“Detoxing” isn’t about telling our organs what to do, but instead, an automatic bodily process that we can support and enhance with specific foods and lifestyle habits to better eliminate various environmental pollutants that we’re exposed to. Here are the top 10 foods for detox and liver support to consume regularly!
It’s easy to think we need to undergo extreme diet regimens in order to “detox” or bodies. And while there certainly are certain protocols for those in need of things like heavy metal detoxification, the truth is that our bodies already have specific processes in place to detoxify each and every day. Better yet, there are daily habits and amazing foods we can eat regularly to help support these very processes.
It’s not about telling our organs what to do to cleanse themselves, but instead, supporting them and enhancing their ability to better eliminate various environmental pollutants and other toxins we’re exposed to on a day-to-day basis.
If you haven’t yet seen my video or blog post on Detox 101, I strongly suggest you give it a watch (or read!) as I cover all the basics of detoxification, what it is, what it isn’t, plus a few must-know tips.
As for today? Let’s talk about the top 10 foods for detox and liver support!
The Top 10 Foods for Detox & Liver Support
1. Cruciferous Veggies
Vegetables in the cruciferous family, such as kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and bok choy, help in activating and enhancing phases 1 and 2 liver detoxification. Pretty cool, right? This is due to compounds they contain such as indole-3 carbinol (I-3C). I-3C also helps break down carcinogens and excrete excess hormones.
Eat these vegetables steamed, raw, in salads, stir fry’s, or in smoothies!
Beets are one of the most liver-loving vegetables. They contain a phytonutrient called betaine that helps support liver detoxification, and they’re loaded with antioxidant-rich pigments that protect liver cells – and all cells in our body – from free radical damage.
Cilantro is what’s known as a heavy metal chelator (think of a claw that “grabs” onto toxins) that allows us to excrete metals such as mercury and lead, as well as other chemicals such as phthalates, plastics and insecticides.
Cilantro is definitely a love-it-or-hate-it type of green. I personally love it, but if you can’t stand the taste, parsley is another great option.
4. Spinach (+ other iron-rich foods)
Iron is essential building block of the liver detoxification enzymes (these fancy guys called cytochrome p-450s). If you don’t know what I’m talking about, make sure you read my previous post on Detox 101.
Here’s the thing: since iron plays such an important role with these enzymes, if you’re iron deficient, you won’t be able to detox as effectively.
Some other iron rich foods are animal proteins (red meat, turkey, eggs), lentils, oats, nuts, and seeds.
There’s a lot to love about turmeric. Curcumin, one of its active constituents responsible for its bright yellow colour, helps enhance Phase 2 detoxification enzymes. Turmeric is also loaded with antioxidants and helps protect the liver from heavy metal damage. It’s also very anti-inflammatory food.
Turmeric can be purchased in its whole root form, or in powder (that’s how I usually use it). It can easily be added to a smoothie, Golden Milk, or cooked in a variety of dishes, like curries and other stir fry’s.
6. Green Tea
Green tea is by far one of my favourites to consume! Especially first thing in the morning. Green tea contains a fancy compound called epigallocatechin-gallate (EGCG) which helps aid phase 2 liver detoxification. Green tea is also very high in antioxidants including quercetin. Green tea provides all around liver support. I just love it!
Who knew garlic could help support our liver? Not only is it well-known cold & flu buster due to its antibacterial properties, it can also help bind to and excrete heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, cadmium and some carcinogens.
One of garlic’s constituents, allicin, may help increase liver enzymes.
Dandelion. An innocent herb that many of us deem as a useless weed is actually all kinds of awesome. Dandelion, especially its root, is known as a liver tonic that helps helps to modulate Phase 1 and Phase 2 detoxification enzymes. Dandelion is also a “bitter” that’s great for stimulating digestion, liver, and gallbladder function.
I personally enjoy dandelion in tea form. It can also be taken in tincture form. But note that it does have a bitter taste (that’s what makes it so powerful!)
9. Milk Thistle
Milk thistle is another wonderful herb for liver support. It can help enhances glutathione production (our bodies master antioxidant), help protect the liver, assist in phase 2 detoxification enzymes, plus it’s a bitter as well for stimulating the liver/gallbladder/digestion/kidneys.
Chlorella is blue-green algae that acts as a chelator for toxins, allowing them to be effectively removed from body. Everybody is different and you don’t necessarily need to consume chlorella every day, but it’s a great superfood to have in your cupboard to throw in your smoothies from time to time, such as this Triple Green Detox Smoothie. A little goes a long way. 1/2 tsp will do!
Which of these foods are your favourite? Do you consume any of these regularly?