How to Detox Your Body Naturally
By MARIA MARLOWE
Detoxing is a popular buzzword on the health scene. However, there are two schools of thought on the topic: those who believe you can benefit from doing a detox and those who believe detoxing is just hype.
Our bodies are naturally built to detoxify us: The liver, colon, kidneys, lungs, lymph system and even skin help rid our bodies of toxins. The problem is that in this day and age we are bombarded with so many toxins that our bodies can become less effective at handling toxins and can benefit from outside help.
We're exposed to toxins in a variety of ways: hormones and antibiotics in meat and dairy, chemical additives in packaged foods, mercury and PCBs in fish, chlorine and fluoride in our drinking water, pollution, alcohol and chemicals in beauty products, cleaning products and even scented candles.
Whether we ingest, inhale or slather these chemicals on, our bodies have to process them.
According to the National Liver Foundation, the liver converts the nutrients in our diets to substances the body can use, stores these substances and supplies cells with them when needed. It also converts toxic substances to harmless substances or makes sure they are released from the body. In this way, the body naturally detoxifies itself. If your diet has nutritional deficiencies, your liver will have a more difficult time eliminating toxins, which then increases the toxins produced by your body.
Detoxing: What It Is and How to Do It Naturally
You don't need expensive pills or juice cleanses to detox. Simply eliminating the sources of toxins in your diet and adding in antioxidant and nutrient-dense foods that support your detox organs is enough.
Doing a food detox allows you to effectively reboot your digestive system and support the body's natural detoxification processes.
A three-day detox regimen is long enough to see results. In general, you should eliminate the foods that might be contributing to your toxin load, zapping your energy or backing up your digestive tract, including processed foods, wheat, dairy, meat, alcohol, caffeine, tea and chocolate. In their place, you want to add in fresh vegetables and fruit as well as whole grains, seeds and legumes and, of course, plenty of water.
Read More: 12 Tips to Getting a Vegetarian Diet Right
Three days of a high-fiber, high-nutrient, plant-based diet should leave you with more energy, less bloat, an elevated mood and brighter skin — and could even help you drop a few pounds.
While there are a number of foods that support the detox system, three of the most powerful include:
Dark, leafy greens: Kale, Swiss chard, collards, spinach, dandelion and other dark, leafy greens get their deep, dark-green hue from chlorophyll, an antioxidant with multiple health benefits.
Cruciferous vegetables: Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower contain isothiocyanates and indoles, which may increase the activity of enzymes that play an important role in the detoxification and elimination of carcinogens.
Turmeric: Studies show this bright-yellow spice to be a potent liver detoxifier and anti-inflammatory, not to mention an antibacterial, antiviral and anticancer agent.
Here's a recipe for a delicious detox salad:
Prep Time: 10 minutes
1 head of broccoli, stems removed
1/4 to 1/2 head of cauliflower, stems removed
1 red beet (optional)
7 sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped finely
1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds
Pinch of turmeric
Pinch of cumin
Pinch of sea salt and pepper, to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
1. In a Vitamix, food processor or high-speed blender, process the broccoli until fine. Remove to a bowl and repeat with the cauliflower, carrots and beets. (You can also mince finely by hand; this salad is all about the texture!)
2. Add the parsley and sunflower seeds to the vegetable mix.
3. Season with rest of ingredients, to taste.
Readers — Have you ever tried a detox diet or cleanse? Do you feel like it had an effect? Do you think the human body needs additional “help” detoxing? Leave a comment below and let us know.