5 Naturally Detoxifying Foods to Eat Every Day
Help your body cleanse & detoxify with these 5 naturally detoxifying foods…
You probably hear a lot about cleansing and detoxification programs – especially this time of year! After all those rich holiday foods, cleansing your system just seems to make sense.
But do you really need to detox? After all, doesn’t your body take care of this on its own?
Absolutely – it can – but in some cases, your body can also benefit from some support – especially if it’s been a while since you’ve done a full detox or cleanse, as some toxins do accumulate in your tissues over time.
There are all kinds of “detox programs” on the market that promise miraculous results – often by encouraging you to take a rigorous regimen of supplements that make you poop, or spend a few days drinking nothing but lemon juice and maple syrup.
But there is no need to turn detoxification into a form of punishment! In fact, you can help your body cleanse and detoxify itself naturally simply by eating lots of healthy, nutritious, and naturally detoxifying foods.
Here are 5 of the best naturally detoxifying foods to include in your diet every day, according to PaleoHacks.com:
Sauerkraut isn’t just the hallmark condiment of hot dogs. In fact, sauerkraut (i.e., fermented cabbage) is one of the most powerful foods you can include in your diet each day for natural detoxification.
As a fermented food, sauerkraut contains beneficial bacteria (i.e., probiotics) that help promote bowel regularity, efficient digestion, and healthy-gut microbiome. Without a sufficient supply of healthy-gut bacteria, the small amount of “bad” bacteria that naturally exists in your digestive system can take over. An overgrowth of bad bacteria both impairs your body’s ability to detoxify and (in some cases) can produce their own toxins in your gut. (6)
Probiotics have also been shown to eliminate and bind to heavy metals that we absorb from our environment, such as lead and cadmium. (7)
Eating as little as ¼ cup of sauerkraut each day can help increase the amount of friendly bacteria in your gut and promote natural detoxification. If you’re not a fan of cabbage, other paleo-friendly fermented foods that contain probiotics include unsweetened coconut milk, unsweetened almond yogurt, coconut milk kefir, kimchi, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, and beet kvass.
Most of these fermented foods can be found at your local health food store, and sauerkraut is available at most grocery stores. It can easily be made at home with cabbage, salt, water, and a touch of patience (during the fermentation process). If you purchase sauerkraut, just be sure that you choose a variety that is unpasteurized. Otherwise, it won’t contain the beneficial bacteria.
2.) Dandelion Greens
Since your liver, kidneys, and gallbladder are three of the main organs involved in detoxification, it’s important to regularly eat foods that can help improve their natural functions. Dandelion greens and dandelion root are widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine—for promoting liver and gallbladder function, stimulating digestion, and relieving constipation. As a natural diuretic, dandelion also helps promote toxin elimination by increasing urine production. (8)
Although further research is required to understand exactly how dandelion promotes detoxification, it’s a good source of the antioxidant vitamin C, which can help disarm the cell- damaging activity of free radicals. (9)
Dandelion greens can be found at your local health food store, while dandelion root can be purchased as a tea, herbal tincture, or herbal supplement. It should be noted that while dandelion may have beneficial detoxification properties, it can negatively interact with prescription medications, and worsen existing kidney or gallbladder conditions. For this reason, it’s always best to check in with your healthcare practitioner before adding dandelion to your daily detox routine.
3.) Cruciferous Vegetables
It wouldn’t be fair to feature just one vegetable from the brassica family; they all have remarkable detoxification properties. The brassica family includes cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage.
Cruciferous vegetables are such powerful natural detoxifiers because they contain several compounds (including small amounts of sulfur), which assist the liver with both of the liver detoxification pathways (i.e., phase 1 and phase 2). (11) Phase 1 of liver detox primarily detoxifies harmful substances found in food (such as caffeine, alcohol, certain saturated fats, and pesticides). Phase 2 of liver detox is primarily used to detoxify harsher chemicals, drugs, and pharmaceuticals. (12)
Since cruciferous vegetables are extremely fibrous, the best way to absorb their detoxifying nutrients is by lightly steaming them. Then they’re easier to digest…
Garlic contains several detoxifying compounds, such as sulfur and a nutrient called allicin. Allicin is the active ingredient in garlic, which gives it all of its world-renowned health benefits, such as being a natural antimicrobial. (13) This nutrient has also been shown to significantly enhance the antioxidant and detoxification activity of the liver in studies done on rats. (14)
In the natural health world, drinking hot lemon water the first thing in the morning is one of the most common nutrition tips you’ll hear. But the detoxifying benefits of lemon aren’t just a myth.
The citric acid in lemon is said to help stimulate stomach-acid production, which improves digestive function and the proper elimination of toxins. In addition, the vitamin C found in lemon acts is a natural antioxidant, especially because it activates ascorbate peroxidase, an antioxidant enzyme (16).
The beauty of lemons is that they’re incredibly versatile in recipes, which makes it easy to add them to your daily diet. From homemade salad dressings to smoothies, curries, and Paleo baking recipes, lemons are more than just a tangy way to jazz up your water (although that works too).
Here are a few more naturally detoxifying foods to check out:
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