
Many people notice an overall benefit in addition to easier weight loss when some of these foods are permanently removed from their diet. The silver lining is that you may feel so much better after eliminating these foods, you may not even have an interest in bringing them back.
Here’s what to do for a healthy liver detox to support effective weight loss:
Step 1: Eliminate ultra-processed foods and reduce your toxic load.
Turn to the nutrition facts label of any frozen meal or packaged food, and you’ll likely see a collection of ingredients you can’t pronounce. Many of these are unwanted substances your liver must filter through.
By reducing the overall amount of toxins, preservatives, and artificial compounds in your body, you’ll promote a healthy liver.
Kale, spinach, chard, dandelion greens, and others naturally contain phytonutrients like chlorophyll, and antioxidants that support natural detox pathways in your liver.
Cruciferous veggies, like broccoli, cauliflower, and leeks also contain sulfur compounds which are beneficial for liver detox (3).
Step 3: Stay hydrated.
Your body relies on staying properly hydrated to deliver nutrients to all your tissues, and to properly get rid of waste products–both in your digestion and your blood. Aim to drink half your bodyweight in ounces per day. For example, a 160 pound person would need about 80 ounces at minimum–and more if you’re active.
Step 4: Fix your gut!
If you’re not having regular, healthy bowel movements, toxins are more likely to recirculate unwanted back through your liver where they’re sometimes more harmful the second time around.
Healthy elimination is crucial for your body, and this is dependent upon a well-functioning digestive system. If your gut needs a fix, read more here, and consider adding a daily belly fix to your routine.
Natural Liver Cleanse for Weight Loss
With all the above advice in mind, let’s take a look at what a typical day looks like when you’re doing a liver cleanse for weight loss.
- Upon waking, drink room temperature or warm lemon water. You can add optimal fresh ginger root to further prime digestion.
- Breakfast: 1-2 scrambled eggs with sauteed spinach or rainbow chard
- Lunch: Mixed greens salad with grilled turkey, sunflower seeds, and julienned carrots or beets. Add oil and vinegar dressing.
- Midday snack: Greens smoothie, or my favorite detox smoothie. (You can add ¼ cup of coconut milk for added satiety)
- Dinner: Protein of choice with half sweet potato and steamed broccoli.
These foods support healthy carb and fat metabolism, natural detox pathways, and help reduce your overall inflammation, all of which supports healthy and easy weight loss.
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