Extreme detoxification diets and cleanses can be harsh on our bodies. Sipping a liquid diet of lemon water and cayenne or green juice or salad for weeks on end may help you lose weight, but these diets aren’t sustainable because they don’t involve, well, food. Plus, they may not provide you with sufficient quantities of protein and fibre that you’ll need to actually help you sweep those toxins you release outta your body.
Let’s stop the cycle of consuming in excess and subsequently cleansing in excess. Instead, try adding detoxifying foods into your diet on a regular basis. These detox foods will gently help you remove harmful toxins from your body, make you feel great, and are absolutely delicious!
1. Cruciferous Vegetables
This family of veggies – including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and bok choy – contain a multitude of nutrients that support detoxification. Crucifers are rich in glucosinolates, which are sulfur compounds that help to neutralize and eliminate carcinogens, as well as indole-3-carbinol (I3C) – an important nutrient that prevents estrogen-related cancers. If you’re looking for more reasons to love that bunch of broccoli, crucifers also activate detoxification enzymes, boost the immune system, contain free radical-fighting antioxidants, and are fantastic sources of fibre.
2. Lemons and Limes
These bright citrus fruits help stimulate digestion and metabolism, and they contain high amounts of Vitamin C, and important antioxidant the liver uses to filter out free radicals. Start off your day with squeezing fresh lemon into a glass of water, use it in your salad dressings, or drizzle it over steamed and roasted vegetables. And, if you’re looking for a way to use use those lemon peels, try making this easy dried lemon zest.
When we begin to detoxify, we need something to grab onto those harmful chemicals and transport them away. Enter flaxseeds. These little seeds are extremely high in fibre, which is great for the digestive tract and helps us eliminate unwanted toxins. Flaxseeds are also a wonderful source of free radical-fighting antioxidants, anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids, and cancer-preventing compounds called lignans. Flaxseeds can be easily added to your favourite smoothie recipe, oatmeal, salad dressings, baked goods, or sprinkled over soups.
4. Garlic and Onions
Photo: Alice Henneman
If you’ve ever sliced an onion or minced a clove of garlic, then you know how pungent these babies can be. But that strong smell is where the power lies – or wafts, in this case. Allium vegetables like garlic, onions, leeks and scallions contain sulfur compounds that enhance the detoxification enzymes to help us wipe out toxins and inhibit carcinogens. Plus, they add flavour to virtually any dish – making them easy to incorporate into your diet.
5. Cilantro (or Parsley)
Photo: Thamizhpparithi Maari
Cilantro is a powerful herb packed with anti-microbial properties and it is thought to contain compounds that help bind to heavy metals and remove them from the body. If you’re a cilantro-hater, then swap it for parsley.