By Tanya McCausland of Home Cooked Healing

Your liver is like the Energizer bunny…. it just keeps going and going and going, flushing the toxins and poisonous chemicals from your body. It’s the largest organ in your body, making it the biggest fat-burning organ, too. Needless to say, it’s important to give your liver some serious love!

Excess sugar, dairy, fat, salt, alcohol, preservatives, hormones, fertilizers and pesticides can cause the liver to produce extra fat, which is then stored – yikes! This extra fat then slows down your metabolism – double yikes! Signs of a sluggish and burdened liver are weight gain, fatigue, poor memory, mood swings, digestive problems, acne and blood sugar imbalances to name a few.

It’s not hard to understand why cleanses are so popular. And doing a safe three to 10 day detox can certainly help give your liver a little break and jump start. However, for most people, the best way to a healthier liver is to eat things on a daily basis that help naturally detoxify it. Here are my favorite liver-cleansing foods to add to your diet ASAP:

– Arugula
– Radishes
– Cabbage
– Lemon
– Beets
– Onions and Garlic

One of the easiest ways to get many of these foods at once is with a big hearty salad. Try this Zesty Arugula and Purple Cabbage Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette – I promise you and your liver will love it!

Zesty Arugula and Purple Cabbage Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

½ small red onion, sliced
2 handfuls baby arugula
Half head of purple cabbage, shredded
Small red pepper
3-4 Tbsp pumpkin seeds

For the dressing:
Juice of one lemon
3 Tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp honey or real maple syrup
1 tsp Dijon mustard & a pinch of salt

1. Soak the onion in a small bowl with cold water for at least 5 minutes (this will remove some of the strong onion flavor)
2. In the meantime whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Set aside.
3. Then, combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
4. Coat with half of the dressing and toss until well combined. Taste and add more dressing if necessary. Enjoy!

About this Contributor: Tanya McCausland is a Health and Culinary Coach in Alameda, CA She inspires, encourages and motivates her clients to create a life of health and balance through delicious food and simple lifestyle changes. She believes that our kitchens have the ability to heal – we just have to stock our pantries with real food and not be afraid to wield a wooden spoon every so often!