I learned something important watching Martha Stewart this morning. Her guest, Dr Andrew Weil, discussed natural ways to detox or repair the liver, addressing a growing concern for cancer survivors: mitigating the body damage from cancer treatments.
Beyond chemotherapy or other medications, most survivors have repetitive body scans involving contrast agents that can be hard on the liver. But, what is one to do?
I think of my liver as the filter of my clothes dryer, working hard to keep the machine functional, but burdened by the process. And who cleans the lint from my liver?
Dr. Weil recommended simple additions to our diet of things we should be eating anyway-
We already knew about broccoli, but Weil says all cruciferous vegetables (essentially the cabbage family) break down hormones that cause certain cancers, such as breast and prostate. Beyond broccoli, this includes radishes, mustard greens and seeds, turnips, cauliflower, kale, watercress and all cabbages.
Citrus fruits have a crystalline substance known as limonoids, phytochemicals that help fight cancers of the mouth, colon, stomach, breast, lung and skin. The substance is derived mostly from the seeds, so Weil suggests hand-squeezing juice from fresh fruit to get maximum value.
Milk thistle (supplements or tea), according to Weil, can benefit anyone who has taken or takes certain medications that may damage the liver, such as oral contraceptives, oral diabetic drugs, blood pressure drugs, chemotherapy drugs, and some statins.
Japanese cuisine trifecta: Seaweed contains an acid that helps release toxic metals from the liver and intestines. Ginger has been used for centuries in Eastern medicine for liver repair. Add these to some Green Tea and your filter will be flushing away.
I like my liver. I think I’ll keep it.
Note: Annette, a survivor of ovarian and breast cancer, has dealt with numerous recurrences, yet lives in a state of unwavering optimism.
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