For the last couple of months I have been fascinated by the human liver. Did you know that the liver has more than five hundred functions in the body? “Your four-and-a-half pound liver manufactures 13,000 chemicals and has 2,000 enzyme systems, plus thousands of synergists that help the body function.” says Liz Lipski, PhD in her book Digestive Wellness.
Among the liver’s five hundred functions are:
- Detoxing, cleansing, and purifying blood
- Producing and excreting bile
- Activating enzymes
- Excreting bilirubin, cholesterol, hormones and drugs
- Storing glycogen, vitamins and minerals
- Synthesizing plasma proteins
- Producing aminoacids.
It is also one of the few organs that can regenerate itself. However, repetitive damage and severe toxins like pesticides, herbicides, preservatives, alcohol, and dyes can lead to liver failure, dysfunction, cancer, and ultimately even death. Once I realized how many bodily functions my poor liver has to orchestrate on a daily basis, I began looking into ways that I could relieve some of the stress it is constantly under.
After some research I discovered that there are quite a a number of various cleanses available to support the detoxification process of the liver. Some of them are more involved than others. There are ten day cleanses that include vegetable juice, water and vitamin C, there are sauna treatments, mud baths, or castor oil packs. However my favorite morning cleanse is very gentle, non-invasive and simple.
Every morning when I wake up I drink a large glass of water with half a lemon squeezed in it. This is before I brush my teeth, eat any breakfast, or get dressed. I take no ice with the water and make sure it is room temperature so that it does not cause a shock to my system.
What for? The liver flushes toxins out of our bloodstream while we are asleep- in fasting mode. Lemon water aids the flushing of the toxins and free radicals from the liver.
Natasha Campbell, MD, explains that “Everyday our bodies go through a 24 hour cycle of activity and rest, feeding and cleaning up (detoxifying). From 4 am till 10 am the body is in the cleaning up or in detoxification mode. […] Start the day with a glass of still mineral water or filtered water with a slice of lemon. It can be warm or cold according to personal preference.” Page 109
I have noticed that as consequence I am more awake, have a better digestive response to my food throughout the day, and am less likely to develop migraines or headaches.
This ritual is very important in the morning but save the other half of lemon for the glass of water you will have with dinner or lunch. It will help you digest better and absorb you meal slower which gives your body a steady flow of glucose rather than a spike.
In the winter time nothing is more delicious than a hot cup of tea with a lemon slice and some grated ginger. The combination of the two is especially helpful when dealing with cravings, sugar addictions, a sore throat, or an upset tummy.
You should really only use filtered water for this beverage. Fluoride and chlorine are toxins! If you don’t have a good water filter let the water sit for five or ten minutes on the counter, since some chemicals will dissipate when exposed to air.
Begin your morning with a lovely glass of lemon water and give thanks for your amazing liver!