Best Way to Cleanse and Detox your Body the Healthy, Natural Way & a List of Detoxifying Foods

Best Way to Cleanse and Detox your Body the Healthy, Natural Way & a List of Detoxifying Foods

Want a healthy, natural way to cleanse & detoxify your body? Here is how to detox the right way and a list of the best detoxifying foods

 

Detoxification – what does it actually mean?

Detoxification is the removal of ‘toxic’ substances from the body. The liver’s main function is to do exactly this, and it does it well

 

We are constantly being exposed to toxins found in the air, water, food and in the environment

 

2 Main Types of Toxins

Exogenous Toxins (made outside the body which can be ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin)

Some of these include:

  • Environmental pollutants & industrial ‘man-made’ chemicals
  • Heavy metals such as mercury, lead and arsenic
  • Micro-organisms (bacteria, fungi, parasites)
  • Hormones & antibiotics from inorganic meats
  • Food additives, chemicals & coloring’s
  • MSG, aspartame, HFCS, trans fats, nitrites/nitrates
  • Vegetable oils (canola, soybean, corn oils)
  • Pesticides, Insecticides
  • Biphenol A (BPA) found in plastic
  • Prescription drugs, alcohol, nicotine & other drugs
  • Other contaminants

Endogenous Toxins (produced inside the body)

These result from various metabolic activities:

  • carbon dioxide
  • lactic acid
  • urea
  • free radicals

Best Way to Cleanse and Detox your Body the Healthy, Natural Way & a List of Detoxifying Foods - liver

 

How the Body Gets Rid of Toxins

When the body is in a healthy condition, it has a remarkable capacity to naturally get rid of toxins. The liver, kidneys, lungs, skin, lymphatic system & colon, all play a role in eliminating toxins effectively. These systems kick in to action as soon as the body is exposed to a particular toxin. The liver turns toxic substances into water soluble molecules that can be sweated or excreted out of the body. The kidneys release waste products as urine, or waste products can be eliminated in stool or bile

 

Your liver – the body’s main detox organ

The liver is one of the hardest working organs and deals with whatever goes in to the body. It is involved in detoxifying the blood, storing nutrients, fat metabolism, hormone synthesis and cholesterol maintenance

The liver is the only organ that can regenerate itself. A liver in good health works as efficiently at 80 years of age as it did at the age of 20

Best Way to Cleanse and Detox your Body the Healthy, Natural Way & a List of Detoxifying Foods - Liver

Required nutrients for the detoxification process to occur

Your liver needs the following essential nutrients & compounds to help it do it’s job:

  • B Vitamins – such as Niacin (B3), Pyridoxine (B6) and Folic Acid
  • Vitamin C – an effective detoxifier of the heavy metals and chemical poisons
  • Vitamin E – a powerful antioxidant good for removing toxins
  • Vitamin A (& Carotenoids) – detoxifies the blood and neutralizes harmful chemicals
  • Glutathione – an important antioxidant involved in the detoxification process
  • Amino Acids – especially glutamine, glycine, taurine & cysteine
  • Sulfur-containing amino acids & sulphurated chemicals (eg. found in garlic & cruciferous vegetables)
  • Magnesium – keeps the body from absorbing heavy metals and helps to remove them from the body

We will discuss foods that provide these nutrients, as well as other properties found in foods that help to rid the body of toxic substances

 

Do Toxins Accumulate in the Body?

The body does a perfectly good job at clearing out toxins from the body. Toxins may sometimes need to go through the detoxification process multiple times to be cleared out, but can never accumulate in the liver. Vitamin A, Iron and Copper are the only molecules that can accumulate to toxic levels in the liver, but this only occurs in extremely rare cases.

However, having too much exposure to environmental toxins can put strain on organs, affecting their ability to carry out their functions properly. Toxins can accumulate and be stored in fat cells, myelin sheaths (protective layer that cover nerve cells) & if levels get high enough, in the connective tissues (eg. ligaments, bone), muscle tissue and nerve tissues. Recent research has shown that the accumulation of toxins in specific tissues can lead to related health problems, and potentially lead to organ damage & disease if levels get too high

 

How will I know If I need a detox?

Best Way to Cleanse and Detox your Body the Healthy, Natural Way & a List of Detoxifying Foods - Checklist

Symptoms of toxicity may take years to manifest but can include:

  • Non-specific Illness (difficult to categorize) – such as fatigue, headaches, bad breath, muscle stiffness, depression, allergies, insomnia
  • Specific Illness – such as migraine, arthritis, flu, immune deficiencies, digestive problems, tumor growth

Some other health effects may include: hormonal imbalances, neurological disturbances, memory loss & mood disorders

Toxins can lead to physical, emotional and psychological imbalances. If you have been experiencing any of the above symptoms, it be signs that your body is in need of a good detox. Having a high level of toxins in the body can weaken the immune system, slow down metabolism and make you more susceptible to stress & disease. Ignoring it can lead to chronic system toxicity and cause damage to organs & tissues

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A Word on Antibiotics

If you have been taking antibiotics or been consuming large quantities of non-organic animal products, you are likely to have residual antibiotics in your system

Antibiotics found in dairy, eggs, meat, farm-raised fish & foods containing animal products as ingredients, kill the healthy bacteria in your gut. Good bacteria is needed to help detoxify the body. Eliminating these foods can help to restore digestive balance

 

Benefits of Detoxing

A detox can assist the body’s natural self-detoxifying system. Regularly detoxing the system can lead to a lot of positive outcomes, including:

  • Increased energy
  • Clearer skin
  • Clarity of thought & focus
  • Less stress
  • Increased resistance to colds, flu and infection
  • Boosted immunity
  • Relieve symptoms of disease

 

Common Forms of Detox

There are many products made by the health & diet industry that claim to “remove toxins from the body” through various methods. First of all, they never define what the “toxins” are and there has been no scientific evidence to prove that you can improve the body’s ability to remove toxins with any detox treatment.  Speeding up or interfering with the body’s natural way of detoxifying the body can sometimes even do more harm than good. If you were to “release” the body’s ‘built up’ toxins all at once, it would send the body in shock

 

These are some methods that all promise to remove toxins from the body:

Liver Cleansing a ‘liver booster’ or detox treatment that claims to cleanse the liver or help the liver to function better – there is no such thing as being able to improve how the liver functions

Colon Cleansing – enemas or other methods that involve ‘flushing’ the colon – your colon does not accumulate toxins and cleans itself very efficiently.

Dangers: You may be washing away beneficial bacteria and can potentially lose the ability to have regular bowel movements afterwards. Regular use of laxatives can cause dehydration, electrolyte imbalances and horrible side effects like nausea or diarrhea. It can also cause you to have constipation after use, as bowels become accustomed to the laxatives

Herbal Cleanses – homeopathy, teas & supplements – these may offer health benefits but there have been no studies to support the use of these to remove toxins from the body

Other methods include: removing dental fillings & chelation therapy

 

What About Juice Cleanses?

We have already mentioned in a previous post that juice cleanses has it’s pros and cons, depending on duration & the way that it is used. Here, we are talking about the ‘real’ fruit & vegetable juices, freshly squeezed using a juicer

Cons

Limiting your diet to only these fruit and/or vegetable juices can devoid your body of all the essential nutrients you know are important for optimal health ie. carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals

During a juice fast, you may notice a lack of energy and that you don’t feel full & satisfied after a juice. This is due to many reasons but the obvious one is that if you are using a juicer, you are actually getting rid of the fiber which helps to satiate you (fill you up). This, along with depriving your body with healthy fats & proteins (and complex carbohydrates such as wholegrains), eventually puts your body in starvation mode. As we have learnt, this is definitely not the safe way to lose weight

Pros

Incorporating cleansing juices as part of your overall diet can help you benefit from the many micro-nutrients found in fresh fruit & vegetables, without depleting your body of energy or other essential nutrients. The takeaway here is that you should be consuming these drinks to accompany other healthy foods in your diet, or replace a single meal with one of these drinks to assist in weight loss. It is not a good idea to base your diet on these drinks alone (for no more than 2 days anyway)

 

Fasting or Detox Diets – detox diets or fasting involve consuming or avoiding certain foods (ie. fats, carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, juices, herbs, water)

Again, as explained in a previous post, going on a detox diet or fast for too long period of time can lead to the loss of electrolytes & nutrient deficiencies. Nor does it eliminate toxins from the body

 

Take Home Message

A detox program can be quite tempting, especially after a period of overindulgence. But, all of the above methods have been proven unsuccessful at removing toxins & cannot improve the body’s ability to eliminate toxins. Our bodies are well designed to eliminate toxins & no special herbs, spices, juices or remedies can enhance this process. While some advice can be useful and provide health benefits, changing overall dietary habits and what you put in to your body is a much more effective approach than a ‘quick fix’ detox pill, treatment or ritual

 

Detox your Body the Natural, Healthy Way

Watch this video to find out how you can naturally detoxify your body

Summary of the Video
Reasons People Detox
  • Efforts to Lose Weight
  • Increase Energy
  • Get rid of toxins from the body
  • Give the liver & digestive system a break

When doing a detox, aim to do it for at least 10-14 days

Do…

#1 Drink water

Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water daily (weight in pounds) to allow the kidneys, liver, lungs and sweat glands to eliminate toxins

(Body weight in kgs x 0.033 = amount of litres)

Tip: Instead of drinking a coffee in the morning, jump start your body with lemon water

#2 Exercise

Improving circulation & sweating more can be beneficial to help remove unwanted debris from the body. More oxygen also helps rid the body of toxins

Aim for at least 20 minutes of exercise per day

#3 Eat fruit, vegetables, legumes & beans, non-refined grains

(or a gluten free, raw food diet if you can)

Giving the body the right nutrients is as important as removing toxins from the body. These foods are also high in fiber to help get things moving

Eliminate…

#4 Alcohol, coffee & cigarettes

Get rid of these known harmful chemicals

#5 Fast food, junk food & fried foods

Greasy, fatty, salty foods can mess with your energy & mood, and only provide ’empty calories’

#6 Processed foods

Cut out all packaged food. These also include refined sugars, grains & flours. Also eliminate soft drinks & vegetable oils

#7 Meat & dairy

A well as eliminating toxic foods and substances such as alcohol, excess caffeine, processed foods and refined sugar, health experts advise to eliminate animal foods

Dairy causes inflammation in the body & meat is difficult for the body to digest. Toxins can found in animals such as antibiotics & hormones. Animal proteins also makes the body acidic & too much protein can put strain on the liver. Try to limit as much meat from your diet as you can, especially red meat – try eating more lentils. They provide just enough protein & is easy to digest

#8 Stress

Stress can impair your body’s ability to remove toxins

#9 Acid-forming Foods

Reduce consumption of foods that make the body’s blood acidic

Some of these include: dairy, meat, peanuts, soft drinks, shellfish and vinegar

 

A visual summary

Best Way to Cleanse and Detox your Body the Healthy, Natural Way & a List of Detoxifying Foods - Guide

 

So, What Would A Detox Diet Look Like?

Eating a whole foods, plant based diet is one of the best things you can do for your liver. Your liver needs to receive more nutrients than it filters out toxins in order to stay in good health. Plant food sources provide nutrients, fiber, water and plant chemicals that all help the body detox naturally. One study found that a vegetarian diet (high in fiber and low in animal protein) also produces fewer toxins

Include the following foods in your diet:

Best Way to Cleanse and Detox your Body the Healthy, Natural Way & a List of Detoxifying Foods - diet

* = buy organic

Vegetables & Leafy greens

Dark Leafy Vegetables – consume a lot of these, such as Kale (most nutrient dense), Bok Choy and Spinach*

Other Vegetables – such as Asparagus, Artichoke, Beet, Carrots, Parsnips, Sweet Potato

 

Detoxifying Herbs & Spices

Cilantro, Parlsey & Turmeric

 

Fruits

Blackberries, Blueberries, Cherries, Grapes*, Papaya, Pineapple, Pomegranate, Raspberries, Strawberries*

 

Wholegrains

Such as Quinoa, Brown rice, Millet, Buckwheat, Teff and Popcorn – all gluten free grains

Wholegrains are incredibly high in fiber, keeping you regular which is vital for detoxification

 

Plant Proteins

Lentils, Chickpeas, Red Kidney Beans, Peas & Other Beans

Amino Acids get used to make sure the detoxification process can happen efficiently

Other sources of protein: Wild caught fish, Organic Free Range Eggs, Nuts & seeds

 

Healthy Fats

Seeds – Flaxseeds (ground), Chia Seeds, Sunflower & Pumpkin Seeds

Nuts –  Almonds, Brazil nuts, Cashews, Hazel nuts, Pecans, Walnuts (not Peanuts), Coconut

Nut Butters (from nuts in list above), Avocado

Oily, wild caught fish – Herring, Sardines, Mackerel, Salmon

The liver needs some healthy fats to function properly but too much (of the wrong kind of fat) can cause problems with bile production & fat digestion

Avocado and walnuts help the body produce glutathione (an antioxidant used for detox and filtering out harmful substances)

 

Healthy Oils

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Hemp Oil, Flaxseed Oil, Grapeseed Oil

Avoid Vegetable Oils such as Canola, Corn & Sunflower oil

 

Tip: Use these ingredients to make a detox drink

 

Eating this diet can help to:

  • Eliminate sugar cravings
  • Kick a caffiene habit
  • Boost your metabolism
  • Assist the body in removing toxins
  • Boost brain clarity
  • Kick start weight loss

 

Properties Found in Foods that Help Detoxify the Body

 

Pectin

Pectin is a soluble form of fiber that has cleansing properties and helps to remove heavy metals (and other contaminants) from the blood. Pectin also helps to remove bad cholesterol from the body

Best Way to Cleanse and Detox your Body the Healthy, Natural Way & a List of Detoxifying Foods - Pectin

Foods that contain high levels of pectin include:

  • Apples – crisp & tart apples, such as granny smith apples, contain more pectin than others
  • Citrus Fruit  pectin is high in citrus peel. Citrus fruits are also high in Vitamin C which helps turn toxins into digestible material

Others include:

  • Pears
  • Guavas
  • Plums
  • Gooseberries
  • Carrots
  • Quinces

Lower amounts are found in:

  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Strawberries

 

Chlorophyll

Cholorphyll helps to purify the blood & alkalize the body

Chlorophyll is a ‘pigment’ that give plants their green color and closely resembles our red blood cells. Hemoglobin is the ‘pigment’ which gives our blood it’s red colour (Hemoglobin carries oxygen around the blood)

Best Way to Cleanse and Detox your Body the Healthy, Natural Way & a List of Detoxifying Foods - Chlorophyll

Best sources for chlorophyll are:

  • Green Leafy Vegetables – Kale, Spinach, Chard, Romaine Lettuce & Arugula
  • Broccoli
  • Spirilina
  • Chlorella

Other Benefits of Chlorophyll:

  • Blood cleanser, builder & oxygen booster
  • Good for the Immune system, fights infection & free radicals
  • Stimulates bowel movements & good for intestinal flora
  • Anti-inflammotory
  • Fights anemia
  • Skin disorders
  • Kidney stones

 

Glucosinolates

The glucosinolates found in cruciferous vegetables help to produce, and increase the number of, detoxifying enzymes involved in the detoxification process

Best Way to Cleanse and Detox your Body the Healthy, Natural Way & a List of Detoxifying Foods - Glucosinolates

Foods include:

Argula, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Daikon, Horseradish, Kale, Radishes, Swiss Chard, Turnips

Also found in:

Leafy Greens – such as Collards, Kale, Mustard Greens, Spinach, Watercress

 

Sulfur-rich foods

Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that protect the cells from damage caused by free radicals. It is the sulfur (SH) that give this antioxidant it’s secret weapon

Sulfur, commonly known for it’s rotten egg-like smell, is a ‘sticky’ molecule that helps the body eliminate heavy metals such as lead & mercury, by them ‘sticking’ to them & removing them

Best Way to Cleanse and Detox your Body the Healthy, Natural Way & a List of Detoxifying Foods - Sulfur

When toxic load becomes too great, glutathione may not be produced, so it is important to include these foods in your diet:

  • Leafy greens Kale, Bok Choy, Mustard Greens
  • Cruciferous vegetables Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower
  • Onions and Garlic – Allicin & Selenium also help to cleanse the body
  • Other Foods Asparagus, Avocado, Tomatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Turnips & Nuts

Note: Animal proteins contain more sulfur-containing amino acids than plants do but form acids in the body instead of making the body alkaline

 

Other foods that can help get rid of ‘heavy metals’ from the body:

  • Cilantro (or coriander) remove heavy metals such as mercury, aluminium and lead
  • Parsley – extremely effective at removing mercury

 

A Full List of Foods that Naturally Cleanse & Detoxify the Body

Here are the foods that naturally detox your system and keeps your insides healthy. Eat more of these increbibly detoxing foods

Best Way to Cleanse and Detox your Body the Healthy, Natural Way & a List of Detoxifying Foods - Collage

Apples

Full of wonderful nutrients used in the detox process, such as malic acid which removes carcinogens and toxins from the body. Malic acid is especially high in granny smith apples. Granny smith apples are also the most antioxidant-rich of the apple varieties. Choose organic apples, as they can contain high amounts of pesticide residues

Artichokes

Chock-full of cynarin which increases bile production & promotes healthy digestion

Avocado

One study found that avocados contain compounds that protect the liver from galactosomine, a powerful toxin

Beets

With it’s rich red blood-like color, ironically beets are very effective at detoxifying the blood. High in antioxidants (including betalains), dietary fiber (pectin) and many other nutrients, they help to absorb toxins and flush them out of the body. Beets also support gall bladder health (an organ also involved in breaking down and removing toxins)

Broccoli

Contains 2 very special nutrients called indol-3-carbinol and diindolylmethane, both been shown to reduce cancer by supporting liver function. Also are high in fiber, Vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant) and many other beneficial nutrients

Brussels Sprouts (& other cruciferous vegetables)

Delivers a large dose of vitamins while neutralizing and eliminating toxins

Carrots

Contains high levels of beta-carotene, also needed to assist the body to detoxify itself

Cucumber

With 95% water, helps to flush out toxins & alkalize the body

Flaxseed

The fiber binds to & flushes out toxins from the intestinal tract, while providing essential omega 3 fatty acids

Garlic (& Onions)

Thanks to the sulphur-containing chemical allicin, it helps the liver take fat soluble toxins and convert to water soluble molecules so can be excreted. It also activates liver enzymes to help flush toxins out. Allicin is best activated when fresh garlic or onion is minced, crushed or chopped. These also have anti-viral, antiseptic and antibiotic properties, ridding your body of pathogenic microbes

Green Tea

The powerful antioxidants makes green tea a powerful detoxifier

Kale

One of the most powerful cleansers due to it’s high chlorophyll levels (as well as being packed with many other nutrients)

Lemons

Stimulates the release of enzymes and helps convert toxins into a water-soluble form that can be easily excreted out of the body. Lemons also stimulate bile production. Drink lemon water, which is alkaline forming despite being acidic on their own, first thing in the morning. Also add flaxseeds to enhance toxin removal. It has been found that the liver produces more enzymes in response to water with lemon more than any other food. Also, high in electrolytes, lemon water is used as a salt replacement for people with liver disease

Lentils

High in fiber, lentils aids in toxin elimination, lower cholesterol & balances blood sugar

Mung beans

This easily digestible bean absorbs toxic residue from the intestinal walls

Sea Vegetables/ Seaweeds

The powerful antioxidant algin  helps alkalize the body & improve digestion. Algin is found in kelp and algae, like chlorella, and prevent tissues from absorbing heavy metals

Sunflower seeds

High in selenium & vitamin E, assists the liver’s detoxing capabilities and also prevents cholesterol build up

Turmeric

Curcumin stimulates liver function to encourage detoxification. It helps enzymes to flush out known dietary carcinogens, protects the liver from damage, encourages regeneration of liver cells and increases natural bile production. It supports pretty much every chemical pathway involved in liver health. Turmeric is also a power anti-inflammatory agent which helps to promote optimal digestion and fat metabolism

Turnip greens

Antioxidants & sulfur-containing nutrients activate and regulate detoxification enzymes

Walnuts

Infuses the body with healthy omega 3’s to assist detoxification

Watercress

Keeps free radicals away from cells, energizes cleansing enzymes in the liver & is a natural diuretic

 

Summary

Our body is capable of naturally getting rid of toxins we ingest and are exposed to. Although it is impossible to completely avoid all toxin exposure, reducing the toxins from food by maintaining a healthy diet, is an easy way to rid your body of some of these nasty toxins. A whole food, plant based diet is free of toxins, rich in antioxidants and contain naturally cleansing compounds which assist in liver detoxification

Detox diets can be expensive, unnecessary and potentially harmful. The best way to detox would be to:

  • Eat healthy, organic foods
  • Exercise more
  • Eat smaller amounts of animal protein
  • Avoid sugar, processed & animal foods
  • Cut down alcohol & caffiene consumption
  • Avoid using antibiotics & prescription drugs

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