If you do an internet search for “detox foods,” a myriad of websites promoting their detox foods and programs will come up. From detox programs, detox foods to full body cleanses — your choices are limitless. There are also recipes for homemade detox teas as well as detox juices and detox supplements. Of course, detoxification is important, and most people would do well to perform a detox at least twice a year. However, there are also detox foods that can help support the natural healing mechanisms we have in our bodies.
In our modern world, we are continually bombarded with toxins found in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we consume. Add to that all the personal care products we slather on our bodies every day and the chemical-laden cleaning products in our homes, and we have a recipe for an overabundance of toxins coming into our body. According to the CDC, 80% of all illnesses have either environmental or lifestyle causes — many times both. This is why we must pay attention to the toxins we are putting into our bodies.
DID YOU KNOW? The CDC says that 80% of all illnesses have either environmental or lifestyle causes — many times both!
We often forget there are many detox foods — real food — that can aid us in detoxing naturally.
First, let’s dive into what detoxing is all about and why the need for a “detox” might be more than just hype.
How Does the Body Detox?
Detoxification methods for promoting healing goes back thousands of years–all the way back to Hippocrates – “Father of Western Medicine.” By definition, detoxification is the physiological removal of toxic substances from within your body. The body has several systems in place for removing waste and toxins. The excretory system plays the largest role in detoxification. The job of this system is defecation and urination. The most important organs that belong to the excretory system are the skin, liver, lungs, large intestine, and kidneys.
Toxins are any substance that is poisonous or causes negative health effects when used in certain amounts. This includes heavy metals, chemicals, pollutants, artificial food additives, pesticides, GMOs, and poisons that cause body harm. Artificially created chemicals can be toxins, but naturally occurring substances can be toxic as well.
Fortunately, there are ways to counteract some toxins and pollutants. Your body’s natural detoxification processes exist to deal with the ones we are unable to avoid. You can help your body perform these processes by frequently consuming detox foods.
What is Bioaccumulation or Body Burden?
The accumulation of toxins in the human body is called bioaccumulation or “body burden.” It is a major factor in the increase of chronic conditions such as asthma, allergies, cancer, hormone imbalance, mental conditions, and many autoimmune concerns. We each carry a “body burden” of synthetic chemicals and toxins. That is the concern of synergies, the synergistic reactions of two or more chemicals in the body. When they interact, it is much more powerful than anyone individual chemical can do on its own. This is why it’s crucial to consume only organic and grass-fed grass-finished meats and chicken, organic fruits and vegetables, and to make sure you read the ingredient label on all personal care and home cleaning products.
When your body’s natural detoxification system is pounded by years of excess exposure to chemical toxins, poor diet, stress, and infections, your body requires extra support for your detox pathways. If you add to this an autoimmune condition, your body becomes even less equipped to deal with toxic overload. To effectively handle the toxic burden, implementing detox-supporting supplements and detox cleanses along with detox foods will help support detox pathways and support your body’s natural healing mechanisms.
Effective Ways To Subdue Toxins
Below are two steps that enable you to subdue the toxins that you face every day.
Step One: Lessen Toxins in Home and Office Naturally
- Clean Air. Indoor air often contains 2-5 times the pollution than outside air. Because of this, I highly suggest using a quality air purifier in your home and office.
- Clean Water. Make sure any water used for bathing is filtered properly. This can be accomplished by installing water filters on all faucets in your home or installing a whole-house water filtration system. Whether it’s the water you drink or bathe in, you can effectively remove most toxins in your water by installing water filtration. Also, be sure that you don’t drink water packaged in plastic.
- Clean Food. It’s best to consume only organic food, including organic produce and grass-fed and grass-finished meats. The most important is to consume organic meat that is grass-fed and grass-finished. Non-organic meat can be the most toxic to your body. Eating meat that is not organic causes you to consume the “accumulation” of toxins the animal has been exposed to, from the pesticides sprayed on the grains they eat to the antibiotics they are given.
- Clean Personal Care Products. Your skin absorbs just about everything that you put on it. Become an ingredient label reader. I highly recommend using organic and natural personal care products and natural skincare products. Replacing all of your skincare products can be quite expensive, do what you can and then replace other products as you run out. Eventually, you will have replaced all of your personal care products with clean and natural products.
- Clean Household Cleaning Products. Tens of thousands of chemicals are ingredients in cleaning products and released to the environment, with very little if any information on the possible consequences for human health. The government gives little oversight. I highly recommend making your own cleaning products using DIY recipes from the Internet. Many companies produce safe and clean household cleaning products. Again, become a label reader.
Step Two: Subdue Toxins Naturally
Because we are unable to eliminate every toxin, the second step for subduing toxins is by using natural means. To support natural detox and cleansing, drink lots of purified water to help your body’s natural ability to flush out toxins. It’s also a good idea to sweat every day. There are many, many health benefits of sweating. Whether you exercise, jog, use a rebounder, or use an infrared sauna, sweating is equivalent to detoxification. For example, if you have an autoimmune disease, your body has a more difficult time detoxifying. In this case, detoxification-supporting supplements such as glutathione play a huge role in supporting your liver as it gets rid of toxins.
Consuming detox foods that support the body’s ability to detox is another great way to flush toxins from your body. Below are 15 detox foods that support your body’s natural detoxification mechanisms.
15 Detox Foods That Support Natural Detoxification
When it comes to detoxifying your body of harmful toxins, food really is the best medicine. You’ll be amazed to learn that many of your favorite foods also cleanse the body’s main detoxification organs, such as the liver, intestines, kidneys, and skin, preventing harmful toxic buildup. Help ward off the harmful effects of pollution, food additives, second-hand smoke, chemicals, and other toxins with detox foods such as delicious organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Let’s talk about some of the best detox foods that you can eat.
Used for thousands of years, the root or rhizome of the ginger plant acted as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory. Ginger is unquestionably a leading contender when talking about the best detox foods. Ginger is often a common ingredient in DIY detox and cleansing recipes as well as detox supplements.
Ginger stimulates digestion, circulation, and sweating, which are part of your body’s avenues of natural detoxification. This helps your body get rid of the build-up of waste and toxins in the colon, liver, and other organs. Ginger contains a high concentration of gingerol and shoga, both of which offer anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic effects on your gastrointestinal system. Ginger also helps maintain digestive enzymes, which help reduce various digestive issues, from stomach pain to gas and bloating.
Well supplied with phytonutrients, amino acids, chlorophyll, beta-carotene, potassium, phosphorous, biotin, magnesium, and B vitamins, chlorella is a freshwater algae often known as a superfood. Chlorella is nutrient-dense and supports your immune system. Just a 1-ounce (3 tbsp) serving of chlorella contains the following:
- Protein: 16g
- Vitamin A: 287% RDA
- Vitamin B2: 71% RDA
- Vitamin B3: 33% RDA
- Iron: 202% RDA
- Magnesium: 22% RDA
- Zinc: 133% RDA
Chlorella supports your body by detoxing or chelating heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, and uranium and, very important, stops them from being reabsorbed back into your body.
If you have mercury amalgams or consume large amounts of fish, you possibly have higher than normal levels of heavy metals in your body. You can also become exposed to heavy metals through water, skincare products, personal care products, and even fruits and vegetables. Heavy metal toxicity can be checked with a red blood cell test, a hair test, or a urine “challenge” test.
Leafy greens are an excellent detox food to support your body’s natural detoxification, so add them abundantly to as many meals as you can daily. Leafy greens that rank the highest in detox foods are spinach, kale, moringa leaf, alfalfa leaf, and parsley.
Leafy greens are full of minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium, as well as vitamins, including some B vitamins and vitamins K, C, E. Involved in the detoxification process, many of these nutrients are full of fiber, which makes them slow to digest and good for detoxifying your intestines.
Leafy greens also contain a mix of phytonutrients which include beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. They also contain chlorophyll, which gives them their green pigment.
Turmeric is a herb in the ginger family and contains curcumin which is a phytochemical. Curcumin gives it a deep golden color associated with curry, which turmeric is an important ingredient. Turmeric’s growth in popularity in the Western World because of all the properties that offer many health benefits without negative side effects. This remarkable spice also supplies great detoxification support for your body.
As a powerful antioxidant that can support your body’s natural inflammatory response, curcumin is often associated with autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. When talking about detoxification, curcumin influences gallbladder function, which in turn assists the function of your liver. The bile, produced by your gallbladder, helps to cleanse your liver as well as rejuvenating liver cells. Bile also stops toxins from being changed to toxic compounds that may cause damage to your liver.
Curcumin is easily added to your diet. For the best absorption, consume curcumin with some fat and black pepper. The substance found in black pepper, piperine or Bioperine, increases the absorption of curcumin. Without the piperine, most of the curcumin you consume would go through your digestive tract without being sufficiently absorbed.
As an effective blood-cleansing and purifying food, your liver loves organic beets. Organic beets are antioxidant-rich and high in many other nutrients, including folate, pectin fiber, iron, betaine, betalains, betacyanin, and betanin. Organic beets also boost the body’s production of glutathione. Glutathione is known as the body’s natural antioxidant and detoxifier. The individual cells in your body need glutathione to aid them in releasing toxins that occur as a natural result of metabolism. Glutathione protects your eyes, skin, liver, kidneys, and most other important organs from toxic build-up.
Cruciferous vegetables give you increased detoxification abilities due to the sulfur component actually enhancing our liver’s detoxification abilities. Cruciferous vegetables include arugula, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, collard greens, daikon radish, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, land cress, mustard greens, radish, rutabaga, shepherd’s-purse, turnip, and watercress. Some functional medicine practitioners, medical doctors, and naturopaths recommend avoiding cruciferous vegetables because of the goitrogens they contain. However, in my opinion, the many, many health benefits cruciferous vegetables provide far outweigh the minimal risk. And, if you cook cruciferous vegetables, any risk is highly reduced.
Avocado is rich in glutathione. Glutathione is present throughout the body, and its function is to protect cells against oxidation and detoxify our body from heavy metals. Avocado is also very rich in Vitamin K, which helps to protect the liver from free radical damage. Eating just 100g of Avocado a day can account for more than half of your daily vitamin K requirements.
Avocado also contains plant cytochromes which aid in the detoxification of the colon and rectum. A clean digestive system is necessary to support the body in its natural detoxification process.
Fresh lemon is another powerful detoxification food you can add to your diet. Fresh lemon juice and fresh lemon have many health benefits. Lemon acts as a natural energizer, which helps you fight some of the symptoms of toxic build-up and contain large amounts of Vitamin C and other antioxidants that protect the body.
Lemon is high in citric acid, which helps the digestion of food in the stomach. Citric acid also encourages the production of gastric juices, which are important for the effective digestion of food. Lemon juice also helps the bowels eliminate waste from the body, which gets rid of toxins and takes some pressure off the liver and its functions. Lemon juice stimulates the liver to produce bile which the body requires for detoxification.
Lemon also has natural antibiotic properties. In fact, lemon and honey were used for centuries as a cough remedy to soothe sore throats and help to fight tonsillitis. Many studies show that drinking a mixture of fresh lemon juice and warm, purified water in the morning significantly helps weight loss. Because of the high vitamin C content in lemons, they are excellent for the skin and help fight acne and other skin issues.
Adding lemon to your diet is one of the simplest things you can do to aid your body in its detoxification process. Squeeze half a lemon into a glass of warm water in the morning and drink it before you eat breakfast.
Apples provide impressive detoxification support for your liver. The pectin and malic acid in apples, particularly the Granny Smith variety, offer a definite way to eliminate the toxins in your body. The soluble fiber in the pectin helps remove cholesterol and toxins from your blood, and malic acid is a blood-cleansing nutrient. It’s important to consume organic apples as conventionally grown apples are highly contaminated with pesticides. We must also talk about polyphenols with apples, which are natural plant chemicals that work as antioxidants to protect the cells in your body from free radical damage. Polyphenols are also capable of affecting the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, which improves our blood sugar regulation.
Green tea has been used in Chinese and ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years for its medicinal qualities and super detoxification properties. Green tea also contains high levels of polyphenols.
Green tea is also very high in catechins. Studies published in the International Journal of molecular medicine showed that the catechins in green tea improve liver function and protect the liver from damage. Green tea has been widely recognized as a powerful antioxidant and detoxification aid. Many detox diets revolve around the use of green tea.
With all the amazing benefits that green tea offers, it is truly a great addition to your daily diet to help your body eliminate toxins. Green tea also contains some caffeine which makes it a great substitute for coffee and can help you get going in the mornings.
Garlic was used for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. The Egyptians used garlic for various ailments, and healers in the middle ages even used garlic to ward off the infamous black plague. World war I soldiers used garlic to ward off gangrene. Many studies have shown that garlic is a powerful antibiotic. In fact, one study undertaken by researchers at the University of Washington found that garlic is one hundred times more effective at fighting certain bacteria than two well-known modern antibiotics. The sheer volume of studies based on the medicinal properties of garlic proves that garlic really deserves its title as a superfood. For a list of some of the studies on garlic, read this article on MedicalNewsToday.com. Garlic helps to fight and reduce cholesterol levels, and it can help regulate blood pressure; it protects the heart, protects the body from cancer, and can help prevent preterm babies.
Garlic is beneficial for detoxification. A tiny amount of this strong-tasting white bulb has the ability to prompt liver enzymes that help your body flush out toxins. Garlic contains high amounts of vitamin C and is full of powerful antioxidants that protect the body and remove harmful free radicals from the bloodstream.
Some of the health benefits of garlic include helps to cleanse harmful bacteria, intestinal parasites, and viruses from your body, especially from the blood and intestines; helps cleanse build-up from the arteries; has anti-cancer and antioxidant properties that help detoxify the body of harmful substances; assists with cleansing the respiratory tract by expelling mucous build-up in the lungs and sinuses. Always choose only fresh garlic, not garlic powder which is void of most of the health benefits mentioned above.
Cilantro is a safe, natural defense against today’s environmental toxins. Cilantro aids in cleansing the body of toxic metals, especially aluminum, by supporting the body’s own natural detoxification processes. Compounds found in cilantro leaf attach to toxic metals and release them naturally from your system. These benefits are had by consuming the raw leaves or ingesting concentrated extracts. Some plants are considered chelators; that is, they can bind to heavy metals and allow your body to excrete them. Evidence suggests that cilantro is an effective chelator. This medical study provides evidence that cilantro can accelerate the body’s urinary excretion of mercury and lead from the body. Another study showed that lead levels in tissues were significantly decreased in laboratory mice by administering coriander.
Truly one of the most powerful healing foods, blueberries contain natural aspirin that helps lessen the tissue-damaging effects of chronic inflammation while lessening pain. Blueberries also act as antibiotics by blocking bacteria in the urinary tract, thereby helping to prevent infections. They also have antiviral properties and help to block toxins from crossing the blood-brain barrier to gain access to the delicate brain.
Onions, especially red onions, are best known for two things: bad breath and tears. The popular vegetable found in most types of cuisine gives dishes their flavorful taste, transforming any meal into an aromatic experience. Raw onions not only provide an excellent taste for our palates but provide therapeutic and antibacterial properties that cleanse and detox our bodies to eliminate disease.
Experts like Dr. Jonathan Stegall, an integrative medicine practitioner in Johns Creek, Ga., emphasize the beneficial properties of onions for our health. “Onions contain a high amount of sulfur compounds, which not only give onions their recognizable smell but are also powerful detoxifying agents,” he told Medical Daily in an email. With more than 100 sulfur-containing compounds, which cause the eyes to tear, onions can help prevent and treat ailments, from diabetes to heart disease, with daily consumption.
Red onions get their bite from the many sulfur groups they contain. These sulfur groups include the diallyl sulfides: DMS, DDS, DTS & DTTS. These sulfur groups help produce cysteine within the body that aids in weight loss, detoxification, and cancer prevention. Additional research has shown that sulfur compounds have a strong antioxidant capacity that inhibits blood cell clumping.
Probiotic (Fermented) Foods
Our digestive system depends on thousands of different bacteria that help us to break down and digest food. Toxins, pharmaceutical drugs, and illness kill off those bacteria, so it is essential to keep replacing or supplementing the digestive system bacteria. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and pickled vegetables can help your intestines as they naturally release toxins and waste products. Fermented foods are some of the most potent detox foods and can draw out a wide range of heavy metals. The beneficial bacteria grab hold of mercury, lead, aluminum, arsenate, and anything else toxic, holding on to them until they’re removed through stool.
Completing a Full-Body Cleanse
In the world in which we live, there is just no way to avoid toxins completely. We have plenty of sources, such as toxins in our food and water, air pollution, secondhand smoke, vehicle emissions, personal care products, cleaning products, skincare products, airborne fungal spores, herbicides, and pesticides – to name a few. The good news is that a diet rich in detox foods is ideal for maintaining good health. However, even with the most pristine diet, toxins can make their way into the body. As such, the importance of full-body cleansing cannot be overstated. I recommend completing a full body cleanse at least two times every year – preferably in the spring and fall. The beginning step to any full body detox is a thorough colon cleanse, and Oxy-Powder® can help with that. Oxy-Powder is a scientifically formulated, safe, effective, all-natural colon cleaner that utilizes oxygen and magnesium to cleanse and detoxify your entire digestive tract gently.
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