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Worried about your holiday diet?
Many of us have liver and gallbladder concerns, as we are exposed to pesticides and other toxicants in our foods and environments. One of my favorite ways to support liver and gallbladder detox is with a daily apple-beet-celery juice, aka ABC Juice!
For years, I have been prescribing what I call “ABC Juice” to support liver and gallbladder function—but the benefits go far beyond healthy digestion.
ABC Juice has natural constituents that support liver and gallbladder function, while also turning on stomach acid production and supporting a healthy intestinal lining, microbiome, and regular and complete elimination. Plus, the ingredients in this juice have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties and have been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
How ABC Juice helps with liver function and digestion:
ABC Juice, a combination of apple, beet, and celery juice, contains cholagogues that increase the flow of bile from the liver and gallbladder into the small intestine. Better bile flow supports better bowel function since bile is the upstream regulator of stool. Poor bile flow will result in poor, incomplete, or irregular bowel function.
Bile is also a natural buffer for the acid produced in your stomach. If your liver is congested with bile sludge, a thick, viscous version of bile, it can result in decreased bile flow—a common problem—and your stomach will respond in one of two ways:
1. Hold on to stomach acid too long while waiting for bile to trigger the release of the stomach’s contents. This can cause occasional heartburn and indigestion.
2. Slowly dial down acid production because bile isn’t present to neutralize the acid. This lack of stomach acid can lead to a host of food intolerances. You need strong stomach acid to break down the harder-to-digest proteins in wheat, dairy, grains, nuts, beans, and meats.
Bile also acts as a gentle but effective scrub for the intestinal villi, or vascular projections, that are working diligently to maintain a healthy environment for your microbiome and a strong protective barrier for the intestinal lining. Think of bile as a Pac-Man gobbling up toxic fats in your liver and intestinal tract. With adequate fiber in your diet, bile will attach to intestinal fiber and be escorted to the toilet with a healthy bowel movement.
It should be noted that in 91 percent of the population, bile ducts and pancreatic ducts join together before they enter the small intestine. Bile sludge can therefore slow the delivery of both bile and pancreatic digestive enzymes to the small intestine. Many people use digestive enzymes because they were told that, as they age, their bodies produce less of this critical substance, but in most cases, bile sludge, not age, slows the natural flow of digestive enzymes. While supplemental digestive enzymes won’t hurt you, they are not addressing the underlying digestive issue that can lead to many more chronic health concerns down the road.
In Ayurveda, we attempt to address the cause of a health concern rather than just applying a Band-Aid with a digestive enzyme or other supplemental pill or powder. That’s where ABC Juice comes in, to help with liver function and digestion. But that is only a small part of the ABC Juice resume.
Read below to discover all of the benefits associated with ABC Juice ingredients.
A is for Apple
In addition to being a powerful cholagogue for healthy liver and gallbladder function, apples (Malus domestica) have also been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, asthma, diabetes, and some cancers. In the laboratory, apples have been found to have very strong antioxidant activity, which supports healthy cell proliferation, decreases lipid oxidation, and lowers cholesterol.
Apples contain a variety of phytochemicals, including quercetin, catechin, and phloridzin (for healthy blood sugar), as well as chlorogenic acid (the most potent antioxidant in coffee). Studies also suggest some of the more potent and protective antioxidants are in the skin of the apple, so be sure to wash and eat the skin.
B is for Beets
There has been growing interest in red beetroot (Beta vulgaris rubra) as a functional food. In addition to being a classic cholagogue supporting liver function, beetroot provides a natural means of increasing the panacea molecule nitric oxide (NO), most classically recognized for its antiviral properties, and as a way to support healthy blood pressure and a healthy endothelial (arterial) lining. Beets also contain betalain pigments, which display potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and chemo-preventive activity, while supporting cognitive function.
C is for Celery
Celery (Apium graveolens L) has become popular recently as a powerful alkalizing agent. But its benefits go far beyond that. It is of course a powerful cholagogue and also has been found to support healthy glucose, blood lipids, and blood pressure, all of which can strengthen your heart. Experimental studies show celery has antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, while its essential oils have antibacterial effects. Celery is also rich in antioxidant compounds, including caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid, ferulic acid, apigenin, luteolin, tannin, saponin, and kaempferol, which have been shown to remove free radicals.
ABC Juice Recipes:
Blending: Wash and cut a small red beet, one small apple (or half a large apple), and one celery stick. Put in blender with ½-1 cup of water and blend to desired thickness. Drink 6-8 ounces each morning with breakfast or lunch.
Vata-pacifying soup option: Raw foods can be hard to digest and aggravating for vata body types, especially during colder winter months. If raw isn’t for you, steam the above ingredients in a small amount of water. Then blend the apple, beet, and celery with steamed water into a soup and consume warm as part of your breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Juicing: Run the same ingredients above through a juicer and drink 6-8 ounces of ABC juice each morning with breakfast or lunch.
In today’s toxic world, it is so important to keep your liver and gallbladder supported. Have you tried our ABC Juice? What have you found?