FOOD DETOX STRATEGIES
In the previous blog, we discussed different routes throughout your body where detoxification occurs. We'll now go further into some natural ways to assist our body in those processes. We'll start with foods we can consume daily and then supplements that do just that, supplement what we cannot take in through diet alone.
We'll start with the basics... vegetables. Dark leafy greens contain antioxidants that remove free radicals. Free radicals are an atom, or group of atoms that has at least one free electron making it unstable and highly reactive. Free radicals can damage cells and accelerate the progression of cancer as well as age related diseases. Dark leafy greens include: kale, spinach, turnip greens, beet greens, swiss chard, watercress, arugala, collard greens, mustard greens, bok choy, broccoli rabe, dandelion greens, romaine lettuce, and endive.
Crucifers support the liver which is one of the largest filters of toxins in the body. Crucifers will slow down the enzymes in the first phase of liver detox for removal of toxins from the body. Some leafy greens are also considered crucifers. Kind of like, all chinos are pants but not all pants are chinos. So, you'll see some repeats show up on this list, which includes: Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, chinese cabbage, collard greens, daikon, garden cress, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, komatsuna, land cress, mizuna, mustard, radish, rutabaga, tatsol, wasabi, and watercress.
Herbs and spices are also an excellent way to incorporate detox in your meals. These herbs and spices can help detoxify the body by offering antioxidants, aiding in digestion, supporting liver and kidneys, and/or binding to heavy metals. This list includes: Cardamom, cayenne pepper, cilantro, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, horseradish, parsley, rosemary, saffron, turmeric.
Citrus protects liver function and prevents oxidative damage from free radicals. They are also a good source of fiber (see below) and are great for digestive health. Popular varieties of citrus fruits include: Lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit, and mandarins.
We can't forget the power of fiber, which is plentiful in many fruits and vegetables. Fiber helps the transit of toxins through the digestive system. Some fiber is fermented in the colon, producing good bacteria that strenghtens the gut lining.
N-Acetyl Cysteine is a supplement near and dear to my heart. In my book, it is the ultimate detoxifier. I've taken it for over two years and have no plans to stop. This powerhouse supplement has so many benefits, the biggest of which are detoxification of the liver and removal of oxidative stress from the body. I distinctly remember using this drug in my days of ER nursing when we would have someone who overdosed on Tylenol. Usually, it was a teenager who was trying to get the attention of a parent and thought that Tylenol was the safest choice to get attention or cry for help without causing too much damage to the body. Unfortunately, they were wrong. It causes liver damage and complete failure if not treated promptly. It smells like rotten eggs (so don't sniff the bottle) but has multiple health benefits.
Milk Thistle is also a good detox for the liver. It actually contains compounds that support skin, liver, and bone health. It lowers blood sugars and may also slow the growth of cancer. The active ingredient in milk thistle is called salymarin. The most common use of milk thistle is the treatment of liver related diseases such as cirrhosis, jaundice, hepatitis, and gallbladder disorders.
Probiotics help the gut work at peak performance. In doing this, they aid in removal of toxins throughout the digestive system. Probiotics are correlated with strong anti-carcinogenesis and anti-mutagenesis action by decreasing toxin absorption and toxicity.
Mother nature has given us organic, natural ways to remove toxins and man-made synthetic garbage from our bodies. The Standard American Diet (SAD) contains very little of these natural foods that aid in helping our bodies function properly. Keeping your motor clean will help you function with a clearer head, stronger heart, and maximum energy. Remember, never value your habits and lifestyle over your life. Introducing one good detox habit a day, can have dramatic changes over time. Til next time...