Even though spring has almost passed, it’s still a great time to lighten up and start fresh. This is the season to clean things out, whether that be your home or the sluggishness that comes from eating poorly the previous year. Now is the time to favor seasonal fruits and veggies over meat and starches.
Incorporating these nine foods into your diet will help you purge the detritus of the past year in preparation for lighter, brighter days ahead.
Cleanse Your Body and Mind
Detoxifying the body has been practiced throughout recorded history. Roman baths, sweat lodges, and mineral springs have long attracted people wishing to rid their bodies of toxins, both mental and physical.
Cleanses are meant to be engaged whole cloth, by the body and the mind, through stillness and attention. A proper cleanse includes ceasing productive life for a time, to direct one’s focus toward processing and releasing that which no longer serves. Spring is a traditional time for cleansing, which serves as a reboot for the system.
“Spring clean” by ridding closets of worn and unused items and donating excesses to charitable causes. Don’t forget to purge your pantry as well, making room for a bounty of fresh garden produce, especially greens, asparagus, and cruciferous vegetables that mark the early harvest.
When it comes to cleansing methods, most people can’t afford to take a week off from their routines to detox. So, how can a busy person safely and efficiently remove toxins and reboot their system while living an actual life? The key is to eat more—not less—of these nine detoxifying foods.
1. Broccoli Sprouts
Sprouted broccoli seeds, along with the sprouted seeds of other cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts and cabbage, produce a sulfur-based nutrient called sulforaphane. Studies on sulforaphane have linked it to such effects as reducing inflammation, slowing tumor growth, blocking cancerous DNA mutations, and detoxifying the body by neutralizing toxic free radicals.
One of the most notable effects of sulforaphane is how fast it clears toxins from the body. And while eating whole broccoli has significant health benefits, broccoli sprouts may be even more powerful. At just three days old, the sprouts contain nearly 100 times more sulforaphane per gram than the mature plant.
Whey protein, a byproduct of the cheese-making process, is an amino acid-rich supplement long favored by bodybuilders and the health-conscious. Associated with improving body weight and reducing fat composition, whey can be an effective aid in the treatment of certain metabolic conditions such as high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and lipid metabolism.
In a 2008 study on whey supplementation for weight loss, subjects consuming whey protein drinks twice daily lost significantly more body fat than control subjects consuming a calorically equivalent placebo. While both groups lost weight, the whey protein group lost significantly more fat while preserving more lean muscle than those who took the placebo.
Chlorella is a versatile nutritional supplement derived from freshwater algae. Used to support health and wellness, chlorella is a good source of vitamins and minerals, but this supplement’s superpower may be its detoxifying properties.
Numerous studies demonstrate chlorella’s ability to purify different chemical contaminants. In a study published in the journal Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology, researchers explored chlorella’s detoxifying effects on carbon tetrachloride, a chemical known to cause acute liver failure at high exposures. Dosing with chlorella extract produced a protective action through antioxidant effects, markedly reversing disease phenotypes in test mice.
Another study was performed to estimate the effects of chlorella on certain carcinogenic chemicals commonly found in the Western diet. Dosing human female subjects with chlorella resulted in significantly lower amounts of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) in the urine than control subjects. HCAs are a class of carcinogenic chemicals formed by cooking muscle meats at high temperatures.
Chlorella is only available in supplement form and can be added to a fruit smoothie to aid palatability. Green algae are a rich source of iodine that may also help remove fluoride from the body.
4. Apple Pectin
Apples aren’t only delicious and convenient—nature’s fast food—they’re a rich source of pectin, a beneficial plant fiber associated with gut health. Pectin causes homemade jams and jellies to thicken and gel, and more importantly, it chemically binds to toxins in your body, allowing your gastrointestinal (GI) tract to flush them out.
In 1990, research was published on children of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster in Russia. Considered at high risk for contamination, these children were closely monitored for long-term development of radiation poisoning. As part of a strategic intervention, apple pectin was administered to test subjects for a two-week period under supervision.
Compared to placebo subjects, children receiving pectin experienced a reduction in body burden of Cesium-137, a deadly radioactive isotope. Consuming whole organic apples is a great way to get more pectin in your diet, but it’s also available as a supplement. In powder form, apple pectin makes a pleasant addition to smoothies, but you should consume it immediately after mixing, lest it thickens too much.
If you’re not already a coffee drinker, you may want to reconsider during a detox. Coffee is a superfood that provides sharper focus and can rid your body of xenobiotics, substances that are foreign to your body.
A study published in the journal Cancer Research found that green coffee beans fed to mice produced glutathione (GSH) S-transferase, a major detoxification enzyme. Consumption of green coffee beans promoted GSH S-transferase activity in the small intestine and liver of mice, lending support to research that has uncovered coffee’s anti-tumorigenic effect on the liver.
Garlic is another plant-based detoxifier that is probably already in your kitchen. Garlic contains the organosulfur compound allicin, which boosts the number of detoxifying enzymes that are present in your body. A 2010 study identified that these compounds, found in high concentrations in onions and garlic, may induce phase II detoxifying enzymes that bind to reactive metabolites in the bloodstream, thus facilitating their elimination.
Other studies on garlic have demonstrated its effectiveness at reducing lead concentrations in the blood and tissue, including a 2012 study published in Basic Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology that determined garlic may be clinically safer and just as effective as d-penicillamine at removing lead from the body.
Curcumin, one of the active polyphenols in the spice turmeric, is a super-supplement with an array of health-promoting properties, including its ability to detoxify your body through antioxidation.
Curcumin’s detoxification and antioxidant effects were observed in an animal study on rats exposed to mercury. Oral curcumin treatment, at a dose of 80 milligrams per kilogram of body weight daily for three days, was found to have a protective effect on mercury-induced oxidative stress parameters, namely lipid peroxidation and catalase activities in the liver, kidney, and brain. Catalase is an important enzyme that protects cells from oxidative damage by free radicals.
Curcumin treatment was also effective for reversing mercury-induced serum biochemical changes, which are the markers of liver and kidney injury. Mercury concentration in the tissues was also decreased by the pre- and post-exposure treatment with curcumin.
If you plan to incorporate smoothies into your spring detox, consider adding ginger and turmeric for additional detoxifying effects. A 2016 study found that turmeric and ginger were effective at eliminating arsenic, a highly toxic metal, from the body.
Results showed that the combination was not only useful in increasing the amount of arsenic eliminated via feces and urine, but it also provided a protective effect against damage caused by arsenic exposure.
9. Green Tea
A cool glass of fresh green tea may sound purely indulgent as temperatures climb, but did you know that you may also be providing a boost to your detox efforts? Consumption of green tea has been clinically shown to reduce the adverse effects of lead and may even help to increase fertility.
An experimental study of 70 rats exposed to lead showed that rats given green tea extract retained more bodyweight than other test subjects and showed reduced effects of lead poisoning. Male rats in the green tea group also had the highest sperm counts and lowest rate of sperm abnormalities, helping to reduce lead’s damaging effects on fertility.
The GMI Research Group is dedicated to investigating the most important health and environmental issues of the day. Special emphasis will be placed on environmental health. Our focused and deep research will explore the many ways in which the present condition of the human body directly reflects the true state of the ambient environment. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Sign up for the newsletter at www.GreenmedInfo.health