5 Foods to Help Detoxify the Body

Board Certified Functional Nutritionist By Dana James, M.S., CNS, CDN
Board Certified Functional Nutritionist
Dana James is a Columbia University–educated nutritional therapist and founder of Food Coach NYC.
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Juice cleanses have their place – they are rich in phytonutrients, give the digestive system a rest and exclude dietary toxins.

However, they don’t eliminate toxins that are already present in the body. If you’ve been boozing it up, throwing back shots of espresso, drinking tap water, and juicing with non-organic produce, then it’s highly likely you have toxins stored in your tissues and fat cells.

If you want to really cleanse the body, you’ll need to liberate, deactivate and eliminate the accumulated toxins. To do that, antioxidants, amino acids and fiber are required.

Without the latter two (i.e. a juice fast), you’ll release the toxins but they will float around the body then go right back to their storage place, typically your fat cells.

If you find it challenging to lose fat, this may be why – you’re a little overloaded with old toxins.

To help reboot your body’s detox system and clear environmental and dietary toxins, I recommend you consume these five foods on a regular basis:


They're rich in inulin, a soluble fiber, which helps bind to toxins to enable them to be eliminated. Sunchokes are also a prebiotic, providing fuel for the beneficial bacteria to help restore GI balance.

How to use: Make a sunchoke carpaccio by thinly slicing the raw sunchokes, drizzling with olive oil and topping with freshly cut cilantro.


Broccoli Sprouts

They're rich in sulforaphane, a potent antioxidant that increases phase 2 liver detoxification and helps deactivate free radicals for several days. 1oz of broccoli sprouts contains as much sulforphane as 1.5 pounds of broccoli florets.

How to use: Add to a nori wrap filled with avocado, organic mixed greens, heirloom tomatoes and wild salmon; or toss into a green smoothie.

Vegan Protein Powder

Look for a chia, rice, pea and hemp seed blend with approximately 25g of protein per serving. The amino acids in the protein powder help up-regulate the liver’s clearance capacity. My two favorites vegan protein powders are Nu Medica – Total Vegan and Garden of Life - Raw Organic Protein.

How to use: Make a green smoothie with a vegan protein powder, unsweetened almond milk, kale, avocado and cinnamon.

Dandelion Greens

Their bitter taste helps stimulate the secretion of bile acid for fat emulsification enabling fat soluble toxins to be removed from the body.

How to use: Replace salad greens with dandelion greens. Simply drizzle with an olive oil and lemon juice dressing to decrease their bitterness.


Chia Seeds

Three tablespoons of chia seed provides 12 grams of soluble fiber. This fiber helps to transport and clear toxins from the body. Chia seed also contains 5 grams of protein which can be utilized by the liver to deactivate the toxins.

How to use: Make a chia seed pudding by soaking 3 tablespoons of chia seed in 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk for 15 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes. Add cinnamon, fresh raspberries and coconut flakes.

Your body detoxifies every nano-second of the day. You can go on a cleanse to reboot the detox process or help the liver out every day by including naturally cleansing foods such as the above. 

I recommend doing both – a more structured cleanse every season and daily incorporation of naturally detoxifying foods.

Dana James, M.S., CNS, CDN
Dana James, M.S., CNS, CDN
Dana James is a Columbia University–educated nutritional therapist and founder of Food Coach NYC....
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