What’s one daily habit that can have a massive impact on your body’s ability to detox? Your diet. You’ve got two choices: You can strain your natural detoxification processes by ingesting food additives, pesticides, and other chemicals. Or your diet can be a source of nutrients and phytochemicals that make your body a detoxification powerhouse!
Here’s a colorful bouquet of a dozen scientifically proven detoxification superstars.
These juicy fruits not only keep the doctor away, but also contain compounds that protect your liver. Plus, apples are a rich source of pectin, a fiber that feeds good-for-you intestinal bacteria and aids your body in eliminating lead and other compounds.
Bright red beets contain brilliant pigments with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Beets are known to boost liver enzymes for optimal detoxification.
The most famous member of the Apiaceae family (which includes dill, parsley, and parsnips), carrots contain caffeic acid, which balances detoxification by reducing overactivity of some liver enzymes while enhancing the action of others.
Studies have found that compounds in citrus fruit optimize detoxification systems that may prevent breast and other cancers. These fruits also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Turmeric and its primary active compound, curcumin, are at the forefront of the medicinal food movement. Turmeric can have a positive impact on liver enzymes and improve production of glutathione, which is one of the most important antioxidants in the human body, making turmeric one of the most powerful detoxifying agents on this list.
Broccoli and its fellow cruciferous vegetables are the darlings of the detoxification world, and for good reason. These veggies support liver health by reducing inflammation and supporting phase I enzymes that help us detoxify chemicals and air pollutants. Bonus: Cruciferous vegetables are also high in fiber to support elimination.
High in antioxidants, green tea also enhances the production of the master antioxidant glutathione.
Love it or hate it, cilantro appears to have impressive detoxification power. Research is mixed, but when cilantro is combined with vitamin C, the herb may help eliminate lead and cadmium from the body. Cilantro also has recognized antioxidant benefits and potential anticancer activity.
The remarkable bright green algae known as chlorella reduces liver inflammation and enhances the body’s detoxification of heavy metals. To get more chlorella in your diet, simply stir a teaspoon or two of chlorella powder into your morning smoothie.
What do we mean by “detox”? Detoxification occurs in two basic steps: conversion and elimination. Conversion occurs when your body takes a compound, including hormones, drugs, and pesticides, and makes it water-soluble. The compound can then be removed from the body in the second step—elimination. Most conversion occurs in the liver and kidneys, while elimination happens in the bowels, urinary tract, lungs, and skin.
Get your fill of fiber
Increasing dietary fiber is one of the most effective ways to support detoxification. Fiber feeds healthy bacteria, encourages regular bowel movements, and is essential for eliminating compounds detoxified by your liver.
Remember, detox is a two-step process: conversion and elimination. If you can’t eliminate it, you haven’t fully detoxified it.
Excellent sources of fiber include whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and nuts. If you want to easily boost your fiber intake, try chia seeds—1 oz (around 2 Tbsp) contains 11 g of fiber, about one-third of the recommended 25 to 38 g per day.
Another great source of fiber is psyllium, a soluble fiber readily available as a powder. You can start by incorporating 1 tsp of psyllium into your morning smoothie and gradually increase your psyllium intake to 1 to 2 Tbsp per day.
Delicious little powerhouses, blueberries contain compounds that have anticancer, anti-obesity, and anti-inflammatory properties. They may also be liver protective and help prevent heart disease. Blueberries (and strawberries!) have been found to balance detoxification by reducing overactivity of some phase I liver enzymes.
Purple sweet potatoes
Colorful and full of antioxidant-rich anthocyanins, purple sweet potatoes can support and protect the liver while providing elimination-empowering fiber.
A potent bulb with tons of flavor, garlic has been used medicinally for thousands of years. For detoxification, garlic can increase production of glutathione, protect the liver from free radicals, and support liver cell regeneration.
Make it organic!
The best detoxification strategy is to reduce your need to detox—chemicals you don’t consume are chemicals you don’t need to detox. According to a 2019 study, organic produce contains less cadmium, pesticide residue, and other chemical contamination compared to conventionally raised produce. So be sure to choose organic versions of the detox dozen!
A myriad of supplements can be used to support detoxification, from B vitamins, vitamin C, and N-acetylcysteine to botanicals like dandelion and milk thistle. They can augment your primary detox strategy: limiting your burden of toxins and supporting your body with a diverse, plant-filled, whole foods diet.
Detoxing with CBD oil
It’s not just your imagination—hemp-derived CBD oil is everywhere. One of the nonintoxicating compounds found in the Cannabis sativa plant, CBD has been shown in studies to help relieve everything from pain to anxiety.
But there’s another remarkable benefit to using hemp-derived CBD oil most people aren’t aware of: It can help detoxify your body. Here are three ways CBD supports your natural detox mechanisms.
CBD acts as an antioxidant
Many detoxifying regimens are aimed at giving your body a break from consuming food-based toxins (hello, lemon-cayenne cleanse), but CBD oil may help combat toxins produced by your own body. Research shows that CBD is a potent antioxidant that can neutralize the cell-damaging effects of free radicals, which are chemicals that are generated when your body converts food to energy, when you exercise, and in response to environmental triggers like cigarette smoke and air pollution. Since free-radical damage has been linked to a range of diseases, from cancer to Alzheimer’s, counteracting these toxins is essential.
CBD encourages homeostasis
CBD interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is basically a network of cell receptors spread throughout your brain and body that governs whole-body balance, or homeostasis. CBD indirectly influences ECS receptors, enhancing a range of homeostasis functions like the immune response, memory, mood, inflammation regulation, and digestion. Research shows that one of the ECS’s functions is turfing large, damaged molecules that can accumulate from aging. Since CBD oil can help keep your ECS running smoothly, it may support the ECS in ridding your body of that toxic buildup.
CBD could help you catch more zzzs
In a recent study, some participants took 25 mg of CBD in capsule form each evening. After one month, 67 percent of subjects taking CBD reported improved sleep scores. Although those scores fluctuated over the rest of the study, there is other promising research, along with anecdotal evidence, that points to CBD’s effectiveness as a sleep aid. And guess what? Quality sleep is critical for detox. While you sleep, your brain gets rid of waste byproducts that have formed throughout the day. That nocturnal work is performed by the glymphatic system (not to be confused with the lymphatic system)—a recently discovered system that flushes out toxins from the brain. This process allows the brain to reboot and maintain optimal functioning. – Sarah Ban