Three options for improving liver function

THOUGH THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF A DETOX cleanse have been debated, you’d be hard-pressed to find a friend that hasn’t tried it recently, regardless. Think of it as routine maintenance—a quick tune-up to help your body run better—like a well-oiled machine. Albeit in this case, glowing skin, bright eyes, bolstered energy and a few hard-to-lose pounds shed may just make the deprivation worth it.

Ease in gently with a one-day cleanse, most of which give your digestive processes a rest by replacing regular meals with fresh juices. Steer clear of the pre-packaged stuff: Grab some real, raw roughage and juice it yourself, as preservatives and added sugars will be counterproductive.

“The most effective cleanses allow you to eat, not fast,” says Dr. Laurie Steelsmith, naturopathic physician, licensed acupuncturist and author of the newly released Great Sex, Naturally, which includes a 21-day cleanse. “When you cleanse, you need to give your body a support system of fruits, vegetables and supplements that help increase detoxification in the liver. Women who are pregnant or lactating, anyone who is under a great deal of stress or who has seizures or is undergoing chemotherapy should not cleanse.”

For a ONE-DAY CLEANSE, she recommends substituting three meals a day with smoothies made of fresh parsley, apple, banana, blueberries, carrot, a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds and a sugarless wheyor rice-based protein powder, such as Vega One protein powder.

“If you partied hardy, ate too many burgers and French fries and feel sluggish, you can give your liver a break and clean out toxins from the weekend by drinking this smoothie three times a day along with a simple diet of rice, vegetables and low-mercury seafood or lean chicken breast,” she notes.

The typical cleanse lasts three days, but you can tinker with the duration. According to Steelsmith, for a THREE-DAY to ONE-WEEK CLEANSE, you continue the smoothie and light protein, rice and vegetable diet, and add lemon water and vitamins and herbs that help your liver detoxify. She suggests Vita Lipotropic by Eclectic Institute.

After a few days, you will notice a sleeker abdomen, clearer skin and an energy boost. However, as you detox, you might get a headache, bad breath or your skin may break out from the toxins moving through your bloodstream.

“It takes three weeks to change habits and it takes time to change the gut flora so a 21to 28-day cleanse will have a significant impact on inflammation and take the load off your liver,” she says.

A MONTH-LONG CLEANSE should incorporate the same smoothie and eating regime as the shorter cleanse, but add the intestine-friendly bacteria found in probiotics, such as Theralac, as well as specific nutritional supplements.

“Take an anti-oxidant vitamin formula containing 1000 mg of vitamin C, 200 international units of vitamin E and 100 mg of alpha lipoic acid,” suggests Steelsmith. “For more vitality, take anti-bug herbs that rearrange the gut flora, either a 900 mg garlic pill or berberine, the active compound found in golden seal. A 200 mg pill works on the liver and kills yeast, parasites and bad bacteria. To help release toxins, it is good to sweat. Try a low-heat sauna and skin brushing.”

Cleanse Trends

The following programs are responsible for the recent trend of cleansing that seems to be sweeping the nation, from the insides out. Disclaimer: This publication doesn’t condone nor endorse any of the following without consultation with a doctor.

MASTER CLEANSE: This simplistic effort includes a thorough fasting, whereby the user attains necessary nutrients through the ongoing consumption of glasses filled with lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. The duration is an expected 10 days, however you can adjust for longer or shorter as needed.

QUANTUM WELLNESS CLEANSE: This 21-day effort is meant to drop extra lbs. and cut out non-essential items that its founders think some folk tend to overdue— caffeine, alcohol, gluten, meat and refi ned sugar. They also claim the precise time span is what it takes for your taste to “reset,” meaning, you’ll be inclined after the cleanse to eat and drink healthier.

GARDEN OF LIFE RAW CLEANSE: This supplement packet includes all-natural ingredients that combine to support your body’s natural digestive and detoxifi cation systems, engaging the entire digestive tract to boost its performance. The bonus here: You get to eat real food while taking the supplements with water.

GWYNETH PALTROW’S 7-DAY JUICE DETOX: A proponent of cleansing, the actress shares some insight from her wealth of experience with both cleansing, and having an arsenal of nutritionists and doctors at her disposal. Over seven days you’ll drink lots of water, tea, soups and smoothies, essentially (with the occasional salad mixed in). This is the perfect cleanse for anyone heading to that feature film audition!