Every once in a while you will need to detox your body. The media tells us this everyday. This article will detail what the best foods are to help with the detox process.
Toxins are all around us. They are in our food and even in the air. Like it or not, we have to breathe in these pollutants and even absorb them through our skin.
This may seem like an over-exaggeration or scaremongering, but it’s not. Think of all those cars and other vehicles busy pumping carbon monoxide into the atmosphere. All those people smoking tobacco or vaping chemical-filled vapor.
Think of the detergents we use in our homes. Cosmetic products, perfumes and aftershave, they all contain chemicals.
To make matters worse, our bodies manufacture toxins as well. They are the byproduct of many biological processes including food digestion and muscle contraction.
The toxins are in such low doses we barely notice them, but they can build up within our bodies and cause all manner of problems. Early aging is just one of them. Obesity is another.
Although a lot of people ignore this “toxic situation”, many do not. They tackle it head-on by doing regular detoxes instead.
Some use natural supplements to assist the process, others simply make the necessary changes to their diet.
Supplementing your diet with antioxidants and immunity boosting supplements is a prerequisite in my mind.
Detox diets can vary in their approach and intensity and may include juice fasts or even short periods of total starvation. Many detox diets also involve the use of natural diuretics, such as dandelion extracts, or laxatives like aloe vera.
3 Quick Detox Tips
- Drink water – drinking plenty of water is arguably the best way to flush out harmful toxins from your body. It is very low is calories so an ideal for weight loss
- Fasting – refraining from eating is not only a great way to detox your body it is also good for weight loss. Intermittent fasting (such as the GP4:3) is en vogue at the moment with many variations based on reducing your eating window. Some popular intermittent dieting plans suggest you only eat between 11am and 5pm
- Eat whole fruit – eating the whole fruit is not only nutritious and packed with vitamins and minerals but also a fantastic source of fibre
Demystifying the Detox Process
There’s a reason why the toxins that enter our bodies don’t cause more problems than they do. Our bodies are busy performing detoxification tasks 24 hours a day. They are very good at it as well, but there are limits to how much can be achieved. Especially when a combination of poor food choices and environmental conditions overload the system with too many toxins.
When it comes to purging these toxins from your body, your liver does most of the hard work. It achieves this in two steps.
During the first step, the liver uses a combination of oxygen and enzymes to “burn” the toxins. By doing so, it makes them more water soluble and easier to eliminate from the body.
Then, during the second step of detoxification, the partially processed toxins are combined with amino acids or sulfur. This allows them to be purged from the body as bile or urine.
This two-step process involves a delicate balance that requires adequate nutrition to work correctly.
If the toxins are not broken down quickly enough during step one they are recirculated by the blood until the liver has the nutrients it needs to complete the process.
A healthy liver manufactures around one liter of bile per day and uses it to purge toxins from the body via the intestines.
When the liver is sluggish, the toxins build up causing inflammation and oxidative stress.
Other organs, including the kidneys, lungs, and skin play a role in the detox process as well. The human body is a complex and magnificent biological machine.
How Toxic Overload Hinders Weight Loss
A healthy body can usually keep on top of the detox process. However, when the level of toxins that come from our food and the atmosphere around us becomes too great the system may not keep up.
Prescription medication and alcohol are just two more things that can make the situation worse.
Regardless of the source, when the detoxification organs can no longer keep up it results in toxic overload.
When such an overload of toxins occurs the liver becomes sluggish and the presence of so many toxins impedes metabolism. This makes us burn fewer calories per day and it becomes easier to gain weight than lose it.
Toxic overload can further add to the bulk of our bodies by encouraging water retention and bloating.
Why Antioxidants are Important
Fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants. These neutralize the damaging effects of certain toxins by donating extra electrons on the molecular level. In so doing, they make the toxins more stable so they no longer pose a risk to the health.
The Need to Detox
When the body is in toxic overload, a good detox plan may be able to set things right. Research shows a successful detox can assist the weight loss process and help with associated factors such as chronic inflammation.
The best way to do a detox is to tack the problem from both sides.
First of all, it’s important to try and reduce exposure to toxins. This may involve making dietary changes, such as eating wholemeal bread in preference to white. It’s also important to thoroughly wash fruit and vegetables to remove the surface toxins.
Stopping smoking and reducing alcohol consumption is a further step in the right direction. As is wearing gloves to protect the skin while using chemical cleaners.
Secondly, it’s important to eat a healthy diet that is high in nutrition. This helps ensure the liver has the nutrients it needs to get the job done.
Some people use detox supplements as well. There is nothing wrong with this in principle. Certain natural ingredients can be very good for assisting a detox.
However, correct nutrition is more important. We eat several times a day. If we making poor food choices and bombarding the body with additional toxins, that’s not good. If we are giving our bodies plenty of nutrients and antioxidants that can help the body detox, that’s very good indeed.
Detox Diet In a Nutshell
A good detox diet provides less toxins. It also provides more nutrients and antioxidants.
What to Add to a Natural Detox Diet and What to Avoid
Fruits are a very healthy food option. As are vegetables. That’s why health organizations all over the world recommend eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetable per day.
Apart from being a good source of dietary fiber, fruits and vegetables are packed full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. Due to their high water content and natural fiber, some fruits and vegetables are very filling.
Organic fruit and vegetables are always the best choices to use for detox because they are grown in a chemical-free environment.
Canned fruit and vegetables should be avoided. They contain added sugar, along with preservatives and other chemicals.
A good detox diet also requires sufficient protein. It aids the two major detoxification pathways within the liver.
When eating meat, the flesh obtained from organic, grass-fed animals is best. As for fish, always go with fresh. Processed fish products may contain preservatives.
Legumes like lentils and beans are also a good source of protein. They provide dietary fiber that helps keep the bowels moving and reduce the likelihood of toxins building up within the gut.
Fats and oils also play a role in the detox process by aiding the biotransformation processes. Olive oil and coconut oil are two good options. So are nut oils, but its best to avoid saturated animal-derived fats.
22 Good Foods to Add to a Detox Diet
Apples are rich in phytochemicals that support the detox process and help flush toxins out of the body.https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11356-015-5263-3
The fruit also contains the water-soluble fiber pectin, which removes food additives and metals from the body.
Organic apples are best because they are grown in chemical-free environments. They also tend to contain more antioxidants than apples grown in the conventional way.
Lemons are an excellent source of Vitamin C. Most people are aware Vitamin C strengthens the immune system. Less realize it is an antioxidant as well.
Some people do a Lemon Detox Diet that involves living on lemon juice for up to two weeks. That’s extreme. It robs the body of too many nutrients and cannot possibly be seen as healthy.
However, lemon does have a cleansing action. It may also help relieve gastric issues. The best way to use the juice is to drink it combined with warm water.
Some people add sugar to reduce its bite. There’s nothing wrong with this, but if you are detoxing to lose weight adding the extra calories may be unwise.
Lemons are a good addition to a detox diet, but should never be the diet.
Blueberries, raspberries, blackcurrants; all berries are good. They are rich in Vitamin C, other nutrients, and antioxidants and fiber.
Berries also support butyrate production. This is a fatty acid that helps with weight loss and does its bit to clear toxins.
The berry juices you buy from the store may have added sugar and other preservatives. For the best berry effect, crush the berries at home to make your own juice. Alternatively, eat a few berries as an occasional snack or toss them over a bowl of oatmeal.
Pomegranate is another good detox fruit. Rich in Vitamin C and fiber, pomegranate also regulates cholesterol and is beneficial for the heart.
Pineapple is another vitamin-rich detoxifying fruit. It also provides the enzyme bromelain, which aids protein digestion.
Bromelain also reduces inflammation and is sometimes used as a natural treatment for arthritis.
For the greatest level of benefit, always eat the fruit raw. Bromelain is lost during the tinning process. Tinned pineapple also contains extra sugar and preservatives your body does not need.
If you want to go nuts over your detox, almonds are a good place to start.
Apart from being high in fiber and protein, almonds contain calcium and healthy fats. Almonds also provide more Vitamin E than any other nut.
They assist detoxification by removing impurities from the bowel and are easy to add to your diet. You can sprinkle them over oatmeal, add them to a smoothie, or make a fresh almond milk latte at home.
Walnuts are a good detox option because they are high in protein and contain lots of fiber.
More importantly, walnuts contain l-arginine, which helps the liver purge the body of ammonia. They are also an excellent source of glutathione and Omega-3 fatty acids, which further assist natural liver cleansing.
Turmeric is a powerful liver-cleansing spice. You can use it in a variety of ways such as adding it to lemon juice or using it to make a turmeric tea.
When using turmeric, it’s best to combine it with a little black pepper.
The body finds it hard to absorb the active component (curcumin) in the spice. Black pepper contains a compound (piperine) that improves the absorption rate by up to 2000%.
Fresh beetroot isn’t the easiest thing to cook, but it’s worth the effort.
Research shows the detox capabilities of beetroot can help promote liver health.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23769299)
Some of the compounds in beetroot are also good for helping the body fight infections.
Beetroot is also high in nitrates that can open up the blood vessels and improve circulation.
Ginger is a popular spice that’s loved for its flavor and praised for its ability to aid digestion.
It’s also a good detox agent that boosts liver function and helps the body flush toxins from the blood and lymphatic systems.
By aiding the movement of food through the intestinal tract, ginger improves bowel health as well.
Kale is a popular superfood that’s praised for its numerous abilities to encourage good health.
It’s nutritious, packed with antioxidants, is high in fiber, and even provides anti-inflammatory compounds.
Not everyone likes the taste, but kale is a great addition to any good detox diet.
Bad for vampires, good for the liver, garlic is a very worthwhile addition to any diet that aims to rid the body of toxins.
Garlic doesn’t flush act on toxins directly. It works by boosting glutathione production.
Glutathione is the agent responsible for filtering toxins that come from the digestive system.
Garlic is also a good source of Vitamin C and antioxidants. More interestingly, this small bulb-type vegetable is known to have antibiotic properties as well.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4458355/
Although they are normally associated with good eyesight, carrots are also linked to liver health.
Rich in Vitamin A, carrots help flush toxins through the liver.
Vitamin A also has a role to play in reducing fat in the liver. Additionally, the fiber provided by carrots helps support colon health.
Cook them, eat them raw, or drink them in an organic smoothie or juice. Eat them any way you want but never ignore their immense nutritional value.
Perhaps not one of the cheapest vegetables on the market, artichokes are so nutritious they are worth their weight in gold.
Artichokes are 3% protein and a good source of iron, magnesium, potassium, and natural fiber.
They protect the liver by assisting the production of bile.
Additionally, artichokes help with digestion and have mild diuretic capabilities that allow them to aid the elimination of the toxins the liver has broken down.
A cheap and nutritious vegetable you can use in a variety of different ways.
Cabbage is an excellent detoxifier that helps purify the blood and, thanks to its high fiber content keeps the bowels healthy too.
When served in the form of sauerkraut, cabbage provides beneficial probiotic bacteria as well.https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-sauerkraut
With or without turmeric, lentils are often used for making detox soups.
A good source of protein, carbs, and fiber; lentils are also a source of iron, folate, zinc, and polyphenols.
Sometimes hailed as one of the world’s healthiest foods, lentils are quick and easy to prepare and can be used in a variety of different ways.
Apart from being a detox agent, lentils have been associated with weight loss and have proven to offer a number of desirable health benefits.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5713359/
Gardeners curse it as a weed, herbalists praise it for its detox capabilities. It’s fair to say dandelion is a controversial plant.
Dandelion is a diuretic that helps the liver eliminate toxins faster. Additionally, it helps balance blood sugar levels strengthens the immune system. Extracts from the plant are also used for treating viral infections.
Some people drink dandelion tea, others incorporate the leaves into a salad or add them to a sauce.
Fennel is a Mediterranean vegetable that’s upped its roots and spread all over the world.
On a nutritional level, it packs a pretty good punch and is associated with a number of health benefits. Lowering high blood pressure and fighting inflammation are just two of them.
A mild diuretic, fennel also does its bit to help the liver get toxins out of the body.
Fennel works well sliced and served with a salad, but it can be used in many other ways and the seeds make a good addition to spicy foods.
On a nutritional level, the value of cucumber is often overlooked. That’s a pity. It’s low in calories and, due to its high water content, it helps keep the body hydrated and is good at satiating the appetite.
Cucumbers also appear to reduce bloating and water retention as well as supporting healthy digestive function.
These green club-like fruits are incredibly cleansing and, as well are purging unwanted elements from the body, they help prevent constipation and kidney stones.
Asparagus is often associated with stinky pee. There’s a reason for that. That unpleasant smell asparagus eaters experience while urinating is caused by compounds in the vegetable that break down compounds that contain sulfur.
Before you turn your nose up at asparagus bear in mind what you are smelling is the non-too-sweet smell of detox success.
You have to be careful with avocados. They are high in fat and each 100g serving provides 160 calories.
However, some of the fat content is Omega-3, which helps reduce inflammation and aids digestion.
Avocado is also a good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber and potassium. So, although indiscriminate avocado eating can lead to weight gain, the fruit still has healthy attributes.
Another popular ingredient in detox soups, tomatoes are a major source of the antioxidant lycopene. They also provide respectable amounts of Vitamin C, folate, and potassium.
Actually a fruit, not a vegetable, tomatoes have a high water content and only provide 18 calories per 100 g serving.
The distinctive red color comes courtesy of their, aforementioned, lycopene content.
Both a pigment and an antioxidant, lycopene benefits the health in many ways. Helping to detoxify the body is just one of them.
Tomatoes also contain glutathione. The body produces this anti-toxin in response to a hangover. This is, of course, the reason why tomato juice is often included in hangover cures.
Putting It All Together
There are lots of foods you can include in a detox diet. The fact that there is such a variety means eating healthy to detox the body does not require a diet that is bland, stale, or boring.
As with any kind of diet, be it for detox or weight loss, the important thing is to try and maintain a healthy balance of nutrients and avoid extremes.
The best detoxification diets provide the body with everything it needs to maintain good health and assist the liver and other organs in their work.
Diets like the lemon diet or the grapefruit diet can cause nutritional shortfalls that may carry health repercussions.
Such diets will certainly fail to provide the protein required to assist the two major detoxification pathways in the liver.
The detoxification process is meant to improve the health. That’s the whole idea. Any diet that is not nutritionally sound is counterproductive and does not make good sense.
A process in which you remove toxins from your body by abstaining from consuming certain food and substances
An obvious byproduct from abstaining from consuming certain foods is weight loss.
There is no one ‘best’ way. The simple matter that you are starting the processes is really what counts