The Top 13 Detox Foods

Many different substances are needed for good detox function.

Nutrients like vitamins, minerals, amino acids and phytochemicals (natural plant chemicals) all play a role in the intricate processes that make up your detox system. They can be found in a wide variety of foods. Some contain more than others so here are my top 13 detox foods.

Much research has found that the key to a decrease in cancer and degenerative diseases lies in a diet high in plant foods.
Plant foods vary in the nutrients they contain so eating a wide variety of them is important. There has been an abundance of published research into the benefits of cruciferous vegetables on the detox pathways. Some times they are referred to as superfoods because they are loaded with substances that help detoxify those nasty toxic chemicals that damage your cells.

The Top 13 Detox Foods 

cruciferous vegetables
Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, kale, watercress all contain important phytochemicals that are released when they are chopped, chewed, fermented, cooked or digested. The substances released then break down into sulphorophanes, indole-3-carbinol and D-glucarate which all have a specific effect on Phase 1 and phase 2 detox.
Broccoli is good but broccoli sprouts are even better as they contain 20 times more sulfurophane. They are becoming easier to find in the supermarkets. Add them to your salads.

Helps to protect the body from radiation, cancer, air pollution, and environmental toxins. A wonderful digestive aid and protein source. Contains beneficial nutrients and probiotics.

leafy greens
Eat them raw, sauteed, in stir fries or blended in yummy juices and smoothies. The chlorophyll found in these green wonders rids the body of harmful environmental toxins from smog, heavy metals, herbicides, cleaning products and pesticides. A daily helping of one of leafy greens will give you a rich supply of vitamin A, C, K, folate, calcium, iron, and intestinal cleansing fiber.

fresh ginger
Ginger is another great natural detoxification agent which can be used alone or combined with other detoxification aids. A great healing ginger root tea can be made by boiling ginger root with lemon. Ever wonder why ginger always accompanies Japanese food? It’s a digestive aid. Beyond settling tummy troubles, ginger is an anti-inflammatory packed with antioxidants. Brew it in a tea, spice up your stir fry, or just munch some pickled slices out of the jar.

A glass of lemon water in the morning is an excellent way fire up your metabolism, cleanse and alkalize the body and aid digestion. Add lemon zest to just about any meal for a vitamin C burst, which is known to help the body detox and burn fat.

These deep red, antioxidant packed bulbs are full of fiber that increases the production of antioxidant enzymes in the liver, which help the liver and gallbladder eliminate bile and other toxic substances from the body. Slice a few over a salad of dark leafy greens. Beets are great eaten raw.

onions and garlic
Onions, garlic and leeks contain many important sulfur compounds that increase detox. It’s these compounds that give them their strong odor.
They can increase glutathione, a substance that is used by the liver to detox many chemical toxins.  Eat them raw in salads and add to cooked dishes.

Carrots have been used for years in detox juices. People doing the Gerson Therapy, for cancer, which detoxes the body, use pounds and pounds of carrots. They eat so many carrots that their skin often turns orange from all the carotenoids they contain. Carrots can add just the right of sweetness to green vegetable juices to make them more palatable.

As well as carotenoids carrots contain flavonoids which act as powerful antioxidants that are essential in the detox system. The detox process ends up creating free radicals so plenty of antioxidants are needed to neutralize them.

Blueberries are simply bursting with anthocyanidins, antioxidant compounds that give blue, purple and red colors to fruits and vegetables. They also contain ellagic acid, another phytochemical that has been shown to prevent cell damage.

According to scientists blueberries top the list of  fruit and vegetables for antioxidant strength. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals which are produced by toxins that enter your body and by normal detoxification.

Watermelons are a rich source of the important antioxidant lycopene. The flesh contains citrulline, an amino acid, and is one reason why watermelons have been used for many years by Naturopaths for detox.
Citrulline plays an important part in the body’s urea cycle preventing the build up of a lethal level of ammonia in the blood.
Watermelon also contains valuable nutrients such as chlorophyll, beta carotene, Vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, silicon, lycopene and glutathione which is used by the liver for detox.

Apples are full of wonderful nutrients. You get fiber, vitamins, minerals and many beneficial phytochemicals such as D-Glucarate, flavanoids, terpenoids when you eat apples. All these substances are used in the detox process. One flavonoid Phlorizidin (phlorizin) is thought to help stimulate bile production which helps with detox as the liver gets rid of some toxins through the bile.
Apple is a good source of the soluble fiber pectin which can help detox metals and food additives from your body. It’s no wonder that Naturopaths often prescribe the 2 day apple detox.
It’s best to eat only organic apples as the non organic ones are among the top 12 foods that have been found to contain the most pesticide residues. (Environmental Working Group’s 2010 report Shoppers Guide to Pesticides)

Seaweed has long been valued in Asian countries for its nutritional and medicinal qualities, and Western
cultures have now embraced it for its health benefits, particularly its ability to cleanse or detox the body. Brown algae, or kelp, is one of the most common types of seaweed which is believed to rid the body of toxins and heavy metals that cause a variety of health problem such as obesity, arthritis and high blood pressure. Rich in minerals like iodine and potassium, seaweed also believed to boost the body's natural immune system and improve thyroid and liver function which also helps with detoxification.

Turmeric is known in Ayurvedic medicine as the king of spices. Its principal chemical component of turmeric is curcumin.The bitter spice helps cleanse the liver, purify the blood, and promote good digestion and elimination. It stimulates the gallbladder for bile production, and scavenges free radicals. The whole herb turmeric contains lower doses of curcumin, and is used when healing requires the application of volatile oils.
As a herbal remedy for cirrhosis of the liver, curcumin speeds up the liver detox process. Curcumin prevents alcohol and other toxins from being converted into compounds that may be harmful to the liver. It can reverse the adverse effects of excessive iron consumption on the liver.
Other than being excellent for liver detox, curcumin has powerful antioxidative abilities that combats against viral infection, cancer, and arthritis. It has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and yet does not bring about any unpleasant side effects of drugs that reduces inflammation.

Detox Miso Soup Recipe

Very important: Do Not Boil Miso.

(use organic whenever possible)
1 clove garlic
½” fresh ginger root
2 stalks celery
1 medium carrot
4 cups filtered water
2-4 tablespoons miso paste (depending on desired taste and strength)
tamari or ume boshi plum vinegar (optional)
Tofu (optional)
Buckwheat Noodles (optional)
  1. Finely chop garlic, ginger, celery, and carrots. Place them in a medium sauce pan.
  2. Heat water in a separate pan or tea pot to less than boiling. Pour water over vegetables and let steep and cool for a few minutes.
  3. When the temperature comes down enough so that you can tolerate holding your finger in it for 3-5 seconds, scoop some of it into a small bowl.
  4. Add the miso paste to the removed liquid and mix until smooth, working out any lumps.
  5. Then add that mix to the rest of the soup and stir well. You may choose to add extra flavor with tamari or ume boshi plum vinegar.


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