I’ve done quite a few blog and Facebook posts about my juices over the last couple of years and I’ve noticed I normally promote the brightly coloured ones the most – the purples, oranges and pinks… I hardly ever shout about the green juices though… and they’re the most important! Well for me anyway. And why? Because I’m on a mission to heal my gut and clean my liver. The short answer to this blog post title is that green juices enhance digestive functions and clean the liver. The long answer as to HOW this happens and WHY its important is below. I urge you to read and make yourself aware!
I can better explain by giving you the real live example of me… When I was 16 years old (yes me above trying to be scary!), I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis – an inflammatory bowel and autoimmune disease affecting the large intestine I’d probably had for a while. I was also diagnosed with another autoimmune disease at the age of 27 – Iritis – systemic inflammation affecting the iris of the eye (I’d got it in both eyes!). You see, these things don’t just spring into your life from nowhere, despite what the doctors may tell you… the pathophysiology (disease process) of these diseases often take years to develop, many of them since we were as little as newborns!
Being a naturopathic nutrition student and being taught the naturopathic and functional medicine approach to health and wellbeing I look at all the things around the person to determine what the potential causes of disease or ill health could be. This includes looking at the antecedents – the things that make the person pre-disposed to ill heath – such as family history, the way they were born, any childhood illnesses, whether the person was breast fed or not. I also look at the triggers – things that could be triggering any ill health, symptoms or so on – things like stress, poor diet, deficiencies, lack of sleep etc. And finally I look at the mediators – the aspects of the person’s life or situation that are driving the health condition on – for example having poor emotional health, not getting enough sleep, not eating enough protein and so on.
We also do functional tests as well as use our observation and clinical examination to determine the inner workings of the person – cellar function, how all the systems are working together, which are under stress, whether detoxification and elimination processes are working properly, if the immune system is responding and how and a whole raft of other processes. Nothing is ever in isolation and we need to identify all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle before we can start putting it together.
So when I applied that model to looking at myself – I realised that if I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease when I was 16 years old – my immune system must have been under stress years before that! Autoimmune diseases are formed when the immune cells malfunction and can no longer determine between an actual invader and a normal tissue of the body. This can be in part because some of the proteins in some of the things we eat, such as gluten are similar to our own proteins, that our bodies become confused and attack them. But why would our body attack them in the first place? Because when our digestive system gets damaged over time, which happens due to a whole range of reasons I’ll explore in a later post – our stomach acid, digestive enzymes, gut bacteria, intrinsic factor, B12 and bile can all be lowered which leads to our food passing through our intestines and into our blood stream undigested.
And when we have little or no good protective bacteria (probiotics) lining the gut wall, the undigested food, gluten and other abrasive agents damage our gut lining (epithelial) cells, pulling them apart (the tight junctions bound by proteins), allowing this undigested food to enter into the blood stream. This is called leaky gut or gut lining permeability. The immune system sees these particles as invaders and sends out immune cells to destroy them. Over time, it’s the overactivity of these immune cells that lead to autoimmune disease as the immune cells begin to falter – not recognising the difference between the bad cell, such as gluten, or the good cell – our gut lining cells. With Ulcerative Colitis – the disease I had – my immune cells attacked my gut lining to the point ulcers were created and the whole thing was destroyed. Subsequently I had the whole thing removed in a procedure when I was 18 years old.
This is why people tend to talk about the inextricable link between the immune system and the gut. 70% if not more, of our immune cells are in our digestive tract – in the GALT – gut associated lymphoid tissue – in the gut lining. They are also quickly mobilised when anything we eat includes toxins, bad bacteria, and other pathogens.
So going back to the idea that I had probably had this disease for while – hopefully you can see how this could be… And if that is true then, I have at least 15 years of a damaged gut to heal! Healing the gut can stop the immune reactions leading to autoimmune flare ups and can in the long term sort out your immune system.
I’ve only partially healed my gut. I’ve been able to reduce my toxic load so much that those unwanted, malfunctioning immune reactions have pretty much ceased – I haven’t had any autoimmune reactions or relapses for almost 4 years! But I’ve also modulated by immune system as well – this has helped to re-teach it how to function properly. I’ve done this by correcting my diet through an anti-inflammatory regime – through learning and practicing reiki and other self-healing techniques including yoga – and by medicating myself with immune modulating natural agents such as medicinal mushrooms (beta-gulcans like reishi, ganoderma, maitake and shiitake mushrooms), bosweillia (frankincense) and potent antioxidants (too many to list!).
But I’ve still got a long way to go to properly heal my damaged gut lining and restore my gut bacteria. How do I know this? Well, I have a few food intolerance’s (like to gluten and starch – I get bloating, gas and swelling of the gut) and allergic reactions (to tomatoes and aubergine – I get a runny nose) which I know are happening because these undigested food particles have ended up in my gut and my immune cells fight them off causing the reactions.
And why does this apply to you? Well chances are, like many people, you have some gastrointestinal issues or liver detoxification issues. And if you don’t then you may just want to be aware so that you can prevent these disease processes from taking hold in you. The honest truth is that in so many people I see in clinics and talk to in life I can see these issues.
I believe most chronic illness start in the gut. When the gut is compromised, the immune system becomes too and then its just not strong enough or functioning properly to send out the right immune response. And alongside that if the liver is not clear – then it can’t help the gut do it’s job. Then disease can take hold.
Now where does the liver come into all this?
Our modern lifestyles and toxic environments have ‘clogged’ up our livers from the time we were born to the time we figured it out and started doing something significant about it!
You see, the liver is like a filter. When you eat food, the nutrients pass into the blood stream via the intestinal lining. That blood then goes straight to the liver – called the hepatic 1st pass. This blood is ‘cleaned’ by the liver, filtering out any toxins and so on. But at the same time, the liver is used by other parts of the body. For example, once hormones like oestrogen are used up – they go to the liver to be metabolised (broken down).
Once the toxins as well as the hormones are metabolised, or ‘dealt with’ they get sent back into the gut to be eliminated by feaces. Now, if your gut is not working properly – for example its sluggish – then those toxins could potentially be reabsorbed back into the blood stream again and keep circulating! In actual fact – this process is involved in the pathophysiology of hormone related health conditions – like polycystic ovaries and breast cancer!
The liver also needs to be nice and clear and functioning well in order to get rid of any toxins that end up in our digestive tract – because often when we have damaged, or impaired gut lining – these toxins easily end up in the liver.
And this also applies to you because we live, work and play in environments full of toxins – from pesticides, plastics, in the water (fluoride, chlorine and heavy metals), medications, in the air, dust and so on. We need to be constantly guiding these toxins out of our body, ready for another day of bombardment.
SO! Coming back to the original plan behind this post – to demonstrate why green juices are so important to the gut and liver! And hopefully I have done a good job of it by now!
Its important to note that the greens I use in my juices are carefully selected for their properties and functions. Lets take the juice featured in this post – the recepie is below divided into gut and liver:
Gut: green cabbage (contains l-glutamine which helps rebuild damaged gut lining cells), apple (contains antioxidants and quercetin to fight inflammation in the gut caused by toxins), watercress (stimulates hydrochloric acid (stomach acid) and digestive enzymes to be secreted), mint (relaxes muscular lining of the stomach and intestines and promotes digestion), ginger (a potent anti-inflammatory agent), fennel (absorbs water in the digestive system, and helps eliminate carcinogens from the colon also , lemon (antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-supporting).
Liver: fennel, pear, mint, corriander (cilantro), lettuce, spring greens, lemon, ginger (all reduces liver inflammation and supports phase 1 and 2 liver detoxification), courgette (rich in sodium which is needed for proper liver function), lemon (liver cleansing), apple (regulates liver function and cleanses).
As you can see – these nutrients in these fruits and vegetables actually talk to the molecules in our body and tell them what to do! It’s truly astonishing! Some of the nutrients also work by talking to the DNA in our cell’s nucleus!
In addition, some of these nutrients such as ginger and fennel are powerful agents against cancer and autoimmune disease occurrence, possibly due to a biological mechanism that shuts down or prevents the activation of NF-kappaB, a gene-altering, inflammation-triggering molecule. WOWZA! No wonder green juices are a staple in natural cancer support!
Add in these therapeutic, clean, organic, POTENT inflammation and cancer fighting as well as super detoxing essential oils – nutrients in a concentrated form – and buy them from my online hop here – ZenGest blend**, ginger**, peppermint**, frankincense**, basil, rosemary*, On Guard blend**, oregano, helichrysum, cilantro**, fennel, thyme, wild orange, eucalyptus, clary sage*. My faves are noted with a * and super faves with a **.
For maximum juice potency – add in a good probiotic powder – like my favourite Bioachiophilus from Biocare, or a teaspoon of my favourite food for good bacteria – inulin (made from chicory root). These two products can be used separately or together and help create an abundance of good bacteria in the gut and body which ultimately helps clear out toxins and repair cells among other things! The inulin also helps with clearing out the bowels so take 2 or a little more for a good clear out!
As I mentioned, I’m slowly healing my gut. The last thing I healed was my lowered digestive enzyme activity and I did this 1 month after I started juicing! I no longer had to take my digestive enzyme supplements – so I kicked them to the curb! And thank god – your body becomes really reliant on this things and they are really hard to wean yourself off.
There are other ingredients that can support – watch out for future blog posts about liver detoxification and gut health!
I’m also making sure that I’m supporting normal hormone function (metabolism and detoxification) by keeping my gut and liver in good condition – which I need to do due a hormonal problem (involving the adrenals, thyroid and sex hormones) I developed 2 years ago. More to come on this in posts to come!
Juices are an easy, quick and easily-absorbable way of getting in important nutrients to places we need them. And if like me, you have problems with absorbing nutrients, then juicing solves that! You could easily drink 3 of these a day but you probably couldn’t eat the equivalent of whole foods! As long as you get enough fibre in your diet – its ok that we get rid of this in the juicing process. Plus theres loads of things you can do with the pulp, like add it to soups and make crackers.
So we come to the end of what I feel has been an educational post. If you’ve read up till this point – I salute you! it’s not easy to take control of your health and make those big changes that can lead to major life shifts… but if you do take the time, starting with these life-nourishing juices, you’ll see, feel and hear fantastic results!
Much love to you all!
PS – Check out my top tips to juicing!
You can stimulate immune health in other ways
Always start with the gut! If we are constipated regularly, we wont be able to eliminate toxins and they will just recirculate, impacting on the immune system! No, no, no, that totally defeats the object. Read about optimising gut health here.
Incorporate an anti-inflammatory diet to get in high vibe nutrients that stimulate the immune system. Read my article about it and get the list of foods here. And also find out how and why certain foods are good for detoxification here!
Improve & optimise sleep hygiene which helps to produce more melatonin which is the most powerful antioxidant our body. Read more about how to do this in my article on sleep hygiene here.
Use essential oils like the ginger oil mentioned in the article which give the body potent, high quality, therapeutic doses of many of the nutrients discussed above. Other amazing essential oils for the immune and detoxification system are: rosemary, hemp, thyme, frankincense (boswellia), chamomile, clove, oregano, grapefruit, fennel, helichrysum, juniper berry, lavender, melaleuca, rosemary, wild orange.
We love Biocare! They have the best, natural, toxin free supplements around and an amazing clinical team on hand if you want advice on products. For example, their probiotics are some of the best on the market! Visit their online shop and resources at www.biocare.co.uk
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