When you think about all the hormonal havoc that comes with being a woman, your mind probably drifts to frustrating mood swings, cramps, intense chocolate cravings, hot flashes and night sweats. What most of us don’t consider is the impact that such hormonal fluctuations have on the liver — but breakthrough science from Loyola University Chicago suggests we should: The researchers report that the wax and wane of estrogen and progesterone throughout our menstrual cycles forces the liver to work overtime to filter the hormones and bring them into balance.
Over the course of a lifetime, this takes a toll on the liver — by age 40, 90 percent of us are dealing with some degree of liver burnout. And as our hormones go haywire during perimenopause and menopause, the liver becomes even more overtaxed.
Complicating matters: Trying to diet away the pounds can further burden the liver. “The liver is responsible for breaking down and neutralizing toxins and scrubbing the blood clean of things that can hurt us,” explains Ian K. Smith, MD, the Harvard-trained host of The Rachael Ray Show. The problem, he says, is that many weight-loss plans encourage processed “diet” foods that are loaded with synthetic ingredients, refined carbohydrates, and toxic compounds that overload the organ.
To help women break free from this sneaky fat trap, Dr. Smith dug into the latest science. His research led him to the detox nutrient trio that works to recharge a sluggish liver, and he hit upon a blend that revitalized the organ to deliver fast, permanent weight loss.
The Detox Nutrient Wonder Trio
Dr. Smith determined that eating natural, unprocessed foods that contain three key nutrients will enhance the body’s removal of harmful toxins. The three essentials:
- Phytonutrients and bioavailable plant enzymes found in fresh produce work to boost the liver’s natural detox abilities fourfold.
- Fiber binds to liver-clogging toxins and excess hormones in the bloodstream and eliminates them from the body. “This reduces the toxin-filtering work the organ has to do, so it can devote more energy to its other metabolic jobs like fat burning,” notes Dr. Smith. Indeed, Brazilian researchers report fiber-loading the diet can improve liver function by 44 percent.
- Lean protein supplies amino acids that are used for liver repair, helping to reverse signs of an overworked liver by 48 percent and firing up metabolism by 30 percent.
Dr. Smith put the plan to the test — and the results were astounding. More than 1,000 people tried the superfood formula for 20 days and they reported benefits including lower cholesterol, more energy and better moods, plus they lost as many as 13 pounds every week! And published science backs up their success: Research by Stanford University scientists published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that people who cut back on highly processed foods while concentrating on eating plenty of the whole foods featured in Dr. Smith’s plan lose 266 percent more weight than those who focus on counting calories or limiting portion sizes.
The fat will keep falling off your frame even after the 20-day cleanse is over. How? “After 20 days, the body has freed itself from the toxic by-products of processed foods and chemical-laden drinks,” explains Dr. Smith. “You’ve hit the reset button, so everything — from your digestion to your metabolism — will function better.”
Success Made Easy
“A healthy detox means eating natural foods that do all the work for you,” says Dr. Smith. “If you stick to clean ingredients for just three weeks, they will deliver a tremendous amount of fuel for your body’s optimal performance.”
Start your days with a protein-rich meal. “Eat breakfast within 90 minutes of waking up—that will literally set you up to burn more fat and feel less hungry for the rest of the day,” says Dr. Smith, who advises including four ounces of protein to get the amino acids necessary to heal the liver. One delicious option: two eggs with two slices of turkey bacon. Or if you’re not a big breakfast person, opt for a smoothie or yogurt parfait made with one cup of protein-rich Greek yogurt.
For dinner, Dr. Smith recommends dining on a lighter meal, like fish with veggies or a large salad topped with chicken breast. Why that’s smart: Smaller meals require the liver to produce less digestive fluid — and that sets the organ up to dedicate all its energy to healing and burning fat while you sleep. The payoff: Research in the journal Obesity found that subjects who ate a larger lunch and a lighter dinner lost twice as much belly fat as those who ate a light lunch and a large dinner instead.
Prefer to stick with the clean-eating plan long-term? Dr. Smith says it is completely safe to remain on the diet for life or to revisit the detox nutrient trio plan whenever you feel run-down or notice excess pounds starting to creep onto your frame. “I want this plan to be something you have in your tool kit — something that you can pull out once or twice a year, whenever you feel like you need to hit the reset button.”
“I’m finally living my best life!”
As the cursor on her computer screen flashed, Monica Thomas thought about all the ways she had been hiding from the world: hiding in oversize clothing, hiding in the back room at her retail job and hiding from social invitations like the one in front of her. Finally, the 45-year-old from North Carolina took a deep breath and hit send, agreeing to meet a man for a first date. I don’t know what will happen, but I know this is a huge step.
Buoyed by the relationship that soon blossomed, Monica — who had been dieting since the age of 13 — made a vow to transform her health. She whittled down her food choices to only clean options and made sure to eat protein at breakfast every day. Before long, she found she craved the whole foods from the detox nutrient trio.
At the same time, Monica started walking and doing Zumba, and she received “loving accountability” from her local TOPS support group. There, she registered an average 3-pound loss every week as she shed 10 pant sizes. “I went 10 months without a gain,” she cheers. “Instead of hiding, I was becoming part of a community again.”
As the weight fell off, Monica saw dramatic improvements in her joint pain, blood pressure and cholesterol. As a bonus, she inspired her now-husband to lose 70 pounds. “Letting this man into my heart allowed me to start loving myself,” shares Monica, who is down 200 lbs. “And when I became compassionate with myself, I was able to flourish!”
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Detox Your Way (Buy on Amazon, $12.99).
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