The two times of the year when people seem to scramble to lose weight, clean up bad lifestyle habits is New Years and when the weather turns warm. While this is not a bad thing, ultimately you should strive for a more consistent way of keeping your body at a healthy weight set-point and free of disease, imbalances and toxic overload. Healthy living should be a lifestyle, not a fleeting effort. And, yes, a healthy lifestyle is MUCH EASIER than trying to correct, compensate and overcome all those unhealthy lifestyle choices.
What you consume by way of food is always the foundation and indicator of your state of total body and mind wellbeing. Nature-made nutrition is medicinal as much as it is sustenance. No lab-made pill or dangerous elective surgery will ever be able to provide you with a natural state of health and wellbeing. So, if you’re ready to spring clean your body and mind, below are 20 detoxifying superfoods you should be regularly consuming to purge your body of stored toxins and excess weight. Regularly consuming these foods will naturally help your body achieve a healthy weight set-point, remove cellulite and skin disorders, eliminate cravings and boost your energy and brain function like you can’t imagine.
20 Detoxifying Superfoods
Lemons – This wonderful fruit stimulates the release of enzymes and helps convert toxins into a water-soluble form that can be easily excreted from the body. In addition, they contain high amounts of vitamin C, a vitamin needed by the body to make glutathione. Glutathione helps ensure that phase 2 liver detoxification keeps pace with phase 1, thereby reducing the likelihood of negative effects from environmental chemicals. Drinking lemon water, which is alkaline-forming, first thing in the morning will help to balance out the acidity of foods we’ve consumed. They also have an incredible effect in detoxing the liver. Fresh lemon juice contains more than 20 anti-cancer compounds and helps balance the body’s pH levels.
Dandelions – Dandelions are considered a powerhouse food full of nutrients that are essential for anyone regularly eating processed foods. Dandelion root (taraxacum officinale) is known to act on the liver and pancreas by straining and filtering toxins & wastes from the bloodstream and its beneficial effects on liver complaints have been well documented by both Asian practitioners and American physicians. They’re a rich source of minerals and provide a variety of phytonutrients. They’re super antioxidants that support cleansing of the digestive tract. Try adding dandelion leaves to your salad.
Cinnamon – The oils from cinnamon contain active components called cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, and cinnamyl alcohol. Cinnamaldehyde has been well-researched for its effects on blood platelets helps prevent unwanted clumping of blood cells. Cinnamon’s essential oils also qualify it as an “anti-microbial” food, and cinnamon has been studied for its ability to help stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungi, including the commonly problematic yeast Candida. Cinnamon’s antimicrobial properties are so effective that recent research demonstrates this spice can be used as an alternative to traditional food preservatives. It has one of the highest antioxidant values of all foods and its use in medicine treats everything from nausea to menstruation and energy to diabetes.
Broccoli Sprouts – Broccoli sprouts can actually provide more benefit than regular broccoli as they contain 20 times more sulfurophane. They contain important phytochemicals that are released when they’re chopped, chewed, fermented, or digested. The substances are released then break down into sulfurophanes, indole-3-carbinol and D-glucarate, which all have a specific effect on detoxification. Add these to your salads and get creative with them in your meals. Researchers have found that an oral preparation made from broccoli sprouts trigger an increase in inflammation-fighting enzymes in the upper airways.
Avocados – This wonder fruit is packed with antioxidants, lowers cholesterol and dilates the blood vessels while blocking artery-destroying toxicity. Avocados contain a nutrient called glutathione, which blocks at least 30 different carcinogens while helping the liver detoxify synthetic chemicals. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that elderly people who had high levels of glutathione were healthier and less likely to suffer from arthritis. Consuming avocados is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake level, lower intake of added sugars, lower body weight, BMI and waist circumferences, higher “good cholesterol” levels and lower metabolic syndrome risk.
Green Tea – Green tea is often thought of as a great addition to any detox program because of its high antioxidant value. It is the least processed tea and thus provides the most antioxidant polyphenols, notably a catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is believed to be responsible for most of the health benefits linked to green tea. According to 17 clinical trials, green tea is linked with significantly lower blood sugar.
Wheatgrass – Wheatgrass restores alkalinity to the blood. The juice’s abundance of alkaline minerals helps reduce over-acidity in the blood and thus also Is a powerful detoxifier, and liver protector. It increases red blood-cell count and lowers blood pressure. It also cleanses the organs and gastrointestinal tract of debris. Wheatgrass stimulates the metabolism and the body’s enzyme systems by enriching the blood. It also aids in reducing blood pressure by dilating the blood pathways throughout the body. Pound for pound, wheatgrass is more than twenty times denser in nutrients than other choice vegetables. Nutritionally, wheatgrass is a complete food that contains 98 of the 102 earth elements.
Turmeric – Curcumin is the active ingredient in the spice turmeric, which gives it its yellow color. The rate at which your detox pathways function depends on your genes, your age, lifestyle and a good supply of nutrients involved in the detox process. Curcumin is used a lot in Ayurvedic Medicine to treat liver and digestive disorders. Turmeric has specifically been studied in relation to the positive effect that it has on the liver. As a high antioxidant spice, turmeric protects the body and prevents disease more effectively than drug based treatments and without the side effects.
Asparagus – Not only does asparagus help to detoxify the body, it can help you wage the anti-aging battle, protect you from getting cancer, help your heart to stay healthy, and is a general anti-inflammatory food. It’s also known to help with liver drainage, which might sound like a bad thing, but since the liver is responsible for filtering out the toxic materials in the food and drinks we consume, anything that backs up its drainage is not doing you any favors. Asparagus also helps reduce risk of death from breast cancer and increase the odds of survival.
Kale – Kale is now recognized as providing comprehensive support for the body’s detoxification system. New research has shown that the ITCs made from kale’s glucosinolates can help regulate detox at a genetic level. This vegetable is so good for you that it is often recommended to patients that are following a doctor recommended diet when fighting kidney disease. It’s packed with so many antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties as well, not to mention all of the vitamins and minerals it contains. Leafy greens are likely the number one food you can eat to regularly help improve your health. They’re filled with fiber along with crucial vitamins, minerals, and plant-based phytochemicals that may help protect you from almost every disease known.
Broccoli – Broccoli specifically works with the enzymes in your liver to turn toxins into something your body can eliminate easily. If you’re stuck for ways on how to make broccoli taste better try dehydrating or consider eating it raw. But don’t microwave it as this destroys both the nutritional and detox potential. Broccoli contains a very powerful anti-cancer, anti-diabetic and anti-microbial called sulforaphane which helps prevent cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and allergies.
Grapefruit – Grapefruits can prevent weight gain, treat diabetes, lower cholesterol, fight cancer, heal stomach ulcers, reduce gum disease and even keep stroke and metabolic syndrome at bay. Grapefruits can treat disease as well as pharmaceuticals without the side effects. The rich pink and red colors of grapefruit are due to lycopene, a carotenoid phytonutrient. Among the common dietary carotenoids, lycopene has the highest capacity to help fight oxygen free radicals, which are compounds that can damage cells. The big takeaway on grapefruit is that it gets your liver fired up and ready for action, while infusing the rest of your organs with nutrient-laden fruit juice.
Cilantro – Cilantro, also known as coriander, Chinese parsley or dhania, contains an abundance of antioxidants. Cilantro helps mobilize mercury and other metals out of the tissue so it can attach to it other compounds and allow it to be excreted from the body. It also contains an antibacterial compound called dodecenal, which laboratory tests showed is twice as effective as the commonly used antibiotic drug gentamicin at killing Salmonella.
Blueberries – Blueberries contain natural aspirin that helps lessen the tissue-damaging effects of chronic inflammation, while lessening pain. Just 300 grams of blueberries protects against DNA damage. Blueberries also act as antibiotics by blocking bacteria in the urinary tract, thereby helping to prevent infections. They have antiviral properties and are loaded with super-detoxifying phytonutrients called proanthocyanidins.
Garlic – Many detox diets list garlic as a crucial piece of the puzzle. The reason is that garlic boosts the immune system as well as helping out the liver. One good thing about garlic is that you can up your intake without having to worry if your body is going to get used to it or build up a resistance. Sulfur is found in high quantities in garlic — which makes it a good detox food and its antibiotic properties heal your body. Garlic is proven to be 100 times more effective than antibiotics and working in a fraction of the time.
Beets – A single serving of beets can do more for your health than most foods in the produce isle. Not only can they boost your energy and lower your blood pressure, but eating beets in the long-term can help you fight cancer, reduce arthritic pain, boost your brain as well as help you lose weight. Beets contain a unique mixture of natural plant chemicals (phytochemicals) and minerals that make them superb fighters of infection, blood purifiers, and liver cleansers. They also help boost the body’s cellular intake of oxygen, making beets excellent overall body cleansers. When you’re detoxing, beets will help by making sure that the toxins you’re getting out actually make it out of your body. Many detox cleanses go wrong when toxins are reintroduced to the body because they don’t make it all the way out.
Seaweed – Seaweed may be the most underrated vegetable in the Western world. Studies at McGill University in Montreal showed that seaweeds bind to radioactive waste in the body so it can be removed. Radioactive waste can find its way into the body through some medical tests or through food that has been grown where water or soil is contaminated. Seaweed also binds to heavy metals to help eliminate them from the body. In addition, it is a powerhouse of minerals and trace minerals. Seaweed extracts can help you lose weight, mostly body fat.
Ginger – Along side turmeric, ginger is one of the world’s most potent disease-fighting spices. Ginger spikes your metabolism, flushes out waste, is thought to help liver function, and has some astringent properties. Some detox diets ask you to chew on ginger root. You may also find that adding it to hot water makes the water taste better. Basically any way you can think of it get it into your system is going to be beneficial, especially if you’re suffering from a fatty liver caused by too much alcohol, or too many toxic foods and drinks.
Cabbage – In addition to cleansing your liver, cabbage will also aid in helping you go to the bathroom, which in turn helps you expel the toxins, getting them out of your system so you can start fresh. It contains sulfur, which is essential when it comes to breaking down chemicals and removing them from your body. Along with other cole crops, cabbage is a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical that boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.
Basil – Basil has anti-bacterial properties, and it’s full of antioxidants to protect the liver. The active ingredients are terpenoids. It is also wonderful for digestion and detoxification, too. It supports the functioning of the kidneys and also acts as a diuretic to help the body expel unwanted toxins. Basil has been known to have anti-ulcer qualities as well as antimicrobial effects that guard against bacteria, yeast, fungi and mold. Basil seed can also help with constipation. The anticancer properties of basil may also relate to its ability to influence viral infections.
Bon Veggie Appetit!
Gina “The Veggie Goddess” Matthews