The Best Fruits & Vegetables for Cleansing

Fresh Broccoli
Bowl of broccoli (Image: HandmadePictures/iStock/Getty Images)

Fruit and vegetables tend to be high in fiber, vitamins and minerals — which means they can provide a sense of satiety while you take a break from eating your regular diet. If you tend to overeat or have a diet high in processed foods, a periodic switch to eating a selection of natural foods can help your digestive system return to optimal function and reduce your risk of nutritional illness.

Switch and Ditch

Liquid cleanses may have the celebrity "stamp of approval," but most health experts are resolutely against them. Relying solely on juice or liquid will deprive your body of essential calories, protein and fats. While this can result in short-term weight loss, you're doing your body more harm than good: You will get a better long-term result from switching to eating natural whole foods, or eliminating particular foods from your diet. You will also be more likely to make sustainable lifestyle changes from this type of change — you won't feel as deprived or bored as you would with a juice cleanse, so the healthy changes are more likely to stick.

Cleansing Vegetables

There are a lot of vegetables that are beneficial for cleansing your digestive system. The most effective are the members of the cruciferous family — big, leafy greens. These include broccoli, spinach, kale, chard, bok choi, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, horseradish, collards and watercress. These vegetables are all high in fiber, have high antioxidant properties, and plenty of essential vitamins and minerals. Other fibrous vegetables to include when cleansing are beets, onion, artichokes and asparagus.

Cleansing Fruits

Very brightly colored fruits tend to have high amounts of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Try to include a wide variety when you are doing a cleanse, so that you get the full range of benefits. Tomatoes, watermelon, guava and oranges are full of beneficial lycopene and vitamin C. Berries -- particularly blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and mulberries -- are high in fiber and antioxidants, while bananas, apples, pears and avocados are high in fiber and micronutrients, and will help you feel full.

Extra Cleansing Foods

You should complement eating fruits and vegetables with a handful of other foods while you're cleansing. These include herbs and spices, such as ginger, garlic, cinnamon, parley and basil, which contain beneficial micronutrients. Nuts like walnuts and Brazil nuts contain minerals and healthy fats, while fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut and yogurt, will improve the health of your gut flora. Including each of these in your cleanse will improve its effectiveness, while also protecting your body.

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