The terms “detox” and “cleanse” are a bit misleading when it comes to nutrition and diet. We can’t really force our body to detoxify. Our organs do a pretty good job of this on their own and our detoxification systems are quite tightly regulated. If we take herbs and supplements to stimulate our organs and do special detox juice fasts we are often taxing an already over-taxed system and attempting to force elimination.
The best way to 'cleanse' and 'detoxify' is by supporting our body’s detoxification organs so that they can work effectively. Another important factor is to reduce our toxic burden by minimizing or eliminating things like caffeine, alcohol, sugar, processed foods and exposure to chemicals and additives. When we provide ourselves with the right nutrients and environmental conditions we allow these systems to function optimally and effectively.
Below I have listed 6 foods that support your body’s detoxification processes and a few other helpful “detox” tips.
FOODS THAT SUPPORT DETOXIFICATION
By “cleansing”, we ensure that our body has plenty of nutrients needed to support healthy detoxification pathways.
The best thing is to have a great nutritional foundation with a whole foods, plant-rich, balanced diet including grass-fed or pastured meats, seafood and fish, lots of vegetables (organic when possible), healthy starches like root vegetables and fruit, minimal sugar and adequate hydration.
Below are some additional foods that are particularly helpful in supporting these pathways.
1) Apples: Apples are packed with nutrients that help our detoxification processes. They contain many helpful substances including D-GLucarate, a phytonutrient that helps your body get rid of dangerous chemical toxins and protects your cells from the damaging effects of carcinogens and the flavonoid Phlorizidin that is thought to stimulate bile production, a key component of healthy digestion and liver function. They also contain plenty of soluble fiber to support elimination of body waste.
2) Beetroot: The betalin pigments in beets support your body's Phase 2 detoxification process, which binds broken down toxins to other molecules so they can be excreted from your body. Beets are also a source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protects cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress.
3) Bitter leafy salad greens: The bitterness of these foods helps to stimulate bile flow within the liver promoting good digestion and supporting your liver’s detox process. (Arugula, Dandelion, Rapini, Kale, Chard)
4) Cruciferous vegetables: These vegetables are very powerful at supporting the liver. They contain chemicals that neutralize certain toxins. They also contain glucosinolates that help the liver to produce enzymes it needs for its detoxification processes. (Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Rapini, Horseradish, Radish, Turnip, Arugula, Watercress, Bok choy)
5) Essential fatty Acids: Essential fatty acids are required for healthy membranes in every cell of the body and plentiful amounts are required for healthy liver function.
Sources include seafood such as Sardines, Salmon, Mackerel, Tuna, Trout, Herring, fresh Avocado, fresh raw nuts and seeds, cold pressed fresh vegetable and seed oils and freshly ground seeds, especially Flaxseeds.
6) Garlic and onions: Garlic and Onions contains sulphur, which is very important in the detoxification process. Garlic is also a potent anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory.
Diet is not the only pillar of supporting detoxification. Just as important are adequate restful sleep, moderate physical activity and stress management.
There are also plenty of nutrients and herbs that can help to support this process. It is best to work with a qualified health care practitioner to ensure that you get individualized care and that you use these methods safely.
If you are interested in learning about about a detox. Please book an appointment with one of our licensed naturopathic doctors or call us at 647-435-0152.