Agreed – whenever someone brings up some crazy juice fast I tell them why don’t you try the harder thing and just eat well instead.
‘Tis the season for juice diets, master cleanses and other well-intentioned but often misguided attempts to detoxify the body for the new year. You want to know how to detox most effectively? Stop worrying about detoxifying; eating a clean, varied whole foods diet will take care of that naturally.
Christine Gerbstadt, author of Doctor’s Detox Diet, said everything we need to detox is on our plates (or in our grocery carts) — “no special fasting diets, lemonade rinks or meal replacement bars” required. Simply choose whole foods that support the detox organs: The liver, kidneys, skin, lymphatic system and intestines.
Here are 13 detoxifying foods, drinks and dishes to get you started.
Apples. High in fibrous pectin, apples promote healthy colon function and waste excretion.
Artichokes. Artichokes promote liver health and soothe digestive problems like nausea and bloating thanks to a flavonoid antioxidant called silymarin. And a substance found in the leaves of artichokes, cynarin, helps the liver produce bile, which in turn helps the body break down fats.
Beets. Winter’s darlings are full of vitamins B3, B6, C and beta-carotene, iron, fiber, magnesium, zinc and calcium–all key components for colon and digestive tract cleansing. Beets also promote gallbladder and liver health.
Broccoli. Sulfurophane, a compound in broccoli and broccoli sprouts, aids in digestion and detoxification when the veggie is chewed and digested.
Curry. Or any food high in curcumin, the primary compound (or phenol) in the spice turmeric It’s anti-inflammatory and can trigger cell death in cancer cells, among other awesome things.
Detox soup. Perfect for winter, this recipe doesn’t discriminate much in terms of veggies; use what you’ve got to use up!
Green Tea. It’s high in catechins, an antioxidant flavonoid that speeds up liver activity by stimulating the production of digestion enzymes.
Greens. Greens are full of chlorophyll, a pigment that allows plants to absorb light and has powerful health benefits in humans, like binding to heavy metals and helping foster them out of the body.
Lemons. Though they taste acidic, lemons help alkalize the body, in addition to having diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Parsley, mint and other leafy green herbs. Also high in chlorophyl, as well as antioxidants.
Seaweed and sea vegetables. Algin in seaweeds absorb toxins from the digestive tract “in much the same way a water softener removes the hardness from tap water,” according to Dr. John Dempster at Huffington Post. “Sea vegetables offer the broadest range of minerals of any food, containing virtually all the minerals found in the ocean — the same minerals that are found in human blood.” Dulse is his personal fave, he says. If seaweed intimidates you, try to sneak some in with miso soup or vegetarian hot and sour soup.
Water. Sounds like a no-brainer, but most people forget this easy and essential detoxification tool throughout the day.
Whole Grains. Insoluble fiber, like that found aplenty in whole grains (and fruits!), helps keep you from being constipated or bloated.