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In the human body, the liver is ground zero for detoxification. You know all those fancy “detox” drinks and diets? They’re all designed to improve liver function.
Every foreign chemical we’re exposed to has to be processed through two phases of a complex system of enzymes in the liver in order to be “neutralized” and prepared for excretion. It pretty much goes without saying that a healthy, working liver is essential for a healthy body.
And the poor organ is overworked, burdened by the typical American diet combined with chemical overload. Between toxins in our environment, chemicals in our food, pollutants in our air, and medicines in our bathroom cabinets, our livers never seem to catch a break.
Artichokes can help. They’re one of the most “liver-friendly” foods on the planet. Artichoke heart extract is included in dozens of liver-support formulas, largely because it contains a powerful antioxidant and liver-helper that is the active ingredient in milk thistle, the No. 1 herb for liver support (see right). -Dr. Jonny
Notes from the Clean Food Coach
You can play with the basic ingredient combination to give this light, fresh dip your own special flare. Try adding more or less lemon and garlic, or adding fresh herbs or spices, (such as a tablespoon of fresh chopped dill, chives, or parsley), as well as chopped green onions, Sriracha, Parmesan cheese, pesto, sundried tomatoes, or other favorite ingredients.
Featured Nutrient: Milk Thistle
Milk thistle has been used as a liver tonic for more than 2,000 years. Its active ingredient is a group of flavonoids collectively known as silymarin
Research shows that silymarin helps protect the liver from toxins including acetaminophen (Tylenol), the leading cause of acute liver failure in the U.S. Silymarin helps repair damaged liver cells, and also protects new liver cells from toxins. Research shows that it can even improve liver function in patients with hepatitis C.
Note that the actual silymarin content of any milk thistle supplement will vary, depending on how the supplement has been “standardized.” For example, a 300-mg capsule of milk thistle standardized for 80 percent silymarin will provide 240 mg of silymarin (300 x .80). Dosesof 160-800 mg a day of silymarin have been used for treating liver problems and toxicity.