What does it really mean to "detox"?

Libby Limon BSc NT mBANT / Dec 30, 2016

‘Detoxing’ has been a buzzword for a number of years….We detoxify potentially harmful substances that we ingest, such as environment chemicals, pollution, medications, even foods such as caffeine and alcohol, as well as endogenous substances that we produce as metabolic by-products by a number of processes and avenues. In truth, our bodies are busy detoxing all the time…. If we weren't then we wouldn’t last long.


Detoxification processes happen in kidneys, liver, bowel, and even via the skin. Your liver especially is a powerhouse of detoxification. Going on a ‘detox’ generally means that you lighten the liver load, removing things from your diet that you need to detoxify, at the same time as increasing the nutrients that your body needs to do its job. Ideally to benefit long term, adjusting your lifestyle as much as you can on a daily basis is the best way to increase your feeling of wellbeing and help protect against future disease.

Here is VITL’s guide to supporting your liver - giving it the nutrients that it needs to do its job as best it can.

5 Fantastic Liver Supporting Foods

Green Tea

Scientific researchers suggest that green tea offers a two-fold benefit to the liver. Firstly, green tea protects the liver’s cells and at the same time, boosts the immune system (1). The antioxidants in green tea have been proven to protect the liver from the damaging effects of alcohol, cigarette smoking, and other toxins. Moreover, one particular study reported that green tea may help prevent the growth of cancer cells in the liver and in many other organs of the body

Red berries

Red berries are super high in plant antioxidants. A Finnish trial in 2010 found that regular consumption could help prevent liver disease (2). Try to choose organic varieties because while these little nutritional gems pack an antioxidant punch they often come high in the ‘dirty food lists’ (high in pesticides/herbicides) (3).

Green Leafy Vegetables

They contain plant (phyto) nutrients called glucosinolates that your liver loves to use to detoxify (4). As a result, plenty of spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale rocket etc. are essential to this list. Best eaten raw or lightly steamed.

Onions and garlic

Are what are known as sulphur containing vegetables. Sulphur is a key ingredient for some of the main liver enzymes, as a result, these store cupboard basics help your liver no end.


This Indian spice both protects the liver by being an anti-inflammatory and helps it do its job by enhancing liver enzyme production (5) and being a powerful antioxidant (6). Its absorption into the body is greatly increased by consuming with black pepper and fats.

So if you are thinking about ‘detoxing’, maybe avoid faddy fasts… instead, love your liver by cooking yourself up a warming veggie curry with lots of turmeric, onions, garlic and green veggies?!

Are you considering a detox? Do you think your liver deserves a little extra TLC this January? Click here to take our FREE consultation and we will formulate a liver-loving pack of personalised vitamins just for you!

Also available via our FREE app here!

1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2855614/

2. http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v64/n6/full/ejcn201027a.html

3. https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty_dozen_list.php

4. https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/abstract/10.1055/s-0033-1352132

5. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01635589209514174

6. http://www.eprints.iicb.res.in/1061/1/25_CS_2004.pdf