Hello fellow earthlings, you probably often hear about people going on detox diets after the holidays. What is important to know regarding the detoxifcation process is that our bodies are perfectly designed machines that are quite capable of doing some “winter cleaning” on their own. Our body`s main mechanisms for getting rid of toxins (from pesticides, smog, pollution, cigarettes, etc.) are often referred to as the four “P`s” (pee, po*p, perspiration and pranayama ( Sanskrit term for breathing)). If you feel you have experienced significant exposure to toxins, get a good sweat going by hitting your local gym or engaging in some hot hot yoga, practice deep breathing and ponder ways to improve your stress.
Regarding the fact that urine is a way for our body to eliminate harmful toxins, make certain you drink plenty of water. It can be a grand idea to get a filter for water (i.e. such as Brita) or try a carbon filtered bottle, such as the Bobble bottle, so as to not intake too many toxins from your water.
Regarding the fact that stool is a way for your body to rid itself of toxins – your liver often stores toxins in bile which it dumps into your intestines. Without enough fiber (especially the soluble type), your body reabsorbs the toxin-containing bile back into your body where it builds up. On the other hand, consuming sources of soluble fiber like psyllium, oats, quinoa, barley, legumes, etc. will bind the toxins from the bile and politely escort them to the back door (ahem..). Soluble fiber helps increase transit time and thus decrease the amount of time the stool is chilling in your intestines. The longer your stool is sitting in your gastrointestinal tract, the higher the odds that your body will simply reabsorb its contents, including the “Dr. Evil” toxins (they aren`t “Oh-behaving” 🙂 ). Soluble fiber is especially beneficial in terms of detoxification as it acts like a sponge, clinging to toxins and providing them with a one-way ticket out of your body.
That said, some foods can really lend your liver a helping hand and help detox your beautiful body. Your liver is the most valuable player in terms of the detox process as it processes and detoxifies alcohol, drugs (prescribed, over-the-counter, illegal), chemicals from the air that you inhale and many other foreign compounds that end up in your system.
Here are the best detox foods, in no particular order:
1) Spinach and Swiss chard : contains betalaine which helps flush out toxins
2) Cilantro: great for heavy metal detoxification
3) Parsley: has been known to fight liver disorders
4) Artichokes: contain silymarn, an antioxidant that boosts the processing of toxins. Artichokes can also increase our body`s bile production, which improves general health and function of this vital organ.
5) Beets : also contain betalaine to help flush out toxins
6) Garlic and raw onions – What doesn`t kill you makes you stronger, so get crying and start chopping those onions. Both garlic and onions contain significant amounts of sulfur, which is a mineral that helps the body eliminate toxins
7) Brazil nuts: a source of selenium which may improve glutathione productivity. Glutathione is an important cofactor in the body that helps in detox processes, including mercury detoxification.
8) Seaweed: may help rid the body of heavy metals such as cadmium, strontium and lead
9) Sesame seeds: contain sesamin, which may help protect our liver against oxidation.
10) Ginger: naturally detoxifies the liver
11) Brussels sprouts: are high in sulfur, which helps remove toxins from the blood. This helps sponge out the toxins. They also help produce glucosinolate, an antioxidant that causes your liver to release enzymes that block damage.
12) Spirulina and chlorella: were used for detoxification in Ukrainian children after the Chernobyl incident.
Last but definitely not least, try to steer clear of alcohol for your detox, as it tends to hinder liver function and may negatively impact your immune system.
Happy gentle detoxing all!