This article, entitled "10 Foods To Help You Detox Naturally," comes from partner site 719woman.com.
Ever have that bloated, just yucky feeling, where your body feels sluggish and run down? That’s how I’d been feeling since the holidays last year and I was also carrying around some extra pounds that didn’t necessarily seem to do with how much I was eating but what I was eating.
When it got to the point I couldn’t zip ANY jeans comfortably, I decided to keep a food journal to see if my diet was contributing to my discomfort. My hair also seemed to be lank and dull as was my complexion.
Someone suggested I do a detox cleanse but to be quite honest, I don’t want to do anything that’s going to keep me running to the bathroom and I personally didn’t want to do anything extreme. I like chewing food so I didn’t want to do a liquid chugging thing and I didn’t want to make a commitment to only certain foods, because I won’t stick with something restrictive.
Your body is built to naturally detox itself using the liver, colon and kidneys but when you think of what we put in it, well, it’s no wonder it can use a boost occasionally. So I decided to just add some naturally detoxing foods to my diet and cut out the huge amounts of processed food I was eating. I still wanted my coffee, wine, meats and carbs; just in smaller servings while again, adding healthier options.
Now I didn’t necessarily expect to lose weight, I just wanted to see if I’d feel a difference. After two days of moderate changes I dropped 4 pounds, didn’t spend my life in the bathroom, slept better and the bloat was gone. I added more water and if anything, it seemed like the beets and beet leaves made me feel better than anything…and they were good.
Here’s 10 of the best foods that work with your body for a natural detox, which just might make you feel better and help your body function better. They all taste good, aren’t hard to prepare and can easily be added to meals.
Full of vitamins B3, B6, C and beta-carotene, and a valuable source of iron, magnesium, zinc and calcium…all necessary to promote optimal detoxification and elimination. Beets are also high in fiber which improves digestion and helps eliminate bodily waste. They are also good for gallbladder and liver health, organs that are paramount for breaking down and removing toxins. Not only are beets excellent in helping your body naturally detox, they also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. I personally went most of my life only eating canned beets, which were ok, but not something I found delicious. Then I tasted fresh beets and what a difference! Fresh beets are now one of the first things I pick up on my Farmers Market trips.
Beets can be steamed, served raw or roasted. I personally like roasted beets the best, which I then refrigerate and eat whenever.
Beet juice can and will stain so it’s best to wear kitchen gloves when preparing. If your hands do get stained, try rubbing lemon juice on them.
Rinse gently under cold water. Cut beets into quarters or if very small, leave whole. (Leave 2 inches of tap-root and 1 inch of stems on the beets.) Fill bottom of a steamer with 2 inches of water and bring to a rapid boil. Add beets, cover, and steam about 15 minutes or until you can easily insert a fork or knife tip in it. You can then easily peel the beet by rubbing the skin off with a paper towel.
To use raw
Simply rinse under cold water and then peel with a vegetable peeler or very sharp knife. You can grate or chop it and add to salads. You can also marinate raw beets with a bit of lemon juice, herbs and olive oil. To roast – You can play around with flavors when roasting. I like to preheat the oven to 400 degrees and add a bit of olive oil, Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Cook for about 30 minutes (time will vary based on size and amount of beets you’re cooking.) You can then rub the skin off with paper towel. If beets are small and the skin thin, you can actually leave it on and eat it.
Beet leaves and stems can also be eaten. They have even more vitamins and nutrients in them. Make sure you rinse them thoroughly to get all the sand off. Heat some butter or olive oil in a skillet and add the chopped greens. Saute for about 5 minutes with a bit of salt and pepper. You can also add some chopped garlic or shallots. My husband and I tried the leaves and stems that I cooked this way and it was really good. In fact, he said he thought it had a better flavor than a lot of the other greens we cook. And it’s kind of a “free” thing since it comes with the beets.
When detoxifying your body, it’s essential to ensure toxins are eliminated properly. Flaxseed contains soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps the body’s detoxification by promoting bowel regularity and helping the body eliminate excess toxins, cholesterol and waste. They are also a great source of heart-healthy omega-3 and manganese. For optimum freshness, grind the seeds as you need them, as grinding shortens their shelf life. I buy a big bag and keep them in the fridge.
You can sprinkle ground flaxseed on salads, yogurt, soups and cereals. I add the seeds to smoothies too. You can also sprinkle on muffins or add to baked goods…which of course kind of takes away from the whole “detox” but hey, why not get some added health benefits to your muffins? Another healthy and easy way to get flaxseed in your diet every morning is to add 1 teaspoon ground flaxseed to lemon water.
Lemons help stimulate the release of enzymes that help convert toxins into a water-soluble form that can easily be excreted from the body. Drinking lemon water, which is alkaline-forming, first thing in the morning will help balance out the acidity of foods you’ve consumed.
It always amazes me at how many people don’t wash their lemons before using. You need to wash lemons just like you do with any produce, even if you’re just squirting the juice into something. Squirt lemon juice on seafood, vegetables and salads. Use in marinades and dressings. Don’t forget the zest, which tastes good in slaws, relishes, and salads.
This is about as easy a way as you can get to add a good for you food that’s also a natural detoxifier to your diet. Wash and eat. Apples contain fiber, vitamins, minerals and many beneficial phytochemicals. They are a good source of the soluble fiber pectin, which can help detox metals and food additives from your body. Apples are one of those foods that regularly shows up on the “top lists” of foods that have pesticide residue so buy organic if you can/want.
Artichokes have been shown to increase bile production and not only purify but protect the liver. They also have a mild diuretic effect on the kidneys, which ensures the removal of toxins once the liver breaks them down. You can use fresh, frozen or canned. A simple way to eat artichokes is by adding canned hearts to salads. Once you get the hang of cooking and eating fresh artichokes, you’ll most likely eat them more (they can be intimidating if you’ve never used fresh.)
Turmeric contains curcumin, which is a powerful phytochemical component that stimulates the productivity of bile by the gallbladder. The liver uses bile to eliminate toxins. Bile also rejuvenates liver cells that break down harmful compounds.
Turmeric can be used fresh but it can be difficult to find and the ground powder works just fine and is easy to keep on hand. It can stain so be careful when using. It’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory. Add ground turmeric to egg salads, rice dishes, vegetables, and lentils. (Just to name a few ideas.)
Dandelion greens are a rich source of minerals and nutrients and provide a variety of phytonutrients. They are super antioxidants that support cleansing of the digestive tract and offer great liver support.
Add dandelion greens to salads; pair with goat cheese or potatoes; sauté with olive oil, butter, salt and pepper; mix with other greens; steam and dress with balsamic vinegar, or for a not so healthy side (but it’s good), sauté and add bacon. I personally still find them bitter whether they come from the yard or the grocery store in raw form. But I added raw greens to my roasted and cooled beets, drizzled it with olive oil and topped it with a bit of goat cheese for a healthy lunch and it all worked and was delicious.
I’m so happy that garlic is so healthy since I add it to everything! Because garlic contains the vital sulphuric compounds it does, it makes for an essential detoxification. And it’s so easy to add to your diet, even if you don’t like the taste. (They make garlic pills if you don’t like it.)
Add it to vegetables, casseroles, stir-fry, marinades, dressings, seafood, pork, beef dishes, ok, pretty much anything. You can use it raw, roasted, fried or in sautés. Garlic oil, extract and powder are good for you too. I like to keep fresh and bottled garlic on hand and the Dollar Tree sells the same exact type of jarred/bottled garlic as the grocery stores but it’s only $1.
Broccoli contains powerful phytochemicals that are released when chewed, chopped, cooked, fermented or digested. Once the substances are released, they break down into sulforaphane, which produces detoxification enzymes. Broccoli sprouts can actually provide more benefit than broccoli since they contain 20 times more sulforaphane.
Add to salads or wraps, top sandwiches and potatoes or use as a pretty and healthy edible garnish.
Seaweeds contain powerful antioxidants that help to alkalize the blood and strengthen the digestive tract. Seaweed contains high mineral counts and soluble fiber which can flush toxins from the body and promote detoxification.
Seaweed can be eaten raw, pan-fried, added to salads, soups and sandwiches. It’s also perfect for stirfries. We made “chips” by pan-frying the leaves in a well-oiled skillet, which I think the kids would enjoy too.
As always, if you have underlying health concerns, you want to check with your doctor before changing your diet or adding supplements.