During the recent holiday season, many of us tended to over-indulge with all the good food and drink available. I thought it’d be a good idea to present some everyday foods that are easy to find that help detox our bodies naturally.
1) Lemons. Lemons are the go-to fruit for those looking to detox. Full of the vitamin C, this antioxidant is great for fighting free-radicals which can have a negative impact on the body. Lemons also have an alkaline effect, helping restore the body’s pH balance, thus improving the immune system. A slice of lemon in hot water is a simple way to start your detox.
2) Ginger. Ginger is great if you’ve been overdoing it on junk food or alcohol. Aside from settling your stomach, ginger can aid digestion and reduce bloating and gas. It also contains a large number of antioxidants and provides a good boost to immunity. Try a ginger tea or grate some ginger in fruit juice or vegetable juice.
3) Artichokes. Before I researched this, I really didn’t know what artichokes were. They’re full of antioxidants plus fiber, can help with the digestion of fatty foods, as well as stimulate liver function. A good way of consuming artichokes and kick-starting the body’s detox is to and some steamed artichoke leaves to your meals, with something like chicken, fish or seafood.
4) Beets. Beets massively support liver detoxification. They also provide a great shot of nutrients as they are full of magnesium, iron, and vitamin C. It is also great for skin, hair, cholesterol levels, and even athletic performance. It’s no surprise beets are often referred to as a superfood. To enjoy the benefits of beets, add some to a salad or drink some beet juice.
5) Green Tea. While not strictly a food, green tea is packed with antioxidants and can help rid the body of toxins. It’s been found to boost the performance of the liver and can protect the liver from diseases. To get the max from green tea drinking, brew it from loose leaves, as this will allow more antioxidants to be released. It’s also available in capsule form.
6) Cabbage. Cabbage is a great detox food. Like many cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower and kale) cabbage contains sulforaphane, a chemical which aids the body in the fight against toxins. Cabbage also contains glutathione; an antioxidant that promotes liver function. An alternative way of including cabbage in your diet, if you’re not particularly keen on having it on your plate, is to consume it in liquid form, either as cabbage water or a fermented cabbage juice.
7) Garlic. Despite its strong, sometimes off-putting odor, it’s great for a detox. Having antiviral, antibacterial and antibiotic properties, garlic also contains allicin, which aids white blood cell production which can help protect the body against infections. For maximum benefit, garlic is best consumed raw, so try adding crushed garlic to a dressing for a salad.
8) Fresh fruit. Fresh fruits are fiber rich and can play a key role in a detox diet. Packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, they can help improve digestion as well as your appearance (including skin and hair). Include in your diet a wide variety of fruits, but especially some of the acid fruits such as grapefruit, pineapples, oranges, and even tomatoes as these are all especially detoxifying. It’s easy to include fruit in your diet; you could start your day with a fruit smoothie and then snack on fruit when hunger strikes throughout your day.
9) Brown rice. Reducing your intake of processed foods is a way to kick-start a detox, and a healthier option like brown rice fits the bill perfectly. As a whole grain, brown rice is a natural source of vitamins as well as essential fatty acids. It’s also high in fiber, which plays a vital role in colon cleansing.
10) Watercress. Watercress is considered to be one of the healthiest foods around and a great detox food. Containing antioxidants and several detoxifying nutrients, including B vitamins, zinc and potassium, watercress also has diuretic properties, which helps to flush out toxins. A clinical trial also showed that watercress extract can even help to eliminate cancer-causing chemicals from the body of a smoker. To reap the potential benefits of watercress, use it as an add-on to a salad, soup or sandwich.
I hope these suggestions motivate you to include natural detoxifying foods in your diet throughout the year.
-Dr. Tom DeWall, Chiropractor