Detox is a huge buzzword. It's also a massive industry. The problem is that it's a bit misleading. If you haven't read our blog on the problem with detoxing, it's a must before you plunge into any detoxing protocol.
But here's a quick synopsis:
Your body is a sophisticated machine. It knows how to clear up and clean out the onslaught of toxins that we're exposed to every day. Most nutritionists will tell you that your liver is your primary defense, but actually, we have to disagree.
Your body's primary defense is your ability to choose what goes in and what stays out. We can't prevent all toxins from finding their way in, but we can enforce a maximum number allowed and have a damage control protocol in place. That's where good eating choices come in.
There are loads of natural, whole foods available in your local supermarket that can help your body do the clean up work required to keep things running smoothly (if you catch my drift). That said, these foods aren't necessarily detox agents. An actual detoxification involves medically-administered chelation or a very specific and expert-appointed diet including foods that bind to toxins in order to remove them.
We want to approach the word detox a little more gently, more along the lines of clearing and cleansing. And these fruits and vegetables offer some of the best nutrients to do that. But before we plunge in, it's essential to determine what your goals are. Do you want to do a liver detox? A detox for weight loss? Or an alcohol detox? Liver cleansing and weight loss are the two most common reasons people embark on a detox, so we'll cover those two.
What Are The Best Vegetables For Liver Detox?
Post St. Patrick's day may leave you feeling a little, well, withered. It takes only a few years in our early twenties to discover that alcohol is one of the most effective and efficient ways to dehydrate your body and mess with your equilibrium. Waking up after a night of liquid celebration has found many people of all ages asking Google--what are the best vegetables for alcohol detox?
Using fruits and vegetables, whether whole or juiced, is a gentle and non-invasive way to cleanse your body and promote cellular renewal and healing. It's also an effective way to give your liver a little TLC. Let's take a look at what the liver does and how you can help it.
The liver excretes bile, a bitter yellow substance that carries waste products away from the liver (it's also the horribly uncomfortable stuff that comes up when you've effectively retched out the last of the previous night's liquid celebration!). All the blood leaving the stomach and intestines passes through the liver, which regulates the blood's chemical levels. It also metabolizes fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, activates necessary enzymes, and stores glycogen, vitamins and minerals.
Interesting fact: it's the only organ, or part of the human body for that matter, that can regenerate itself, sort of like a lizard and grow back its own tail.
It's obvious that the liver has a lot of work to do! So any cleansing protocol should be gentle but effective.
Coffee and tea are excellent liver detoxifiers, but since we're on the subject of fruits and veggies, we'll limit that conversation only to report that coffee boosts antioxidant levels in the liver, and tea helps boost enzymes.
This is perhaps one of the most delicious ways to give your liver a reboot. This sweet n' tart, juicy fruit contains two antioxidants that are super liver helpers: naringenin and naringin. Both lower the risk of developing fibrosis in the liver, which occurs when there is an excessive build up of connective tissue resulting from chronic inflammation. And great news for the single malt lovers--naringin may help to metabolize alcohol, reducing its harmful and unpleasant effects.
Blueberries contain an important antioxidant called anthocyanin, which gives them their deep indigo hue. But this nutrient does far more than just make blueberries beautiful! These disease fighters minimize the accumulation of fat in the liver, helping to prevent NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease). There is also evidence to suggest that they counteract inflammation and oxidative stress (1).
Broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and mustard greens contain beneficial plant compounds and loads of fiber that help protect the liver from damage. Like tea, they also help to boost enzymes that assist the liver in its natural detoxification process.
What Are The Best Vegetables For Detox And Weight Loss?
Vegetables that offer the highest potential for weight loss are the ones low in sugar, high in fiber, and have a high water content. Fiber helps increase the diversity of your gut's beneficial bacteria, which is linked to disease prevention. Insoluble fiber, specifically, helps move waste through your colon, preventing constipation and stagnation, and keeping your digestive tract clean and healthy. Examples of vegetables high in insoluble fiber include beans, cauliflower, green beans, and potatoes.
Considered a powerhouse vegetable for its range of benefits, spinach is a satisfying munch for those looking to cleanse and shed some extra pounds. It's high in protein and fiber and low in calories. Consuming it raw is best for keeping those important B vitamins and enzymes viable. Boiling spinach actually prevents the absorption of minerals like calcium. If you can't stand it raw, try gently steaming it.
Broccoli, Cauliflower & Brussel Sprouts.
From the family of cruciferous vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts are high in fiber and other essential nutrients, low in calories, and incredibly filling. Lightly steaming them helps retain natural enzymes required for optimal digestion, and keeps that satisfying crunch alive.
Here's another delicious vegetable that's low in calories and high in fiber, making it ideal for including in your weight loss protocol. It's an excellent low-carb stand-in for potato and sweet potato, and it offers the same kind of grounding, high-carb satisfaction as its more starchy cousins. Now obviously, that doesn't apply to pumpkin pie. Enjoy it steamed or mashed with a bit of olive oil and sea salt.
Last But Not Least: Lemon
Freshly-squeezed lemon juice is an excellent liver cleanser and super high in Vitamin C. It helps flush toxins out of your body, and although it has an acidic composition, it has a disease-fighting alkaline effect on the body. Drinking a cup of warm water with fresh lemon juice added each morning is a great way to flush out the stomach's morning acidity and stimulate your liver.
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