Saturday, January 7, 2012

Day 5 - 10 Days to a Healthier You in 2012!

Day 5 – Liver-Gallbladder Support

Today we turn our attention to our livers!  Your liver is the largest solid organ you have and it’s almost the size of a football.  It is likely the most overworked and underappreciated organ in our bodies!  You see the liver processes everything we eat, drink, rub on our skin and breath into our lungs – and it does it not once but TWICE.

During this processing it filters out toxins, breaks nutrients into formats that can be easily used by organs or systems throughout the body.  In addition to acting as a filter the liver also produces bile to break down fats, stores sugars in the form of glycogen for quick energy, produces cholesterol which the body uses to make hormones to keep your body balanced and so much more!

The gallbladder is a small storage tank for bile.  As the food you ate passes out of the stomach and into the small intestine, bile is released from the gallbladder.  The bile breaks down fats, carries toxins out of the body and assists in the regulation of the pH of the small intestine.

Here is a list of foods that support your liver in a variety of ways.  Add at least 2 to your diet every day.

1. Garlic
This high sulfur food activates liver enzymes that help your body flush out toxins. Garlic also holds high amounts of allicin and selenium, two natural compounds that aid in liver cleansing.
2. Grapefruit, Lemons & Limes
These sour fruits stimulate the production of bile which naturally carries toxins out of the liver.  Plus the high concentrations of both vitamin C and antioxidants protect the liver from the toxins it processes. 
3. Beets and Carrots
Rich in plant-flavonoids and beta-carotene, they stimulate and improve overall liver function.
4. Green & White Tea
Both are great sources of antioxidants known as catechins, proven to enhance the many functions of the liver.
5. Leafy Green Vegetables
Slightly bitter, great sources for sulfur and magnesium and extremely high in plant chlorophylls, greens are especially helpful in absorbing environmental toxins from the blood stream.  These include dandelion greens, beet greens, kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, arugula, spinach, endive and watercress.
6. Avocados
This nutrient-dense super-food is rich in glutathione building minerals to support the detoxification efforts of the liver plus fiber to assist in moving the toxins out of the body. 
7. Apples
Naturally rich in pectin and a variety of minerals, apples hold the chemical constituents necessary to cleanse toxins from the digestive tract, relieving some of the stress from the liver.
8. Whole Grains
Grains and seed grains such quinoa, millet, brown rice and amaranth, are rich in B-complex vitamins, which improve overall fat metabolization, while providing valueable fiber to support liver function and liver decongestion.
9. Cruciferous Vegetables
Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts support the liver by increasing the enzyme production in the liver. These natural enzymes help flush out carcinogens, and other toxins.
10. Walnuts
Rich in the amino acid arginine, walnuts aid the liver in detoxifying ammonia. Walnuts are also high in glutathione building nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids both of which support normal liver cleansing.
11. Turmeric, Cinnamon, Licorice & Milk Thistle
These herbs and spices assist liver enzymes in flushing out toxins.

With these foods in mind here are the smoothie of the day as well as some menu and drink suggestions!

I Love My Liver Smoothie
This smoothie is a power packed liver supporting drink!  Each ingredient is a powerful agent to either cleanse or support your liver. 
Yield – 2 servings

1/2 bunch kale leaves
1/4 bunch dandelion leaves
1 carrot
1 apple
1/2 small handful Italian flat leaf parsley leaves
1 frozen banana
1/2 avocado
1 teaspoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 scoop Garden of Life’s Raw Fiber
3 cups pH 9.5 ionized water

Blend all ingredients in a VitaMix or other powerful blender until smooth and creamy.  Serve immediately.

Watercress, Avocado and Ruby Red Grapefruit Salad
This is a fantastic salad!  The bitterness from the watercress combined with the tart flavor of the grapefruit are a perfect pairing to stimulate digestion and support the liver.  The basil and roasted garlic round out the flavors of this delicious beginning to any meal!
Serves 4

6 leaves butter or bibb lettuce
1 bunch watercress
2 avocados, seeded, peeled and sliced
2 cups ruby red grapefruit segments
1/3 cup grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon roasted garlic
2 tablespoons herbed olive oil
1 tablespoon basil ribbons
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

In a small bowl, mash garlic into a paste with salt and pepper.  Wisk grapefruit juice into garlic paste, add basil, then stream in olive oil while whisking constantly. 

In a salad bowl toss together watercress grapefruit segments and half of the dressing.  Line individual salad plates with lettuce.  Top with salad avocado slices and sprinkle with salad dressing.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

At the end of the day today you will be half way through your 10 day program!  I do hope you are trying some of the recipes and trying out some of the techniques.  Remember each day builds on the day before, so keep stretching, brushing, showering and massaging!  I can't wait to hear what you have to say about your journey!

Dr. P

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