SCIO Community Magazine
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Skip the Detox

Nutritionist Joanne Smith warns against unhealthy detox diets and recommends some liver-loving foods to cleanse the system from the inside out

Every year between New Year’s Eve and Easter, people tell me about the latest ‘detox’ they’re doing either as part of their New Year’s resolution or spring-time cleanse. While these all sound like quick, healthy ways to purify the body, increase energy and/or lose weight, most of these intense, short-term concoctions are actually detrimental to liver function, making you feel worse.

The liver has more than 500 functions. For example, it regulates glucose, produces and secretes bile, stores vitamins, converts thyroid hormones, purifies and clears harmful substances such as bacteria, as well as breaks down and detoxifies medications. This last function is particularly important after a SCI because many of us are suddenly consuming medications that we weren’t prior to injury such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, antibiotics and steroids. Consuming these medications on a long-term basis, while necessary to control infection, pain and inflammation, can place an extra burden on the liver. Therefore, it is essential that we consume the proper nutrients the liver needs to help ensure these medications are being properly detoxified and cleared from our system, and to help reduce the burden on the liver and ensure it is able to fulfill all of its other important functions. The trick to supporting liver function is to do it throughout the entire year with the foods you eat every single day – not through a seven-day liquid gimmick. These kinds of so called ‘cleanses’ are often too harsh for your liver, creating free radicals which, in excess, can damage cells (including liver cells) and leave you feeling tired, irritable and headachy.

This year, I ask and highly recommend that you skip the packaged detox and instead consume at least one of the following foods every day!


  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Asparagus
  • Mushrooms
  • Legumes/lentils
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Citrus fruits/fresh lemon water

Joanne Smith | Winter 2019

Joanne Smith, BA, BRT Dip., CNP is a long-time SCIO community member and owner of Fruitful Elements

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