A New Way To Detox: Eat To Support 6 Organs Of Elimination
Did you know there are six organs that support your body's natural detoxification process? These include the liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph, colon, and skin.
Each organ works to eliminate excess waste that's produced by natural metabolic processes, otherwise known as toxins.
Here's a guide on how to support each of your detox organs with specific nutrients from food.
This powerful organ cleans the blood and transforms harmful chemicals for eventual excretion.
It reigns over all toxins of the body by cleaning and filtering every ounce of blood and metabolizing all chemical substances, even the good kinds.
Bitter foods and foods that promote the body's production of internal antioxidants, especially glutathione, are best for liver detoxification.
Foods and beverages that support liver detoxification include:*
- Salad greens
- Lemon juice
- Green apples
Bitter herbs that support liver detoxification include:
- Yellow dock
The role of your two kidneys is to flush waste and toxins from your blood by turning it into urine after it's cleaned by the liver.
The kidneys flush water-soluble waste in response to water and electrolyte concentrations.
To support detoxification, drink at least 2 quarts of water daily. You can also consume greens, herbs, and teas, which are weak diuretics that promote kidney detox without throwing your electrolytes out of balance.
Some foods flush the kidneys and promote healthy blood pressure, and others act as renal tonics to flush extra toxins and prevent bacteria buildup.
Foods and beverages that support kidney flush:
- Green tea
Renal tonic foods:
- Juniper berry
Your lungs are responsible for filtering out carbon dioxide, fumes, molds, allergens, and airborne toxins.
You can naturally detox your lungs by simply breathing and exhaling deeply. Sleeping soundly without sleep apnea or excessive snoring also promotes lung detox.
Use a Himalayan salt pipe1 or go to the beach to breathe in salt air in order to clean the lungs further2.
Foods with spicy/pungent flavors and slippery/soothing textures are best for lung detoxification.
Foods that support the lungs include:
- Black seed
The lymphatic system parallels your red blood circulation and removes byproducts of infection3, as well as bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens from circulation.
Lymph nodes, found in chains throughout the brain and body, can become tender and swollen when an infection is being cleared.
The lymph system requires movement in order to function well.
You can stimulate lymph flow with cardiovascular exercise4, sweating, and breast massage.
Encourage lymph movement by tapping on your thymus gland (directly behind your sternum) 10 times.
You can also promote lymph detox by gently using a natural bristle brush or sea sponge and brushing your skin in a circular motion from your feet up to your heart, from your neck and fingertips up to your heart.
Foods that support lymph detoxification are:
- Lemon, lime, and grapefruit
Adaptogenic herbs that move lymph:
The large intestine, or the colon's, job is to eliminate solid waste so that it's not recirculated into the bloodstream.
It also houses protective bacteria that make up the body's ecosystem, called the microbiome.
In order for the colon to detox, it needs to get rid of old stool; unfortunately, many Americans struggle with constipation5.
You can help detox the colon by increasing your intake of soluble and insoluble fibers, water, edible bentonite clay, probiotics, and gentle herbal or salt laxatives. Consult your health provider to determine the best strategy for you.
Foods that support colon detoxification include:
- Chia seeds
- Lactofermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, apple cider vinegar)
- Root vegetables like sweet potatoes, beets, turnips
- Onion and garlic
Fiber and herb sources that move the colon:
The skin's role in detoxification includes sweating out toxins.
Like your lungs, the skin can absorb waste and then release it through salty sweat with electrolytes, as well as excess heat.
We don't know all the waste products that are absorbed or released from the skin. But we do know that the skin is our largest living organ, always exchanging oxygen and waste.
All forms of detox benefit the skin, particularly exercise, dry skin brushing, Epsom salt baths, and saunas. Remember to drink water because hydration is key to promoting a healthy sweat.
Foods that support skin detoxification include:
- Purple cabbage
- Sunflower seeds and sun butter
Herbs that support skin detoxification include:
- Oat straw
Dr. Millennia Ruth Lytle, ND, MPH, CNS is a Naturopathic Doctor, Certified Nutritionist, Author and Educator based in Brooklyn and Manhattan. She also runs a Gene SNP clinic in Washington, D.C. Dr. Millie is an expert in creating simple solutions to your health puzzles and mindful techniques to change your eating habits.