Say sayonara to pesticides and chemicals lingering in your body with these seven ways to detoxify your diet.
1. Fish out contaminants.
Nix contaminated fish, such as farmed Atlantic salmon, which has high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and grouper, swordfish, Chilean sea bass, tuna, and halibut, which contain mercury. Wild Alaskan salmon, on the other hand, has low levels of mercury and high levels of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. (It's also a more sustainable choice.) For a complete list of the best and worst fish, go to oceansalive.org.
2. Choose organic.
Crinnion suggests lowering your exposure to pesticides by always opting organic for the Environmental Working Group's “dirty dozen,” the 12 most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables: peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, lettuce, imported grapes, pears, spinach, and potatoes.
3. Get more greens.
Consume the recommended five to nine servings a day of fruits and vegetables — most important, dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables. Dark leafy greens come packed with cleansing antioxidants and toxin-eradicating chlorophyll, while cruciferous vegetables are especially powerful because they stimulate production of the detox enzyme glutathione-s-transferases (GST). GST binds to heavy metals, solvents, and pesticides, and then ushers them out of the body through the stool.
4. Veg out.
Try to eat a mostly vegetarian diet that is rich in protein but low in fat and carbohydrates. “A high-sugar, high-fat diet, which is standard American fare, makes toxins stay in the bloodstream longer,” says Crinnion. The more energy your liver expends to process high-fat foods — which take more effort to digest than lower-fat ones — the less oomph it has to complete its detoxification work.
5. Give your liver an herbal boost.
Your liver breaks apart toxins so that they can be excreted through the lungs, intestines, skin, or urine. But because it doesn't always show outward signs of sluggish operation until matters get serious (think cirrhosis and hepatitis), this hardworking organ needs the most love. Support the liver by taking cleansing herbs. Your best bet: a premade formula like ReNew Life's Liver Detox or CleanseSmart, which contain combinations of star herbs.
6. Vitalize with supplements.
The liver thrives with ample supplies of certain vitamins and minerals. To be sure you're getting enough — at least the recommended daily amount — supplement your diet with vitamins A, C, and E; B vitamins; zinc; calcium; and selenium. A good-quality multivitamin and multimineral supplement will give you plenty of these essentials.
7. Drink your antioxidants.
Crinnion recommends drinking at least three cups of green tea a day (the equivalent of about one green-tea supplement capsule). A 2007 study in Cancer Epidemiology found that green tea's catechins boost production of glutathione enzymes, which help the liver get rid of cancer-causing toxins.