Detox foods, sounds like a heavy term right? For me at least it is a heavy term. In a layman’s language detox is all about cleaning or cleansing, you can choose what feels right to you. It is about eliminating the toxins which can be harmful for your body. As you must be already aware that the human body is in itself a marvelous example of natural bioengineering. It is designed in a way to handle healing, cleansing and self-renewal. Are you convinced? If yes then you are in for quite a surprise. If you are skeptical then you might survive better than rest of the pack.
Having said that our body is bioengineered in an efficient way for increasing our chances of survival but what the nature didn’t account for, was the number of external factors that would eventually be a part of present lifestyle. Millions of years ago when the humans called Homo sapiens evolved, the climate, the oceans, and the nature was in a pristine quality and thus the challenges of altered environment went unaccounted. The nature was also not aware that the humans will coin the term foodie and start eating foods in incorrect ways just for pleasing the taste buds.
So does that mean you have to give up on tasty food and the modern lifestyle? Am I silently indicating that you need to leave the city life and start living in a forest? Then to just calm you down, I confirm I am not suggesting either. A slight abstinence and some detoxing will help you fare better. This is where the whole detoxing your body concept comes in limelight. There are foods which have the power to detox your body. You just need to eat them and this is how simple it could be. So shall we begin our exploration?
Why your Body needs Detox?
If you are really reading with interest then you must be aware about the concept of detoxification of body. Even if you didn’t read this blog with complete attention then here is a chance for you to redeem yourself. I will tell you why the body needs a detox. Detoxing is inbuilt in your body. In general the body is good enough to detox itself in 12 hours after the last meal of the day. It takes around 8 hours to digest, metabolize, assimilate and absorb the nutrition by the body. The next four hours are for elimination of the toxins and this is how the normal cycle should be.
By no means is this applicable to all, each person has its own time cycle. I might be following this 12 hours cycle but your body might be able to do the same in 10 or 11 hours. So just for ease of explanation and on basis of general averages I have mentioned the times taken by body to detox. Now if you are clear with this then you must be wondering, where does the problem exist? Ask yourself, do you really allow 12 hours of fasting between the previous day’s dinner and next day’s breakfast? Count and tell me in the comments.
If you are among the people who maintain this 12 hour intermittent fasting ritual then congratulations, you are slightly better than other urban legends. I would still say that even after that your body has lots of toxins. Do you know why? Because factors like stress, unhealthy food choices, alcohol and climate change hampers the normal functioning of the body and hence you need to add a detox plan in your life to eliminate the toxins from your body. This is where the detox foods come to your rescue.
Detox Organs and Detox Foods
Your natural detox system comprises of 6 organs which do the dirty job for you. Liver, Kidney, Lungs, Lymph, Colon and Skin. Each has its own function to perform efficiently and there are certain types of foods that increase the efficiency and health of these organs. So let us quickly take a glance at these things.
Liver friendly detox foods
Whatever you eat has to go to the liver for segregation, this is the place where major metabolism is driven of your body. Liver filters out the waste and sends it to the gut and the kidneys for further processing. It is studied that bitter foods and greens are always helpful in keeping the liver healthy. To ensure your liver is in its best condition you are encouraged to eat Salads, Lemons, Broccoli, etc.
Kidney friendly detox foods
I know you are a smart reader and already know that Kidneys flush the toxins out of the body. So basically blood is filtered at these mini work stations. This is how your dose of urine originates. To keep kidneys healthy you need to drink clean water and eat Coriander/Cilantro, Parsley, Green tea and other detox foods which are herbal in nature. Some fruits like cranberry helps in improving your renal functions.
Lungs friendly detox foods
Lungs expel the carbon dioxide from the body and ensure that your body has its fair share of clean oxygen. But due to the urban set up that we live in, our lungs inhale lots of particulate matter which though negligible in amount but over the period of time can cause issues. So to detox lungs Radish, Mustard and Turnips should be consumed.
Lymph friendly detox foods
Lymphatic systems are responsible for filtering out the pathogens like bacteria, fungi and viruses from your body. It is possible that over the time the toxins from these pathogens might accumulate in your nervous systems and it also needs a push to cleanse itself for optimum function. Strong earthy condiments like Ginger, Turmeric and Garlic are said to improve the functions and detox the lymph and lymph nodes.
Colon friendly detox foods
The colon as you know has a dirty job of excreting solid waste from your body and if you have constipation then your colon is not at all healthy and might contain lots of toxin accumulation. So for a healthy colon it is suggested to eat Lentils, Apples, Onions and Garlics.
Skin friendly detox foods
Skin is your most underrated detox organ. I hope you know the importance of sweating, apart from maintaining body temperature. If you know that it is important in eliminating toxins along with the sweat then you are truly a genius. This is why it is important to detox the largest detox organ with proper detox foods and treatments. Blueberries, Beetroots, Purple Cabbage are all known to detox skin.
Naturally available Detox foods
You know how they serve chicken and meat dishes in the north India. Laden in ghee based gravy, but the garnish has mint and ginger juliennes. Apart from decorative purpose, ginger aids in digesting fatty foods or foods hard to digest. It is rich in antioxidants which counter the free radicals in your gut that are bad for you. Freshly chopped ginger, grated ginger, ginger tea and ginger water are some ways in which you can consume ginger.
Ginger is a detox food that can beat your bloating issues, digestive gas problem, and improves digestion.
I am sure that you too love your dose of garlic, just like me. What is life without that flavorsome Garlic in the dishes? Let that love be there but for garlic to work as a detox food you need to consume it raw. Eating raw garlic keeps its antiviral, antibacterial and antibiotic activities intact. Garlic also has a substance called allicin which promotes production of White Blood Cells that help in fighting body toxins.
Garlic should be consumed on an empty stomach with warm water. It improves heart functions and starts the detox of your body.
This one is a detox food that you and I have known since childhood. How many times have you heard since childhood that it purifies blood? It has that earthy flavour to it and is mildly sweet after taste. Plus it is also a natural dye which can be utilized to make your food colorful. It was already known for improving skin and hair health. It is good in lowering bad cholesterol.
Only some people know that it is a best option if you want to detox your liver. A glass of beetroot juice per week can do that job for you.
When life gives you lemons, you know what to do! If your answer is lemonade, then you are wrong my friend. Adding a sweetener to lemon juice only lowers its efficiency. Lemons have rich quantity of vitamin C that is one of the best antioxidant available cheaply. Vitamin C from lemons is the key ingredient in this detox food as it eliminate lots of free-radicals that can cause diseases. Overall it improves immunity.
Lemons help in maintaining the alkaline balance in the body which is good for your health. As acidic environment is the main cause of all troubles to begin with. So squeeze some lemons and have a regular dose daily.
If it is green, then it is good. This is one thumb rule of healthy eating that can be held true in case of cabbage. Ideal food for weight loss, but you should know that it also has 2 natural chemicals that makes this one of the best detox food. Sulforaphane and Glutathione where Sulforaphane fights against toxins and glutathione improves detoxifying power of liver.
Now you know why cabbages are very important part of the healthy salads. Start consuming them if you want you liver to function optimally.
Onions could not be included in the list of healthy foods but as a detox food, onions are much underrated. Onions has a very high amount of antioxidants which obviously get burnt when we fry them. So consuming raw onions as a side dish is a good practice to detox your body. Onions have quercetin that works as both an antihistamine and an anti-inflammatory agent. Mostly known to detox the liver naturally.
Just do not forget to brush after consuming raw onions or the person next to you might faint as you speak. Lame jokes are mandatory to keep you interested so please forgive me.
Seeds and Nuts
Nuts and seeds are generally full of nutrients and are always said to be a good option in healthy diet. These small packages have lots of proteins, fibers, vitamin B, vitamin E and many other minerals and antioxidants. Almonds, walnuts and cashews have some good antioxidants. Chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds have good fatty acid components. All these combined, have the potential to prepare your body for a better detox mechanism.
You have been told since ages that carrots are good for your eyes. But there is so much more than what meets the eyes in case of carrots. Apart from high dose of vitamin A, carrots have many other beneficial components that make it a super detox food. It has compounds such as beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lutein, lycopene and polyacetylene that betters your body’s capability to detox. Liver benefits the most from all these substances.
All these carotenoids, which acts as antioxidants and helps in detoxifying your system and helps you in maintaining a healthy body. It is better to juice your carrot than to eat it raw. Carrot juice is more potent than raw carrot as juicing the carrot breaks down some fibers and other components which are hard to extract by only chewing it.
Most amazing food when you are focused on healthy food habits. Cucumbers help in cleansing the digestive tract, and cleansing the liver. It keeps your internals hydrated and reduces bloating. Cucumbers also reduces water retention in the body. It is better if you eat your cucumber rather than infusing it in water and drinking that water.
Turmeric, Cumin, Saffron, and Cinnamon are some of the spices which are packed with lots of antioxidants that can help in flushing the toxins from your body. If Indians stop overcooking the food and avoid burning the spices then these spices can be very helpful in eliminating the toxins form the body.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Now you will know why this proverb is so famous. Apple is rich in vitamins that nourishes our body. Apart from this, apples have good amount of phytochemicals and pectin. These things aid in detoxing the blood. Pectin is known to flush toxins like food additive and traces of metals from the body. Apples have Phlorizidin (phlorizin), it is thought to help stimulate bile production which helps with detox as the liver gets rid of some toxins through the bile.
Apples should be eaten with skin and directly for more benefits. If you can lay your hands on organic apples then nothing like it.
It is already world famous as super food, but Indian and the sub-continent is yet to experience this truly. Avocados are famous detox foods in the western and Mediterranean countries. You will give it a thought to include it in your diet when I will tell you that it helps in blocking 30 different carcinogens while detoxifying liver. Add to it the capacity of lowering bad cholesterol. They are loaded with nearly 20 vitamins and minerals as well as powerful, disease-fighting antioxidants like Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which are very important for the health of your eyes.
Avocados are high on calories but still the calories are healthy as they are loaded with nutrients that aid in detoxing the body. Spoon and eat with your toast or make a smoothie, feel free to eat it in any way that you prefer.
Do you like blueberries? I just love them. I didn’t know that they are one of the best detox food options. Since the day I came to know this, I love them even more. It boasts of natural aspirin which is known to ease tissue ageing and damage. It reduces inflammation and eases pain. Blueberries have antioxidants that can block viral toxins from crossing blood brain barrier and defeat bacteria which can lead to urinary tract infections.
You can eat them when in season. Make the most out of it when they are available. Here is a recipe for Blueberry Smoothie from hummusapien.com.
Indians love coriander leaves as most of the dishes are finished with garnish of chopped coriander leaves or a sprig of coriander leaves on the top. Do you like coriander? If yes then you will be glad to know that this detox food is a cheap source for your detox regime. Eventually when our body is having heavy metals due to our food sources or lifestyle, the coriander has chelating agents that binds with these heavy metals and detox the body.
Coriander also has a substance called linalool which helps liver health and improves bile secretion for better detoxification. With many antioxidants it capture the free radicals that can slower the ageing process. Thus coriander is known to reduce oxidative state of the body which in turn is helpful in detoxing the body.
Cranberries are known to get rid of the body toxins and can prevent common infection. They also reduce the cellulite content which promotes health. Like carrots, it is best to have unsweetened cranberry juice for maximum health benefits. Cranberries do have ample of Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Quercetin which are antioxidants that help in detoxing your body.
If you are reading it from India then like me you are probably someone who has not yet eaten asparagus. If you are from those people who have had asparagus then you will be happy to know that it aided your detox process. Asparagus is a natural diuretic that aids the kidney to flush toxins from the body and improves the health of the kidney. It also expels high salt concentration from the body.
Asparagus has vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6, as well as folate, iron, copper, calcium and protein. Plus, it’s a rich source of antioxidants. When on hangovers it is a best option to get you through the hangover phase. The minerals and amino acids in asparagus ease hangover effects and protect your hepatic cells form the toxins in the alcohol. So after the New year party you know what to eat now.
Again a not a regular food in India and subcontinent but you will be happy to know that slowly the supply is increasing in order to meet the increasing demand of this super food. It has glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiin and glucobrassicin the nutrients which eliminate toxins from our body.
The flavonoids in Broccoli helps in controlling tissue damage due to natural ageing. So I will like to suggest that you have to start eating Broccoli once in a while.
I agree that this is the third detox food in a row which is not very famous with Indians. But without this one the list would have seemed a little weaker in making the case strong. Grapefruit has pectin which binds to bad cholesterol and eliminates it from the body. It has chelating agents that can bind to heavy metals and flush them out of the body.
Grapefruit when eaten at the breakfast is said to keep your intestine and liver healthy. It promotes the detoxification of these organs as well.
If you hate spinach then you should start loving it like Popeye the sailor man by now. Spinach is a top notch detox food. Spinach is widely known to clean your blood and eliminate any toxins. With a high dose of Vitamin K, Spinach keeps your bone games stronger. It improves skin health and is said to be an alkaline food that is very beneficial to your body. It contains antioxidants like lutein, beta carotene, coumaric acid, violaxanthin, and ferulic acid. All these combined can reduce the oxidative stress on your body.
Spinach flushes cancer causing toxins from the body and thus helps preventing lung, prostate, breast, and colorectal cancer. Now you better start loving your spinach dose on a regular basis.
These are some beautiful looking greens that is an amazing detox food. Artichokes helps in bile secretion which aims at clearing body toxins. Artichokes are also mildly diuretic which helps in clearing toxins via urine once the liver breaks them down. The taste of an artichoke is not very appealing and you will need to acquire the taste to be able to palate it.
Do you really need Detox?
Well even if you need a detox, you will probably be in a denial mode. You only become serious about detoxing when something goes wrong with your health. So listen to me that a stitch in time saves 9. You need to closely observe your health and take a call. If you live a healthy lifestyle with all healthy food choices and exercise then you won’t need a detox. You will be good to go for some time.
If your lifestyle involves any of the following then you need to be careful. The things to watch out for are alcohol, smoke, too much animal proteins, caffeine, stress, sedentary lifestyle, oily food, and too much carbohydrates. If you have one or more of these things in your life then your natural detox cycle is not enough to eliminate all toxins. Going forward you need to keep a tab on your health and undergo detox programs with detox foods to eliminate toxins form your body.
Some of the signs that indicate that you need detoxification are, bad breath, skin blemishes, digestions issues, weight fluctuations, mood swings and anxiety. These signs and symptoms might or might not be conclusive of the toxin levels of your body. But in most of the cases these signs and symptoms are known to be a result of toxin accumulation in the body. In case you feel that you need a detox then here is a 7 day detox diet plan from food.ndtv.com if you are feeling like detoxing yourself.
Whatsoever is your takeaway from this blog, please understand that detox is not just another weight loss plan. It might aid you in the journey of weight loss but in no way it could be relied upon for weight loss. You need to know how much deviated is your lifestyle from the natural process and then accordingly select a detox diet with appropriate detox foods. I hope the list of natural detox foods will be helpful for you. I am writing this near the year end as this is the time when most of people gorge on all kind of unhealthy stuff and booze.
So after the parties are done and when the New Year begins, you will have a guide to fix the body that might be having loads of toxins. See how caring I am and I took this effort just for you. Now if you found this useful then do share with your party buddies and family. If you found anything odd here then do write to me on [email protected] or DM me at foodie_khiladi007.
With this your foodie_khiladi signs off in a hope that this blog has added some value in your life. If you are here for the first time then you can read my other blogs here. I will soon see you in my next blog post till then work on your detox diet plan and start building your health. Keep smiling and spreading the smiles.