Organic Olivia logo

Why Apples Are an Overlooked Liver Detox Superfood

  • Published on: 29 March, 2017
  • Last update: 24 August, 2017

There are so many reasons why apples are a miracle food. I know I’ve talked about TCM’s (Traditional Chinese Medicine) concept of “liver stagnation” a zillion times, but it’s because most Americans have issues with a sluggish liver – how can we not in a world where powerful chemicals are a casual encounter?

Just the other day I went to buy toilet paper and there wasn’t a single option that didn’t have added fragrances and other hormone-disrupting, liver-burdening compounds. Healing your liver (and reducing the pathogen load in your gut/body) is the KEY to recovering from hormone imbalance, PMS, acne, emotional stagnation (mood swings), depression and so much more.

As you may know, I haven’t always been a big fan of 100% raw food. I’ve always resonated with TCM’s teachings of balance, adding in warming food for grounding and digestive fire. The other day a lightbulb went off in my head after I had a conversation with my friend @MedicalMedium. What happens when liver stagnation is unaddressed (and worse, aggravated) for a long period of time? HEAT builds up, leading to a more advanced condition called ‘Liver Fire.’

That’s where a lot of us are at now. Essentially this “heat” has nowhere to go since liver detoxification pathways are blocked, stagnant or exhausted. An excellent way to address this is to actually add in more raw food (especially apples) until the liver ‘cools off,’ before you put the grounding & building foods back in. This is similar to the “weed and feed” philosophy of our cleanse: remove the pathogenic gut bugs before repopulating with probiotics so that they have a clear slate in which to thrive and grow. MM & I discussed how we both love Chinese Medicine, but the philosophy must evolve and adapt to address modern toxic conditions.

Back to the concept of ‘liver stagnation’: if you want to get a full picture of what this feels like and why it happens, visit this article for a full explanation.

Long story short, an excess of stress, heavy/rich food, antibiotics, drugs, chemicals, plastics, anger, exogenous hormones (dairy), meat, etc ALL burden the liver at once and slow it down. This is a problem because the liver metabolizes, balances, and removes any excess of your hormones – meaning the liver is the first place to look if you have hormone imbalance, “hormonal acne”, depression/anxiety and more. When liver stagnation goes on for too long (think about being stuck in traffic for ages), “liver heat” (aggravation) builds up the condition graduates to “Liver Fire.” On top of this, TCM sees toxins and pathogens of all kinds as a form of “heat” that makes this situation worse.

A diet that helps to cool the Liver network avoids spicy and overly rich foods, as well as artificial additives. Raw foods or stir frying and steaming is recommended as opposed to roasting, baking or deep frying.

For this condition, the diet should consist of:

  • 50-60% lightly cooked and raw vegetables or fruit,
  • 30% complex carbohydrates,
  • 10-20% protein/fat with a focus on high quality sources.
  • Oily and fatty foods should be avoided ENTIRELY.

The Most Important Foods for Liver Stagnation + Liver Heat

apples, pears, watermelon, mint, asparagus, young plants such as sprouts, mung beans, tomato, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, raw honey, lemon, spinach, dandelion greens, celery, seaweed, kelp, lettuce, cucumber, mushroom, strawberries, fresh vegetables and fruits

Foods to Limit of Avoid

chilies, wasabi, coffee, mustard, horseradish, chocolate, lamb and red meats, shrimp, cheese, dairy, peanuts, lard, margarine, all fried foods, BBQ’d foods, cigarettes, alcohol, recreational stimulants, artificial preservatives, artificial colorings and all highly processed foods.

Why are Apples so Important?

Apples are important for several reasons.

1. THE FIBER: PECTIN – Remember how the liver’s job is to excrete excess hormones? Most Americans have an issue with ‘estrogen dominance,’ or excess serum estrogen. This is linked to breast cancer, and explains why TCM views liver stagnation as a beginning step and risk factor to hormone-related cancers. Estrogen is excreted by the liver into the intestines and eventually into the bowel. If you don’t get enough fiber DAILY, stools are sluggish and remain sitting in the bowel, where estrogen is reabsorbed into the blood stream over and over again eventually getting stored in fat cells.

2. THE ENERGETIC IMPACT OF THE APPLE – In TCM, apples are cool and sweet. They have a specific action on the liver and gallbladder meridians, stimulating the liver into action & allowing it to release “heat” (toxins, hormones, pathogens) to be bound into its powerful fiber.

3. LIVER DETOX POWER – One of the major sources of “heat” that overwhelms the liver would be heavy metals. The liver has a very difficult time detoxifying these substances, as large stores of zinc, cysteine, and glutathione are required. Pectin, a special fiber found in apples, has a unique ability to bind to heavy metals and slowly remove them via the intestinal tract without the risk of reabsorption.

4. DISSOLVES GALLSTONES AND SLUGGISH BILE – Another component of “liver stagnation” would be sluggish bile and the buildup of gallstones. The malic acid in apples helps to dissolve these cholesterol-packed gallstones so that your body can move them out of your system via the stool.

5. INFECTION FIGHTING POWER – As I mentioned, pathogens are also considered “heat” in TCM and attack the liver. In December 1978, Canadian scientists in the journal Applied & Environmental Microbiology demonstrated that fresh apple juice and sauce inhibits both the stomach flu and polo virus. They were also able to inhibit the bacterial biofilm that causes tooth decay!

Hope this gives you guys some motivation to indulge in the beautiful APPLE this week 🙂 Talk soon!

xox, Olivia

You Might Also Like:

Leave a Comment


Follow Organic Olivia

@ORGANIC_OLIVIA 220K followers
I just posted a new blog post & it’s one of those long personal ones like my post after Jamaica on shame & attitudes surrounding sex. This one is called “HOW THE PHYSICAL CAN MIRROR THE EMOTIONAL: MY SCAR STORY” and it veers into lots of emotional/spiritual talk (like mentioning the heart chakra and energetic blockages). If that’s not your thing, skip this one… but if it is, click the link in my bio to read because I felt it was important to share.❤️
Here’s an excerpt from the post… 👇🏼
Do you ever think about how emotions can manifest physically in our bodies, whether consciously or subconsciously? Some manifestations are more obvious: stomach “butterflies” when you’re worried or excited, the urge to empty your bladder when you’re scared, or your blood pressure skyrocketing from anger. And yet other manifestations are much more subtle and complex… starving our bodies of nourishment when we hate what we see in the mirror, or abusing a damaging vice (such as drugs) when emotional pain becomes too much to bear.
When I was 16, I did something very strange to my body. 🔸
I was always the “good girl” - an overachiever who wanted to be PERFECT physically, academically, and any other “ly” I could control. I never wanted tattoos or even a second ear piercing. And yet one day, I woke up and asked someone to pierce my chest — exactly where you see the scar above.
NONE of my friends could understand why I wanted or did this. I certainly couldn’t figure it out myself. Now 8 years later, it finally makes sense… but we need to go back a bit further first.
When I was 14, I got into a relationship with an older boy who made me feel extremely special. I thought that feeling was love, but I now understand it was the highs & lows of a game called control. This person hated when I wore certain clothing (even just shorts) to school because “other guys would look at me.” And of course, I was HIS and only his to look at - a bond of ownership that a vulnerable girl with a chaotic home saw as a privilege… READ THE REST OF THE POST @ THE LINK IN MY BIO 👆🏼❤️
SWIPE👉🏼 THANK YOU @FATHEADFRANCES! 😭💘 Forget diamonds… MAGNESIUM is a girl’s best friend. 💎 And yes, I bedazzled my own magnesium kit just for the purpose of this pun. #Dedication ✨ While you’re waiting on the launch of our topical cramp relief salve (which is meant to provide women with a safe self-care tool for immediate relief), give our anti-stress magnesium kit a try to get to the ROOT of the problem. The link is in my bio! 👆🏼
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, increasing magnesium is one effective way of treating menstrual cramps, as well as other types of menstrual-related pain including headaches and nausea. 🔥
👉🏼 Why? Because magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant! Proper levels are crucial for relaxing both blood vessels AND muscle tension/contractions (including painful menstrual cramping). 👉🏼 Magnesium controls the entry of calcium into each and every cell - this process happens every time a nerve cell fires. Without enough magnesium, too much calcium gets inside the cell resulting in cramping, blood vessel constriction, migraines and anxiety. (Magnesium is required for our muscles to relax, while calcium is needed for contraction).
👉🏼 Red blood cell magnesium is found to be lower in women who have PMS compared to those who don’t. The same was found in headache & migraine sufferers!
👉🏼 On top of all this, magnesium has major benefits for the edema, bloating, depression & mood swings that often accompany menstrual pain. Without going into too much detail, it helps regulate the HPA axis AND decreases something called ‘aldosterone’ which is a major cause of fluid retention.
✨TO USE MAGNESIUM AS A NATURAL THERAPY FOR CRAMPS: Take 350 mg daily for at least three days leading up to menstruation, continuing through your full cycle. For best results, take 100-300mg daily the rest of the month to replenish stores on a cellular level. ✔️350mg = 1 serving (2 tsp) of our CALM THE MIND magnesium tea, OR
✔️10 sprays of our CALM THE BODY magnesium spray 3x a day. I find it very helpful to spread out these 3 applications morning/noon/night, as a continual intake helps to consistently smooth tense muscle.❤️
😳😳 This is a still frame from the 12:23 mark of my Gua Sha video - all I did was add a black line down the center so you can see the difference between the two sides of my face! 👀The “before” side I didn’t touch with my tools yet, and the “after” side was from the 5-10 minute demo I did scraping in an upward/outwards motion. ✨ It’s like I got a face lift 😂 and my eye looks SO much more open. NO magical creams, just an ancient massage technique that anyone can do at home! That’s what happens when you release the tight fascia and muscles in your face that hold onto so much emotional tension and stress. This is AMAZING for perfectionists and anyone with anxiety who holds tension in their jaw. If you grind your teeth at night, try this right before bed and focus on your neck/jawline area. .
If you haven’t seen my video yet, I embedded it into the new blog post @ the link in my bio. 👆🏼👆🏼👆🏼 The blog post contains a written version of everything I said in the video, links to where I got my Gua Sha tools, AND at the end has a whole section dedicated to information about the lymphatic system. ✔️ Why? Because this Gua Sha scraping massage technique is meant to move any stagnant lymphatic fluid in the face that contributes to puffiness, premature aging and blemishes. .
🚨It goes much deeper than beauty, though - did you know that your lymphatic system is twice as big as your circulatory system? (It has a whole network of lymph vessels just like your blood vessels). Yet while your circulatory system has your heart to pump and clean your blood automatically, your lymph has NO built-in pump whatsoever. Lymph only moves manually through exercise, massage, and diet; which is why it’s so easy to get backed up with our modern lifestyle. 🍕 In the blog post I talk about symptoms of a sluggish lymphatic system, the 6 most common causes, and 7 solutions you can implement today to get things moving. 🌀🔥
When you learn about aphrodisiac herbs in class on Valentine's Day


Join the Organic Olivia Community