Learn to love bitter greens
“Certain times of the year are more suitable for cleansing, specifically to support your liver,” says Josh Axe, DNM, CNS, DC, founder of Ancient Nutrition and DrAxe.com. “Early spring is the best time, in March and April, when in traditional Chinese medicine, the liver is considered its strongest.” To properly help cleanse the liver, says Axe, you should look for a balance of flavors in your diet—salty, sweet, sour, and bitter. “Most people get enough sweet and salt in their diets but not near enough bitter and sour,” says Axe. Sharper tasting detox foods like arugula, kale, watercress, mustard, and dandelion greens, are bitter leafy greens that pack a nutritional bang along with their detoxifying effects.
Drink your lemons
Start your day by filling a pitcher with a few squeezed lemons, ice, and water—just like at the spa! Drinking lemon water gives you extra vitamin C—plus potassium, magnesium, and copper—and helps you absorb more nutrients like iron and calcium from the other foods you eat. According to Dr. Axe, better nutrient absorption often means less bloating. Lemon water stimulates the liver and the flushing out of toxins because it acts as a mild diuretic, which can also help you shed excess water weight. Don’t miss these 15 detox foods that nutritionists recommend.
There are herbs and supplements that help detox the liver, such as milk thistle, the ancient herb bupleurum (a revered natural remedy in Chinese medicine), and dandelion root. Says Dr. Axe: “Bupleurum has been shown to improve general liver function and detoxification, as well as prevent certain cancers in women, and treat depression related to PMS and menopause.” Make a tea with the herbs, adding a slice of sour lemon and fresh lemon balm or mint for a balance of flavors extra feel-good phytochemicals.