Cleanses, detoxes, juice fasts–this time of year social media and the internet are flooded with the latest detox diets and protocols. After the glutton that usually ensues during the holidays, you may find yourself ready to reboot. But is a restrictive cleanse really the way to health?
For most people the answer is a loud, resounding “No!” Our bodies were built to elegantly detoxify all by themselves. Our liver, lymphatic, and digestive system are the queens of detoxification. In healthy individuals these beautiful systems don’t need fancy detox diets or cleanses to do their job. They are built to detoxify.
Now…you might be thinking, “But wait! I’m struggling with chronic gut inflammation, (or fatty liver disease, or autoimmunity, or…) Don’t I need more detoxification support?”
Detox support? Yes.
Crazy juice fast or other super restrictive diet? No.
While eating a whole foods diet coupled with targeted supplementation is extremely supportive of your detoxification pathways, what most people really need is quite simple: more water, more sleep, a balanced diet, and less stress. Period.
Now, if you want to up your nutrition game, read on for more tips. But don’t skip the water. Or the extra sleep. Or the self-care. It is just as important.
Top 5 Superfoods to Support Detoxification, Naturally
The foods below are full of antioxidants. Antioxidants aid the detoxification process by neutralizing free radicals that build up in the body. They also rid our body from environmental toxins (like flame retardant, pesticides, and BPA) that cause disease.
Add these superfoods to your daily routine to support the daily detox process.
- Pomegranate: This gorgeous fruit packs a powerhouse when it comes to detoxification. It is full of potent antioxidants, like ellagic acid, anthocyanins, and punicalagins making it a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. Add pomegranate seeds to a salad, or mix 2 oz of pomegranate juice with sparkling water for a refreshing spritzer.
- Green Tea: Green tea boosts liver detoxification by helping your body break down and eliminate toxins. It is also a powerful antioxidant. Sensitive to caffeine? Try this: Steep your tea for 60 seconds in near boiling water, then discard the water and keep the bag. Refill your cup with more near boiling water using the same tea bag. The majority of the caffeine is released in the first 60 seconds of steeping, but most of the helpful components remain.
- Leafy Greens: Greens like kale, collards, broccoli, brussels sprouts, bok choy, and napa cabbage release chemicals called glucosinolates, indoles, and sulfraphanes that all support and increase detoxification pathways. They are also full of fiber, which keeps you regular—a very important habit for detoxification which we will talk about in a future post.
- Berries: Who doesn’t love these powerful little gems? Berries are chalk full of antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. Their rich, deep color comes from anthocyanins, a group antioxidant compounds that reduce free radicals and lower oxidative stress. In addition, berries are lower in sugar compared to other fruits, and high in fiber making them an incredibly nutrient dense food.
- Ground Flax Seed: Flax seeds contain a group of compounds called lignins, which helps your body bind and eliminate toxins (read—helps you poop!) Sprinkle a tablespoon in your oatmeal, add it to your morning smoothie, sprinkle on soup or salad. Make sure to keep flaxseeds in the refrigerator and try to consume freshly ground as they do go rancid rather quickly.
Test your detox!
Curious how well your detox pathways are running? Schedule a session with me for a detox assessment.
The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting a qualified health care practitioner. Please consult with a health care practitioner before making any lifestyle or dietary changes.