Cleanse your body naturally from chemicals and toxins
Supporting your body with nourishing foods that aid liver function and encourage detoxification is a great way to naturally cleanse the body from chemicals and toxins.
Constant exposure to dietary, lifestyle and environmental toxins like pesticides, food additives, alcohol, caffeine, heavy metals and pollution can put your detoxification organs under immense stress. The kidneys, liver, lungs, skin and bowel are continually working hard to expel pollutants from the body.
Fatigue, mood swings, acne/ breakouts, constipation, digestive problems, headaches, sleep issues and frequent bouts of illness are all linked to toxin build-up as these harmful poisons accumulate and cause havoc with your health.
Here are 5 must-eat detox foods to promote detoxification and allow organs to heal and regenerate.
The health benefits of garlic have been well documented over the years and it has a long history of medicinal use amongst natural health practitioners. With its antioxidant, cleansing and immune-boosting properties, garlic is an excellent food to promote detoxification via the liver pathways. To release the medicinal properties in garlic – a compound called allicin – garlic has to be chewed raw, crushed or sliced.
Black garlic is even more medicinally powerful than regular garlic. It is normal garlic that has been aged through a process called the ‘Maillard reaction’ – the garlic bulbs are heated to 76°C / 170°F for 30 days, giving it a distinctive black colour. During this fermentation process, the allicin in garlic is turned into a more powerful antioxidant called S-allyl-cysteine which is highly beneficial for the body.
It can reduce inflammation, extinguish free radicals from environmental toxins (these are reactive molecules that damage cells) and boost liver function. Black garlic has also shown promising results in destroying cancer cells, especially lung, breast and stomach cancer cells. Even though black garlic is not as common as normal garlic, you can buy it online for a reputable black garlic supplier or try making your own at home.
Broccoli sprouts are the young baby plants of broccoli – the first green shoots to appear after broccoli seeds have germinated. Both broccoli and broccoli sprouts contain an abundance of nutrients; however, broccoli sprouts are said to contain up to 100 times more nutrients and healing properties than fully grown broccoli.
Broccoli sprouts are part of the cruciferous vegetable family which are known for their detoxification properties. Naturally high in a compound called sulforaphane, broccoli sprouts have shown to improve liver enzyme activity, increase production of glutathione (an antioxidant that protects cells from damage) and reduce the stress that is imposed on the body from alcohol, drugs and environmental chemicals.
You can buy fresh broccoli sprouts and eat them raw by adding them to salads, smoothies, wraps/sandwiches or dips. Broccoli sprouts also come in a concentrated powdered form which you can simply add to water and drink or sprinkle on food.
Turmeric is a super herb with a long list of medicinal benefits including cleansing the liver and aiding detoxification by flushing out toxins. Rich in curcumin, a compound known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric has shown to be more effective than steroid medication for reducing pain and inflammation. Curcumin has also exhibited promising results in stimulating the growth and development of nerve cells in the brain and preventing the growth and spread of cancerous cells.
Turmeric is incredibly versatile and can be added to any type of food – soups, smoothies, curries, hummus, salad dressings. It also makes a nice warming turmeric latte or cup of golden milk. Drinking turmeric and lemon water first thing in the morning is great way to start the day and kickstart your liver. Squeeze half a fresh lemon into warm water and add ½ tsp of ground organic turmeric powder or fresh grated turmeric.
Another great detox drink is fresh organic carrot juice with fresh turmeric. Use a cold pressed juicer to ensure nutrients and enzymes are kept intact. Carrots are rich in carotenoids (plant pigments that works as antioxidants) which help detoxify the body and boost metabolism.
With its high levels of pectin, a gelatinous fibre that binds and excretes toxins, grapefruit is one the best fruits for detoxifying the liver and kidneys. Grapefruit also provides an excellent source of vitamin C to support immune function and has shown increase glutathione production – this is an important antioxidant that protects cells from toxin damage. Grapefruits can be eaten as they are or juiced using a citrus squeeze juicer or a cold-pressed juicer.
The seeds found in grapefruits are very potent and contain many medicinal properties. They have shown to be effective against candida, hard to treat urinary tract infections, fungal infections, tummy bugs and skin wounds. You can either eat the seeds and white skin inside a fresh grapefruit or in a supplemental form as a grapefruit seed extract (a liquid extract derived from grapefruit seeds and pulp). Like all fruit, grapefruit is best consumed during hot/ warm seasons and not in winter.
If you are taking medication, be aware that grapefruit can interact with certain drugs and increase their concentration in the blood stream. Grapefruits contain a plant compound called flavonoids that may inhibit certain enzymes in the liver, slowing down drug excretion and therefore increasing their half-life. That said, grapefruits have been used therapeutically to reduce medication dose. This must be done under the guidance of a practitioner.
Matcha green tea
Even though it’s not technically a food, matcha powder can be added to food like smoothies, breakfast oats, granola, coconut yoghurt or baked goods. It’s also commonly used as a tea or to make a matcha latte. Matcha is a powdered form of high-grade green tea that originates from Japan.
As it is concentrated, matcha is much more potent than green tea and one cup of matcha is equivalent to drinking 10 cups of green tea. It’s said to contain 137 times more nutrients and antioxidants than ordinary green tea. Samurai warriors drank matcha tea before battle to boost their energy and focus their minds. Celebrities like Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow and Serena Williams swear by matcha and consider it part of their healthy dietary regimes.
Due to its high chlorophyll content, matcha is excellent for detoxifying the body. Chlorophyll (the green pigment found in plants) binds up toxic heavy metals and promotes circulation and oxygen supply – all of which help alkalise the body and assist with the elimination of harmful toxins. Matcha is also known for its thermogenic (fat-burning) capabilities and ability to boost metabolism.