Detoxification or detox is a popular buzzword. It typically implies following a specific diet or using special products that claim to rid your body of toxins, thereby improving health and promoting weight loss. You can use diet to enhance your body’s natural detoxification system; you don’t necessarily require special diets or expensive supplements to do so.
The latest statistics show that more than 2 in 3 American adults are overweight or obese. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes, and certain cancers, many of which are preventable. Even modest weight loss, such as 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight, can improve your self-esteem as well as various health factors, including blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar. Mark Hyman, MD, in The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet says:
“When we are toxic… the mechanism for detoxification in the liver gets sluggish, and certain toxins can remain active longer than we want or than our systems can handle […]; this makes us sick and impedes normal metabolism. It also causes fluid retention, bloat, and puffiness.”
A healthy diet is the most important way to detoxify. First, remove foods that interfere with detoxification or make you more toxic. Among them include fructose, which is found in soda (as high-fructose corn syrup or HFCS) and fruit juices, and commercial juice cleanses. Research shows this simple sugar can become a crucial contributor to chronic diseases, including obesity. Fructose ramps up problems including chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, which both contribute to obesity
Effective detoxification to lose weight and improve overall health demands reducing or eliminating what creates a toxic load. Still, it also requires giving your body everything it needs to detoxify optimally. Food becomes the foremost way to do that. After all, we detoxify regularly, and we eat several times daily. John Cline, MD says:
“Using a focus on food to support the highly complex processes of detoxification and biotransformation is the wise approach […] if an apple contains at least 700 different phytochemicals, it is better to eat the apple as one of a variety of foods than to try to replicate its benefits with single nutritional supplements.”
Lemons are a staple of many detox diets, and there is a good reason for this. Firstly, lemons are packed with antioxidant vitamin C, which is excellent for the skin and fighting disease-forming free-radicals. Furthermore, the citrus fruit has an alkaline effect on the body, meaning that it can help restore the body’s pH balance, benefitting the immune system. Try starting your day with hot water and a slice of lemon to help flush out toxins and cleanse your system.
If too much fatty food or alcohol has caused your digestive system problems, it may be worth adding some ginger to your diet. Ginger is not only great for reducing feelings of nausea, but it can help improve digestion, beat bloating, and reduce gas. In addition to this, ginger is high in antioxidants and is suitable for boosting the immune system. To give your digestion a helping hand, try sipping on ginger tea or adding some freshly grated ginger to a fruit or vegetable juice.
Garlic has long been known for its heart benefits; however, the pungent food is also good at detoxifying the body. Garlic is not only antiviral, antibacterial, and antibiotic, but it contains a chemical called allicin, which promotes the production of white blood cells and helps fight against toxins. Garlic is best eaten raw, so add some crushed garlic to a salad dressing to boost its flavor and your health at the same time.
If you have recently been overindulging in fatty foods and alcohol, adding some steamed globe artichoke leaves to your meals is a great way to help get your body back on track. Globe artichokes are packed with antioxidants and fiber and can also help the body digest fatty foods. On top of this, globe artichoke is renowned for its ability to stimulate and improve the liver’s functions – the body’s primary toxin-fighting tool.
For those needing a quick health-boosting shot of nutrients, you can’t do much better than beetroot. Packed with magnesium, iron, and vitamin C, the vegetable has recently been hailed as a superfood due to its many reported health benefits. Not only is beetroot great for skin, hair, and cholesterol levels, but it can also help support liver detoxification, making it an ultimate detox food. To enjoy its benefits, try adding raw beetroot to salads or sipping on some beetroot juice.
6. Green tea
While it’s not technically a food, no detox plan would be complete without regular consumption of essential liquids. Fluids are necessary to keep our organs healthy and help to flush toxins from the body, and drinking green tea is an excellent way of boosting your intake. Green tea is not only a perfect weight-loss drink, but it is exceptionally high in antioxidants. Research has also suggested that drinking green tea can protect the liver from diseases including fatty liver disease.
Many celebs have resorted to the cabbage soup diet to help lose weight and get in shape quickly before a big event. However, cabbage is not only good for weight loss – it is also excellent detoxifying food. Like most cruciferous vegetables (including broccoli and sprouts), cabbage contains a sulforaphane chemical, which helps the body fight against toxins. Cabbage also supplies the body with glutathione, an antioxidant that improves the liver’s detoxifying function.
8. Fresh fruit
Fresh fruits are high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibre= and are also low in calories, making them an essential part of a detox diet. If you’re after brighter eyes and skin, shinier hair, and improved digestion, try boosting your intake of fruit and eating from a wide variety of different kinds. The good news is that fruit is easy to add to your diet, so try starting your day with a fresh fruit salad or smoothie and snacking on fruit pieces throughout the day.
9. Brown rice
If you want to cleanse your system and boost your health, it is a good idea to cut down on processed foods. Instead, try supplementing your diet with healthier whole grains such as brown rice, which is rich in many vital detoxifying nutrients, including B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorous. Brown rice is also high in fibre, which is good for cleansing the colon, and rich in selenium, helping protect the liver and improve the complexion.
Like most green herbs and vegetables, watercress is an excellent health-booster and detox food. Firstly, watercress leaves are packed with many vital detoxifying nutrients, including several B vitamins, zinc, potassium, vitamin E, and vitamin C. Secondly, watercress has natural diuretic properties, which can help to flush toxins out of the body. To reap the benefits of this nutritious food, try adding a handful of watercress to salads, soups, and sandwiches.