You are what you eat…and what you don’t eat. Of all the ways to influence health, diet has the greatest impact. The right foods can nourish us and assist our bodies in their remarkable detoxification abilities. The wrong foods can rob us of nutrients and fill us up with harmful chemicals instead. As an integrative physician specializing in safe, clinically proven detoxification, my patients often ask my advice on the best natural foods for a cleansing detox diet.
Here are some of my top recommendations.
How To Do a Detox Diet
Before we start removing toxins from the body, we need to make sure we’re not putting any more in. Reducing or eliminating red meat and dairy from your diet can be a foundational first step towards detoxification. In addition, eliminate alcohol, processed foods, refined grains like flour, cooked oils, sugar, caffeine, and table salt. All of these foods fuel inflammation and can increase toxic body burden.
Now, here’s what you CAN eat, and should, to fuel and detox your body safely and naturally: Increase your servings of fresh vegetables (organic if possible to avoid opens in a new windowhealth-robbing pesticides). Eating whole legumes, seeds, nuts, and whole grains like brown rice, or quinoa (technically “pseudo-grain” which is a healthier grain alternative), and lean organic protein from chicken, turkey, or eggs is recommended. In particular, emphasize cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, which are extremely high in potent phytonutrients that boost detoxification. Alkalizing vegetables, like avocado, celery and cucumber, counteract acidity and help remove toxins. For maximum detoxification, eat your vegetables raw, juiced, steamed or sautéed in water. Cooking foods in oil can fuel inflammation in your body and increase the toxic burden on your liver and digestive system.
Fiber is essential for moving toxins from your GI tract and key for a healthy gut. I recommend flax seeds, psyllium and rice bran. Chia seeds are also an amazing source of fiber, protein and omega 3 fatty acids.
Hydration is of upmost importance for detox. Be sure to drink at least 8-10 glasses of filtered water each day to flush toxins and keep your bowels moving. Herbal teas and low-sodium vegetable broths are a great choice for extra hydration as well. Dehydration impedes cleansing and can cause toxins to reabsorb into your system.
Detox Superfoods and Nutrients for a Healthy Cleanse
Besides adopting a balanced diet, there are special superfoods and nutritious natural ingredients that can support total-body detox. Top choices include:
Medicinal Mushrooms are excellent antioxidant-rich detox ingredients that help balance the immune system, reduce inflammation, and even repair damaged tissues. Many medicinal mushrooms are also culinary varieties, like shiitake, maitake, and oyster mushrooms, which can be added to your favorite recipes for mega health benefits. opens in a new windowMedicinal mushrooms demonstrate an uncanny intelligence in the body, and are drawn to areas that are toxic or damaged, where they work to remove toxins and repair tissues.
Fermented vegetables are amazing gut detoxifiers. The fermentation process unlocks powerful nutrients, boosts immunity and supports optimal gut balance. Sauerkraut, kimchee and other cultured foods, as well as opens in a new windowfermented probiotic drinks, are rich in beneficial bacteria, enzymes and healthy acids that boost digestive health, and cleanse and repair your gut.
Apples are high in antioxidants and inhibit an inflammatory protein in the body called tumor necrosis factor (TNF-a). Apples are high in quercetin, a polyphenol that has also been found to suppress unhealthy inflammation. Their high fiber and high pectin content, especially in green apples, helps mop up toxins in the digestive tract. With this information, the old saying “An apple a day…” makes a lot of sense.
Ginger contains a powerful therapeutic compound called gingerol that reduces inflammation, while supporting digestion and circulation—critical components of healthy detoxification. Ginger teas and ginger baths also promote sweating, a key detoxification pathway.
Olive Oil and Lemon can be blended into a refreshing beverage that boosts liver detox and supports a healthy gut. Here’s a healthy detox recipe: Simply blend one organic lemon (cut into small pieces), 1 & ¼ cups filtered water and a tablespoon of olive oil. Partially strain the mixture, leaving a little pulp. Drink before bed on an empty stomach. This detox drink helps detoxify the liver, gallbladder and digestive tract and even improves sleep. The pectin from the lemon peel also supports detoxification.
Clinically Proven Detox Formula
A cleansing, anti-inflammatory diet, following the detox guidelines shared here, forms the foundation of a successful cleanse, and can deliver powerful benefits for long-term health and vitality. To boost your detox diet program, I recommend a clinically researched formula with opens in a new windowModified Citrus Pectin and alginates. This super-nutrient detox supplement blend is proven to cleanse the bloodstream and GI tract of heavy metals and other harmful toxins, and improve overall health. As a natural detox binding formula, this blend is safe and gentle for daily defense against harmful toxins, because it doesn’t remove essential nutrients the way other harsh detox methods can do.
Unfortunately, toxins are a permanent part of our daily life. However, by making mindful choices with diet and natural detox ingredients, we can keep pollutants and waste from accumulating in our body, and improve overall health, for life.