With a new year and changes in season, it’s typical to come across countless articles and advertisements about detoxing and cleansing, from companies selling their powdery shakes and strangely-sweetened bars, to professionals recommending crazy fasts and liquid cleanses. While there are plenty of decent detoxing programs out there, the good news is that nature provides lots of help in this department on her own. Below are 10 detoxing superstars you can find in the produce section. Incorporate these often to jumpstart your body’s automatic and natural cleansing work.
Beets are awesome. They are full of nutrients and are a great source of vitamins B3, B6 and C, plus beta-carotene, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and iron. They assist our liver and gall bladder in breaking down toxins, and their fiber is great for digestion and elimination. Shredded raw beets are the best (eat some on top of a big pile of greens with a sprinkle of lemon juice -- those toxins won't even see it coming!).
Lemons jump-start digestion by stimulating the release of enzymes and Vitamin C helps convert toxins into a water-soluble form that can be easily eliminated from the body. Lemons also help stimulate the liver and purify our blood!
Apples also give us lots of fiber and nutrients and help stimulate bile production, which the liver uses to release toxins. The soluble fiber in apples, pectin, is helpful in removing heavy metals and food additives from our bodies. Be sure to eat only organic apples, as conventional apples are some of the most heavily-sprayed foods around.
What we want from green veggies is chlorophyll. Chlorophyll rids the body of environmental toxins, heavy metals, herbicides, and pesticides.
Make sure you get lots of green things in your diet -- leafy greens, broccoli, cucumbers, celery, sprouts, dandelion teas, chlorella supplements... whatevs. Aiding in detox, increasing oxygen content, and purifying the blood, greens are the essential building blocks of any healthy and vibrant diet. (Plus, they make you glow. I'm serious.)
Raw garlic is totally amazing. It has powerful antiviral, antiseptic and antibiotic properties. Garlic helps stimulate the liver into producing detoxification enzymes that help filter toxins from the digestive system. As I like to say, "go garlic or go home!" (Or, perhaps better yet, "go garlic or get sick!")
Sea veggies have crazy antioxidants that help alkalize the blood and strengthen our digestive tract. The alginic acid in sea veggies absorb toxins from this digestive tract. They also have the broadest range of minerals you can find in any food! If you're hesitant to get busy with seaweeds, buy dulse flakes and use in salads, soups, and stir-fries instead of salt.
Broccoli sprouts get their own big shout out! Broccoli sprouts contain important phytochemicals that aid in the detox processs at rates much higher than grown-up broccoli (which is still really, really good for you). These phytochemicals stimulate detoxification enzymes in the digestive tract. They are also extremely high in antioxidants!
Speaking of, you should all know by now that green tea is a great big source antioxidants, one of which are catechins. Catechins increase liver function, which we want. Plus, drinking green tea aids us in hydrating our bodies. Woot woot!
Artichokes increase bile production and both purify and protect the liver. They also have a mild diuretic effect on the kidneys, which aides in toxin removal once the liver breaks them down. Some studies have shown that artichokes may actually regenerate liver tissues (It is seriously all about the liver). They are also super duper high in fiber, which, as we know, helps us with elimination.
Another green food that gets a special mention is cilantro. Cilantro is aces for ridding the body of heavy metals (not the loud and fun kind; these jerks can lead to depression, cancer, hormone and thyroid problems, and lots more). The chemical compounds in cilantro actually bind to these toxins, loosening them from the blood, tissues, and organs and assisting with their elimination from the body. Rock on, cilantro. Rock on.