By Christina Pirello
Raw or cooked, in soups, salads, or juices, greens like kale, collards, watercress, arugula, spinach, bok choy, and broccoli (to name a few) are jam-packed with chlorophyll, which helps rid the body of environmental toxins and works to protect the liver.
Lightly diuretic, leafy greens, especially watercress and arugula, work with the liver to flush out toxins while their rich mineral content keeps you strong.
Known as "icicle radish" for its creamy color, this peppery root looks like a large white carrot and packs a cleansing punch. It’s rich in the best vitamins and minerals to stimulate weight loss: riboflavin, for normal thyroid function; pantothenic acid, which assists in energy production and adrenal function; vitamin B6, essential to thyroid hormone production and metabolism; choline, found in various foods like egg yolks and legumes (and synthesized by the liver), which is essential for liver function and responsible for fat metabolism; vitamin C, which aids in the conversion of glucose to energy; chromium and manganese, minerals required for fat metabolism; and zinc, which helps regulate appetite and the release of insulin.
A rich source of vitamin C, the ultimate detox vitamin, lemon helps convert toxins into their water-soluble form so they are easily flushed from the system.
Garlic activates liver enzymes that aid the body in filtering out anything you don’t want hanging around. On top of that, garlic stimulates circulation and contains antibacterial compounds to help the body to cleanse efficiently.
In their unprocessed form, whole grains like brown rice, barley, and quinoa are excellent sources of soluble fiber, which mops up toxins and helps clear them out. Fiber also strengthens digestion so you assimilate nutrients and detox more effectively.
An antioxidant-rich tea (but only when brewed), this is one of the healthiest liquids around. Loaded with catechins, which improve liver function, green tea is the perfect detox-and-relax brew.
While all sprouts aid the body in breaking down fats, broccoli sprouts are at the top of the heap. With more cancer-fighting, enzyme-stimulating activity in each bite than its grown-up veggie, broccoli sprouts should have a proud spot atop salads and sandwiches on a regular basis.
This humble peasant vegetable can be the key to a healthy liver that functions at its peak. A potent anti-inflammatory food, cabbage powerfully activates both types of detox enzymes in the liver, making it a powerful tool in a cleanse.
While high in simple sugars, the fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants, and nutritious juices present in whole fruits trump the downside of sugar any day.
When all is said and done, if you aren’t properly hydrated, all your cleansing efforts will be compromised. Making up about 60 percent of your body weight, every system in your body relies on water. Responsible for everything from great, supple skin and regular bowel function to flushing out toxins and carrying nutrients to cells, water is essential. You lose about 12 cups of water a day through urine, sweat, breathing, and bowel movements. Food accounts for about 20 percent of your intake of fluid, but only if you are eating lots of vegetables and whole grains. You need to drink water to make up the rest; hence the “eight glasses a day” guideline. Adjust your water intake according to your diet and exercise level.
From leafy green vegetables to cabbage to water, see what foods are best for a daily detox regimen.