The first thing that comes to mind when you hear “detox” and “food” are juice cleanses. However, this could be further from the truth. Your body has an amazing built-in detoxification system. Sometimes this system gets stuck, which allows a toxic burden to build up in your body. The good news is there are a lot of things you can do on your own to help jumpstart your detox process, and one of these is food. Today I’m walking you through my top 3 detox foods and how you can include them in your diet.
Eating a clean diet
Before we jump into foods, it’s important to note that simply eating a clean diet can really support your liver – which is your main detoxification organ. The first step you should take when adjusting your eating pattern is to remove all processed ingredients from your diet. This includes things like processed foods, refined sugar, refined oils, artificial sweeteners, advanced glycation end products and high mercury fish.
What do these foods do to your body?
First of all, all of these are inflammatory-causing agents. When inflammation is present, it affects your entire body and throws it out of homeostasis. Processed foods can also negatively affect your gut, which is important for the detox process. Lastly, foods that can negatively affect your liver, such as diets high in processed fats and sugar, will obviously impact your ability to detoxify.
How do you start cleaning up your diet?
Pick one processed food item or category to remove and start off slow. Once you’ve mastered that, pick another. I don’t recommend going cold turkey unless that type of strategy works well for you. The more sustainable habits you implement, the more likely you will be to stick with them.
While eating clean is great, there are certain foods to include in your eating pattern to really boost your detox process. The first one is broccoli. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables contain sulforaphane – a powerful phytochemical that has been shown to sequester free radicals and stop toxins in their tracks. They also reduce inflammation and may slow down cancerous tumor growth.
Broccoli is a great vegetable to eat on its own – and lightly steaming it until it’s bright green will maximize the sulforaphane content. If you don’t like broccoli, try adding frozen broccoli to smoothies, or pureeing it into a green soup. Broccoli sprouts also contain a very high percentage of sulforaphane and you can easily sprinkle those on top of a salad.
Another fantastic detoxifier is citrus fruits. Citrus fruits contain a high concentration of vitamin C, which is an excellent antioxidant to support your detoxification process. Vitamin C, like sulforaphane, capture free radicals in your body to prevent damage to cells and tissues.
Citrus fruits are great additions to salads, as side dishes, and incorporated into smoothies. You can even try adding other orange vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy green veggies are a must-have for detoxification. These veggies contain chlorophyll which can help remove toxins from the body. Although more research is needed in this area, one study found that chlorophyll inhibits the activation of carcinogens. Dark greens also contain folate, and folate is needed in detoxification methylation reactions. My favorite way to incorporate greens is in a salad. If you are not a salad fan or raw lettuce is difficult to digest, try blending lightly steamed greens into smoothies or soups.
Today we focused on foods that will boost your body’s detoxification process. Remember, the first step is cleaning up your diet. Then, try to enhance your new diet with broccoli, citrus fruits, and leafy greens. If you need more help shifting to a detoxification diet, please contact me to set up a free call.