Within the 21st century we are continually exposed to innumerable environmental chemicals and toxins. How we live really does impact on our health – over stimulation, emotional and mental stress, toxic negative thought processes, recreational and prescriptive drugs, alcohol, tobacco, geopathic stress and Wi-Fi. The air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink all create challenges which have an effect. The problem is not exposure to a very small amount of one type of chemical, for example a pesticide on a vegetable, but the constant exposure to various chemicals, parabens, synthetic hormones (including the contraceptive pill and HRT) and toxins that accumulate in our systems over years. Through scientific research we understand that these chemicals affect all sorts of things from hormone production to cancer to obesity. Environmental and synthetic toxins not only disrupt our vital systems but also inhibit our body’s ability to revitalise and repair. How? By inhibiting correct organ function, blocking detox pathways and limiting nutrient absorption.
The liver is at the fore front when it comes to processing toxins. It receives toxins directly from the bowel, lungs and skin as they are absorbed into the blood. The liver carries out a plethora of functions including storing vitamins, oestrogen and metabolising fats. It also provides enzymes for many of our “ internal chemical processes” which includes hormonal health. Another of its jobs is to break down and destroy unwanted materials and toxins and chemically change them into substances that can be excreted from the body.
Spring represents new growth and energy. According to the Chinese theory of the Five Elements the energy of the liver is at its peak in Spring so this is the time to cleanse it! Meta-physically the organ holds anger, resentment and repressed emotions – so this is a good time to release negative emotion and recharge with positivity using diet, exercise, body treatments and meditation.
So how can you help yourself from a naturopathic viewpoint?
1. Consume plenty of living foods – vegetables and fruit which are high in antioxidants, as they encourage detoxification and cellular alkalinity. Carrots, radishes, watercress and beetroot are liver friendly vegetables. Sulphur rich vegetables such as Brussel Sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and turnip help the liver to detoxify. Turmeric is protective to the liver and a great anti-inflammatory. Sprouted seeds are packed with nutrients readily digested by the body. Pulses can be eaten, in addition proteins such as eggs, yoghurt, meat and fish – all dependant on your individual needs.
2. The liver is most active between midnight and midday so beginning the day with a juice is ideal! Combine the juice of 2 carrots, a handful of watercress and a quarter of a red pepper. Add filtered water to fill glass. This juice is rich in antioxidants and is great first thing in the morning as the peppery taste of the watercress will wake you up!
3. Include Beetroot in your diet: Here are a few ideas for using this great “liver benefitting vegetable”
Baked Beetroot – Allow 1 organic beetroot per person. Heat oven to 180c. Scrub whole, remove the tops.. Place in an ovenproof dish. Bake in oven for about 1 hour until the beetroot is soft (it will feel similar to a jacket potato). The length of time each beetroot will need to be cooked will vary dependant on size. Peel skin once cooked and serve cold or warm. Alternatively you can boil the beetroot whole for about 45 minutes to an hour. Once firm towards soft to touch then cool and skin before eating.
Grate raw beetroot into grated carrot . Add handful freshly spouted alfalfa, some avocado and mix together with lemon juice and olive oil. Put spoonfuls of the mixture onto a large lettuce leaf, roll up and eat!
Add raw beetroot to the juicer with carrot and celery – great and a beautiful colour!
Make beetroot soup. You will need 4 medium beetroots, 1 carrot, 2 tspn oil, 1 onion finely chopped, 1 fennel, black pepper, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 250 ml water, 1 teaspoon fennel seeds. Scrub the beetroot well, cut off the tops and root ends. Cut the beets in half and then into small slices. Scrub and chop the fennel and carrot. Saute the onion with the oil and fennel seeds until soft. Add chopped vegetables and stir gently. Add water and simmer for 30-45 minutes until tender. Blend and reheat gently. Add a swirl of soya cream or crème fraiche and chopped herbs to serve.
4. Combine Far Infrared Therapy with a Castor Oil Pack.
It is believed the warmth and rays of the infrared support organ rebalance and detoxification. The Castor Oil pack laid over the liver supports further detoxification. Here is a youtube demonstration of how to make a castor oil pack – no this is not me! http://youtu.be/cXOmXxCs8Nw. More information on far infrared can be found here:https://www.justineevans.co.uk/workshops/corporate/naturopathic-wellness/far-infrared-thermal-treatment/
Disclaimer: This article is meant for general information only and should not be construed as guidance or recommendation. It does not take into account any medication you may be taking, food sensitivities or allergies, nor any form of health issue. Naturopathic consultations and assessment are recommended on an individual basis and it is important to speak with a health professional or your GP before changing your diet.