Summer is almost upon us, and unless you live in the great white north where you might be starting to think you’ll never see the sun again, everybody is beginning to plan for pool parties, beach house weekend getaways, and staring anxiously at that bottom dresser drawer where last year’s swimsuit has been residing over the long, cold, holiday-treats and cheats-filled winter. Will it fit, and if you can wriggle into it, what will that first adventure be like? Will you feel like a model strolling down the runway, or that old video of the purple hippo dancing to “the thong song” ? Oh dear, I think I just totally dated myself with this oldie! So what extra steps can you take to make sure you have a swimsuit ready body?
When you start thinking about how to get ready for those pool parties, I have two words for you… “spring cleaning.” I’m talking about liver detox, people! As I wrote about in my article on why fat keeps coming back, if the body has stored toxins in the fat, it will fight like hell to keep that fat locked safely away so it doesn’t enter into circulation where it can do serious damage to muscle and organs. On top of that, a sluggish liver backed up with all the environmental pollutants we are constantly exposed to, damaging toxic foods and added strain on the liver through excess alcohol consumption can be a prime cause of stubborn fat that you just can’t shake off. These issues can be made even worse if you have a genetic abnormality such as MTHFR variations which decrease the body’s ability to detoxify and clear out free radicals properly.
I believe food is our first line of defense for a healthy liver, and there are many nourishing foods that are great to help support the body’s natural detoxification pathways.
My top 5 picks for a swimsuit ready body are:
- Beets: The many phyto-nutrients in beets activate detoxification enzymes in the body and help supporting phase 2 of the body’s detoxification process. They are also rich in folate, which plays a key role in prevention of homocysteine build-up. And no, they don’t taste like dirt if you prepare them well. Try my summertime soup beet and leek soup with goat gouda for a tasty detox treat!
- Lemon: Fresh squeezed lemon juice in your morning water is a great way to promote detoxification enzymes, thin bile so it can be expelled easily, and boost your Vitamin C which is necessary for the creation of glutathione, the body’s master antioxidant.
- Artichokes: A compound in this tasty green prickle bulb called cynarine is known to increase bile flow, helping the body digest fats efficiently and take the burden off the liver.  It’s so good at supporting and protecting the liver from damage it’s being studied for the potential to protect patients from the toxic liver-blasting effects of chemotherapy.  Not too mention they are amazing dipped in lemon butter sauce!
- Broccoli: This most hated of childhood side dishes contains phyto-nutrients responsible for creating some of the world’s most potent enzymes necessary for phase II detoxification.  It’s also really a tasty treat if you smother them in a river of grass-fed butter (which allows those glorious fat-soluble vitamins a necessary transport to actually get absorbed into your system).
- Apples: Apple pectin is well known for binding to and flushing out heavy metals, which are super damaging to the liver.  Apples also have several phyto-chemicals that are superstars when it comes to protecting the liver from oxidative damage (and may even fight off liver and colon cancer!) 
Food is clearly powerful medicine, but sometimes the body is in need of extra assistance. If you’ve been dieting and exercising your brains out and all you have to show for it is some pulled muscles and a cranky/hungry disposition, you may consider looking into your oxidative stress level and liver detox capacity with functional diagnostic nutrition testing (FDN). You may require additional digestive and detoxification support reset your body’s natural set points and assist in the safe detoxification of chemicals that have been weighing you down (literally!).
Medical disclaimer: The information and references in this website are intended solely for the general information for the reader. It is not to be used to diagnose health problems or for treatment purposes. It is not a substitute for medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. Please consult your health care provider for any advice on medications.
Photo credit: Grand Velas Riviera Maya / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)