Foods That Naturally Detoxify the Body
Detoxing is one of those buzz words, along with superfoods, that has become popular in recent years as we all look for ways to be healthier and eat better. However, a common misconception is that undertaking a detox is time consuming, complex, restrictive, and normally involves drinking strange teas whilst avoiding food for a while!
But did you know that there are everyday foods that are also naturally detoxifying to the body? Foods that assist the liver in removing toxins or neutralise free radicals and oxidative stress. Some foods also boost healthy kidney and digestive function, further helping your body flush out toxins. Others help increase mental clarity and energy levels.
Before we talk about some of these specific foods, it is important to understand exactly what we mean by detoxification.
What is Detoxification?
Detoxification is a natural process the body undertakes as a normal, regular function. It means the removal of toxins as waste products. Toxins can be as obvious as nicotine and alcohol but also includes a wide range of potentially harmful substances such as pollutants in food and water, drugs, and end products of metabolic processes.
“Going on a detox” means focussing on products that reduce the intake of harmful substances and eating “clean” products. Some people opt for a specific detox such as juicing, which, according to the Mayo Clinic is a viable alternative if you don’t love eating whole fruits and vegetables. It’s a good way to include their nutritional benefits in your diet without having to force yourself to eat something you don’t love.
You might choose to restrict your diet or eliminate certain foods and food groups for a specific detox. Linda Page, ND, PhD advises that detox diets are beneficial for women because they help rejuvenate the body and jump start healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating right and staying active.
You might however, consider the best way to reap the benefits of the foods that have natural detoxifying properties is to include them in your regular, healthy, balanced diet. We have listed below some of the best natural detoxifying foods:
Foods That Naturally Detoxify the Body
Many experts call garlic one of the best foods for naturally detoxifying the body because it helps the liver produce enzymes that filter toxins from the intestines. Garlic can be added to many recipes and freshly sliced garlic offers the best benefits. It makes a delicious addition to pasta sauce, homemade salad dressings, marinades, and stir-fry.
2. Green Tea
You’ve probably heard a lot about green tea and its wonderful health benefits. The reason it’s an effective addition to your diet is because it helps flush toxins from your body as you digest and urinate. At the same time, green tea, much like many other types of tea, has antioxidants that boost liver function, thereby naturally detoxifying your entire body.
3. Citrus Fruits
Citrus, specifically oranges, lemons and limes, help produce the enzymes needed to jump start and then maintain a healthy digestive function. Lemon is an especially helpful choice as it boosts the liver and kidney functions . Nutritionists, health experts, and much research suggests there is a lot of benefit to having a glass of lemon water in the morning as a healthy way to start the day.
Most types of fresh fruit should be a staple in a healthy, balanced diet. In addition to the many vitamins and minerals contained in your favourite fruits, the naturally high-water content in many varieties is helpful for flushing out toxins. Most fruits also have a high concentration of antioxidants, which your body needs to counteract toxins such as free radicals, to neutralise their effects, such as inflammation. Because most types of fruit offer this natural detoxifying benefit, choose those types that you like best, which ensures that you are happy to eat them daily. Of course, it never hurts to experiment and try new fruits too.
5. Leafy Green Veggies
Don’t just think of cabbage and sprouts as the only leafy green you should be piling on your plate. There are so many choices: spinach, kale, wheatgrass, bok choi, spirulina, chard, and rocket, just to name some. So, what makes these such great detoxifying foods? They naturally contain a healthy dose of chlorophyll, which boosts the function of your digestive tract, helping to eliminate those nasty toxins. Chlorophyll is important for flushing out residues of heavy metals, cleaning supplies, herbicides, and pesticides. Other cruciferous vegetables that can be considered are cauliflower and broccoli.
6. Fermented Foods
The primary reason why fermented foods are classed as a top detoxifying food is their heavy concentration of probiotics; healthy gut bacteria that aid in proper digestion and flushing of toxins. By balancing the good bacteria with the bad bacteria in your intestines, you promote healthy bowel function, which encourages your body to eliminate toxic substances. Sauerkraut is an outstanding choice, but kefir, kimchi, yogurt and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar are other healthy options. Trendy kimchi, for example, is easy to make at home, is extremely tasty, and very good for you.
7. Wild Salmon
Wild salmon should always be your top choice when it comes to fish because it tends to be the highest in omega-3 fatty acids, nutrients that help nourish the liver and promote its healthy function. By reducing inflammation in the liver with a couple of weekly servings of wild salmon, you help neutralise toxins in a natural and healthy way.
8. Nuts and Seeds
If you eat snacks, nuts and seeds are the best choice. Much like salmon, they are high in omega-3 fatty acids, helping to promote healthy liver function. In addition, nuts and seeds are also a prime source of vitamin E, a nutrient that has antioxidant effects and that protects your body from the result of free radicals and the oxidative stress they can cause. All types are good choices, but try to include a variety, such as hemp seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, pistachios, pine nuts and pecans. A few nuts sprinkled on a leafy green salad is also a good food decision.
Increasing the amount of naturally detoxifying foods you eat doesn’t mean you can’t spice things up. Turmeric has many benefits, one of the main ones being that thanks to its concentration of curcumin, it has strong anti-inflammatory properties that help counteract a variety of toxins, while also aiding in proper liver function. It is an excellent choice to add to both juices and smoothies.
This is another vegetable that has excellent detoxifying effects, but it often gets overlooked due to the hassle of preparing them to eat. Artichokes are a prime source of a type of antioxidant called caffeolquinic acid, which works to stimulate bile flow, a process that is necessary for clearing your digestive tract of toxins and inflammatory substances.
Dill is a herb that can be used both dry or fresh to add flavour to salads, salad dressings, fish marinades, and even sandwiches. It contains chemicals that activate glutathione, an antioxidant that works in conjunction with your liver to bind to free radicals to remove them from your body.
If you’re a fan of avocado toast, you can feel good about already working to detox your body. In addition to the healthy antioxidants and good types of fats, avocados also contain glutathione, which, as mentioned above, helps neutralise free radicals, helping your liver cleanse your body’s systems and counteract oxidative stress caused by toxins.
The biggest detoxing benefit of adding beetroot to your diet is that they are one of just a handful of foods that contain betalains, the pigment that gives them their bright red colour. Betalains are powerful anti-inflammatory substances and work throughout the body, but especially in the liver, to repair and rebuild cells damaged by toxins.
Ginger has been used in alternative medicine for centuries, especially in Asian cuisine, because it helps counteract a fatty liver, which can be caused by alcohol and poor eating choices and is also known to be a highly effective digestive aid. Versatile and easy to use., there are lots of ways to add ginger to your diet, including as a seasoning in stir-fries, rice dishes, and soups. It can also be used to make tea.
Not strictly a food, but there should be no doubt that water is an essential element in any diet, weight loss plan, or detox plan. Adequate liquid plays a big role in most of your bodily functions, but it makes sense that it’s a prime way to flush toxins out of your body. It’s important to stay hydrated and drinking plenty of water is the best way to do this. However, if you’re not drinking enough, it’s best to gradually increase your intake by a glass per day or you run the risk of overloading your kidneys.
There is a wide range of choices when it comes to including naturally detoxing foods in your diet. Choosing the foods you’re willing to consume is the main reason you’ll see success so don’t waste your time trying to force yourself to eat things you don’t like. Eating should be pleasurable as well as a necessity. Include the items on this list that you enjoy eating and you’ll receive happy points as well as the detoxification benefits. Some of the foods mentioned above can be taken in supplement or powder form if you don’t like the taste of the natural fruit or vegetable.