Spring is here! For many of us, spring represents a time of renewal. It is why we get that spring cleaning itch once the weather starts to warm up. We’re ready to throw open the windows and doors and get rid of things that feel heavy after the cold winter months.
Our bodies are no exception. This is a great time to cleanse and detox our bodies. Whether you’re gearing up for the hot weather of the summer months, or you just want to feel lighter and healthier, a detox is the perfect place to start.
One of the most important factors determining cognitive function, metabolism and hormone health is how well your body can detoxify itself. You see, there are toxins everywhere – in our food, water, air, clothes, homes, environment, cosmetics, bath and body products, and even in supplements and medications. And these toxins can be putting a fog over your brain, a squash on your libido and some extra blubber on your belly – all while taking a toll on your energy level.
The liver has to process all of these external toxins plus the internal toxins from cell function, hormones, and other waste products. No wonder the liver gets so congested and sick!
The good news is there are certain foods, practices, and supplements that, when combined correctly, can help support your liver’s ability to clean and detoxify your body. Focusing on these foods and boosting core nutrition, while following a fuel-restricted eating plan can give the liver the help it needs to do its job better.
Five important foods to enhance and support detoxification
Most cruciferous veggies lik broccoli are high in sulfur and stimulate glutathione, which enhances detox. Broccoli also contains a lot of fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C. Broccoli is one of the most nutrient-dense foods. In addition to being an excellent source of vitamin C, broccoli is also rich in vitamins K, A, B6, and E, as well as folic acid, fiber, potassium and magnesium.
Like many other members of the cruciferous family, broccoli is rich in glucosinolates. Glucosinolates are phytochemicals with major anticancer properties. Sulforaphane, another compound in broccoli, helps stimulate the body’s production of detoxification enzymes and increase the excretion of excess estrogen (especially the form of estrogen linked to breast cancer).
The extra sulphoraphane found in broccoli is a major factor in helping to detox excess hormones and keep them balanced. Sulphoraphane has also been shown to help rid the body of H. pylori bacteria, which can cause ulcers, stomach cancers, gastritis and indigestion. Broccoli also contains lutein, a powerful carotenoid, which protects the retinas as we age. Eating a cup or two of broccoli a day can pack a powerful nutrition and detoxification punch!
This may be surprising, but eggs are a great source of bioavailable amino acids, and egg yolks are high in sulfur, cysteine, and B vitamins, which support detox. Contrary to popular belief, the cholesterol found in eggs is actually good for you and your heart! Eggs are rich in betaine which reduces levels of homocysteine, a compound that damages blood vessel walls. Eggs are also an incredible source of choline, a key component in cell membranes, providing flexibility and structural integrity.
Phosphatidylcholine is a molecule found in the brain, and along with a few other molecules, accounts for a large part of the brain’s mass, which makes choline vitally important for brain health. Eggs are also a great, inexpensive source of protein. Choosing quality eggs is important to get the highest level of nutrients. Buying organic, cage-free or pasture-raised eggs when possible is best. Try making it a point to add an egg or two into your diet each day.
Raw lemon contains enzymes and vitamin C, and is highly alkalizing. While many think of lemon juice as acidic, it actually helps to make the body more alkaline. Lemon is an also an excellent source of vitamin B6, potassium, folic acid, flavonoids and important phytochemicals like limonene. Limonene has been shown to help dissolve gallstones and may even have anticancer properties. Citrus, including lemon, has been shown to upregulate phase 1 liver detoxification. Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning helps to jumpstart digestion, and the bitterness of lemon wakes up the liver and gets it going. Adding a squeeze of lemon over salads, in homemade dressings, or to add a little kick to any meal can be great ways to incorporate it into your daily meal plan.
Green tea contains vitamins C, D and K, along with riboflavin, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. However, the polyphenols, or catechins, in green tea are where you find the most benefits. The catechins in green tea have been shown to stimulate phase 2 liver detoxification and prevent oxidative stress. Catechins increase the activity of antioxidant enzymes in the small intestine, liver and lungs. Green tea polyphenols have also been shown to inhibit cancer by suppressing the activation of carcinogens and detoxifying cancer-causing agents from the body. Drinking a few cups of high-quality green tea each day is helpful in detoxing the body.
We all know that eating foods rich in fiber is important for digestion, but it’s also an important factor in detox. When you eat plenty of fiber, you encourage your body to dump toxins into your bowels for elimination. It is also what helps you have regular bowel movements, which is vitally important in eliminating toxins from our bodies. It is also important to use binders to prevent reabsorption of cholesterol, toxins and cellular waste.
Fiber, such as inulin and glucomannan, are excellent binders. Fiber also provides a food source for our beneficial gut flora. It is an important source of the short-chain fatty acids that nourish our intestinal cells. Fiber also plays a role in keeping blood sugar regulated. Lignans, compounds found in high-fiber foods, have shown anticancer, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral activity. Lignans also increase the production of SHBG (sex hormone-binding globulin), a protein that regulates estrogen levels by escorting excess estrogen from the body. Flaxseeds are the most abundant source of lignans. Be sure you’re adding in several servings of fiber each day. Good sources of fiber are seeds, grains and legumes.
These are just a few examples of the powerful foods that can be used to naturally support detoxification, while also providing powerful nutrition to your body – regulating hormones, balancing blood sugar, supporting digestion, promoting heart health, nourishing your brain and keeping cells healthy.
21-Day Metabolic Rehab and Hormone Makeover
Want to learn more about detoxification, or better yet, do a guided detox program to rehab your metabolism and upgrade your brain and boost your hormones?
Click here to learn more about my 21-Day Metabolic Rehab & Hormone Makeover program to guide you through the process. I’ll teach you how to use nutrient-dense foods, supplements and simple lifestyle changes to detox your body, reduce inflammation, increase energy and release weight naturally.