Liver Detox

Detoxification is a mind-field of opinions but essentially the best detox program is one that is tailor made to your needs. For example, what works for one person may not necessarily be the miracle cure for you as people eliminate toxins in different ways.

It is a positive step if before you start the detox program to spend a week or two preparing the body. You can do this by implementing some of the following suggested ideas, especially cutting down on caffeine and cigarettes and opening the channels of elimination by taking a gentle fibre supplement, increasing water intake and drinking vegetable juices. Many people may experience a dull headache for a few days when weening off any vices, this is because the body is craving the nicotine or caffeine. Detoxifying is a unique experience for everyone and is not something for the faint hearted, it is always a wise idea to speak to a health professional for tailored advice and also guidance concerning any prescriptive medications you may be taking.


Essentially a detox is a program to open the channels of elimination so that you can release toxins and remove them safely from the bodies systems and consequently feel lighter and brighter.

Many organs play a supportive role in the process of detoxification, including the stomach (digestion), the liver (liberating the toxins), the small intestine (assimilation), the colon (removal of wastes) and the skin (elimination of toxins). If any of these essential organs are not operating at optimal capacity the normal daily detoxification process may be impaired. Many talk about the liver becoming sluggish and this is exactly how one will feel if their liver is in trouble. The Chinese talk about the liver as housing the emotion of anger and this is also supported by the old saying that somebody is feeling liverish today.

The Liver

The liver has two phases of detoxification, Phase I and Phase II. If either of these phases is impaired in any way, your ability to detoxify chemicals, heavy metals and environmental pollutants is decreased.

The intestines
The intestines absorb essential vitamins and minerals from your food leaving behind waste products and insoluble fibre. It is important that your intestines have the right balance of friendly bacteria to aid this process.

The Colon
The colon reabsorbs water and excretes waste products from your body.

The Skin
The skin is the largest organ of your body, and eliminates toxins through perspiration.

The Kidneys
The kidneys are the filtration system of the body and have the massive job of working through wastes and eliminating them from the body via the bladder.

A simple analogy I like to use is one of imagining the liver as an onion. An onion has many layers before you can reach its middle. In a detox these layers of waste matter are peeled off to eventually reveal a cleaner, healthier liver. This means that the number one detox organ will function more effectively and the person will naturally feel more vitality.


The following decrease liver function so it is suggested to avoid or limit the following:

  • Avoid alcohol, coffee, tea, drinks containing caffeine, cordial and sugary drinks and soft drink.
  • Avoid eating late at night.
  • Dairy foods such as milk, butters and yoghurt.
  • Yeast and breads made from gluten flours such as wheat, rye, oats, barley, kamut and spelt.
  • Avoid foods containing sugar and glucose.
  • Refined, processed and tinned foods and also preservatives (includes dried fruit containing sulphur preservative 202).
  • Avoid saturated fats, trans-fatty acids (margarine, butter, deep fried fatty foods, cakes, biscuits, canola oil).
  • Avoid processed and packaged foods
  • Avoid cigarette smoking and the use of recreational drugs.


  • Start each day with some warm water and lemon juice.
  • Introduce vegetable juices such as carrot, celery, kale (greens) beetroot and ginger as these will help to cleanse the blood and support liver function.
  • Drink plenty of filtered water and herbal teas such as Dandelion, Burdock, Chicory, Red Clover, Chamomile, Ginger and Peppermint as these teas may assist with digestion and increase liver processes.
  • Add a handful of sprouts, grated beetroot or grated carrot to each main meal. These will help you to digest your food better
  • Consume more pineapple and papaya as they contain beneficial enzymes to promote digestion
  • Drink daily some kefir coconut water to provide the body with beneficial bacteria
  • Take a probiotic supplement to reinoculate good bacteria into the gut
  • Take 5ml of Apple Cider Vinegar 15 minutes prior to meals especially if you suffer from any digestive complaints such as reflux or constipation. Apple Cider Vinegar is a bitter and may help to increase digestive capabilities.
  • Herbs such as St Marys Thistle, Dandelion, Gentian, Fennel, Bupleurum, Globe Artichoke and Meadowsweet, have been used for centuries to increase the effectiveness of the livers detoxification processes.
  • Eat protein at every meal and increase vegetables as a source of carbohydrates. Reduce animal protein consumption as this may slow down bowel transit time, instead choose quality protein sources, such as tofu, eggs, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
  • Introduce super foods into the diet such as Barley Grass, Wheat Grass, Spirulina or Chlorella as these foods are rich in chlorophyll, which is a blood cleanser.
  • Continue an exercise regime but slow it down and take it easy when initiating a detox program. I would recommend light walks, yoga and swimming.
  • Use ginger and garlic in your cooking.
  • If constipation is a problem for you, using supplements with Acidophilus, aloe vera juice or slippery elm and psyllium may help to keep you regular.
  • Choose organic foods over non-organic food sources as these are grown using pesticides and chemicals, which will adversely affect any detox program.
  • Plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, using as many green and yellow vegetables. Fruits such as pineapple, banana and paw paw will also help with digestion.
  • Make healthier diet choices for a long term change not just a two week liver detox.
  • Use oils and balsamic vinegar on salads such as cold pressed virgin olive oil, olives, avocado, unsalted raw nuts and seeds.