What qualifies a food to be detoxing?
Before looking at foods that detox your body, let’s look at what foods are not detoxing. Ultimately, anything that is processed or contains added ingredients aren’t going to do your body and detoxification system any favors. These unnecessary additives are unfamiliar to your body and are going to increase inflammation and add to your toxin load.
On the other hand, clean, whole foods are filled with naturally-occurring nutrients that your body needs to thrive. Not only will these support normal function of the various systems of your body, some in particular have specific-detoxification abilities. In general, you’ll want to stick with foods rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, pro- and prebiotics, vitamins, and minerals.
Foods that detox your body
Any clean, whole food is going to help keep your toxin load low while also facilitating proper function. But as I mentioned earlier, some foods are going to be more beneficial than others when it comes to detoxing your body of build up toxins and improving the function of a sluggish detoxification system.
1. Dark leafy greens
Methylation requires folate, which is found in greens like kale, collards, chard, and spinach. Make sure to fill up on lots of nutritious greens every day. If you find you can’t handle the roughage of raw greens, cooking them first can help mitigate any gastrointestinal upset.
2. Sulfur-rich vegetables
Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, garlic, mushrooms, and asparagus also support methylation because they also contain the powerful antioxidant glutathione. This antioxidant is essential for activating phase 1 and phase 2 liver detoxification.
3. Milk thistle
Milk thistle is a plant that aids in eliminating toxins that have built up in the liver. It also helps to restore liver cells that have been damaged from increased toxin exposure. It’s one of the most well-researched natural remedies for treating liver problems and has been used for years to treat a variety of liver ailments, from hepatitis to alcoholic liver disease. You can drink milk thistle as a tea. (2)
As if you need another excuse to indulge in some much-loved tacos and guacamole, cilantro has been shown to help detox your body from heavy metals especially when taken in conjunction with chlorella.
Up to 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, yet we overlook the superfoods found beneath the sea. Sea vegetables and algae like spirulina and chlorella live in lakes – both fresh and saltwater – throughout the world and contain rich amounts of nutrients including antioxidants that help protect your body from oxidative damage. Spirulina in particular helps support your liver and kidney function due to its chlorophyll content that makes it super detoxifying.
6. Red clover blossom
This herb is primarily used for detoxification purposes in functional medicine due to its diuretic effect that helps remove waste and other toxins from the body. It is often referred to as a “blood purifier” and has been praised for its lymphatic drainage abilities.
Beets are also great for helping break down toxins through increasing enzyme activity. (3) Give your liver a boost with beautiful beets – I enjoy roasting them as a side dish, or adding them to a salad seasoned with garlic (a two-for-one live- supporting combination)!
We can’t talk about detoxification without talking about your gut. Supporting a healthy microbiome balance with probiotic-rich foods like sauerkraut is going to help lower inflammation, support methylation pathways, and overall health of your detoxification system. Plus, sauerkraut is made from cabbage that contains both sulforaphane and glutathione that will continue to level up your methylation pathways.
9. Burdock root
As a tea or supplement, this root is another detoxifying wonder, especially when it comes to heavy metals. Burdock root has natural diuretic properties, so it flushes fluids from your body along with toxins. This is especially stimulating for your detoxifying lymphatic system.
I love blueberries because they are low fructose and contain some of the highest amounts of antioxidants of any food. Plus, research has found that blueberries can support pathways in the body that aid in detoxification. (4)
11. Green tea
There are many benefits to drinking tea – green tea specifically – but one of my favorites is its catechin antioxidant content that can help neutralize free radicals. Plus, it acts as a natural diuretic to flush toxins out of your body. Just one more reason to pour yourself another cup!
12. Organic organ meat
Grass-fed organ meat, like liver, is the most bioavailable-rich source of B vitamins on the planet, which are essential for optimal methylation.
Even though this vegetable might be intimidating to cook, your liver will be thanking you with each one that you eat! Your body produces bile that acts as a carrier for toxins to your small intestine in order for them to be eliminated from your body. However, when bile production is inhibited, toxins end up building up in your body. Studies have shown that artichoke extract can increase both proper bile production and movement. (5)
14. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are great for many reasons including their vitamin A and fiber content that supports healthy digestion. They also contain a special compound known as phytochelatins that work to bind to heavy metals in the body to enhance detoxification. (6)
Load up on everyone’s favorite fruit, as these also contain a surprising amount of detoxifying glutathione!
Consulting a functional medicine professional
When it comes to detoxing, everyone is different. If you have reached a plateau in your healing journey and just can’t seem to reach the next level, it might be time to seek out help from a functional medicine practitioner.
In my telehealth functional medicine clinic, we specialize in running labs to identify the exact heavy metals and toxins you are exposed to on a daily basis so that you can make the necessary adjustments that are applicable to you. Not everyone is going to be exposed to the same toxins, so proper identification is key when devising a healing plan that will move the needle for you.
If you are ready to take that next step, check out our telehealth consultation to learn more about how we can partner with you on this journey to better health.
As one of the first functional medicine telehealth clinics in the world, we provide webcam health consultations for people around the globe.
This content was originally published here.