Detoxifying Foods (And How They Work)
There’s no need to limit your intake of detoxifying foods to a dedicated cleanse. There are plenty of fruits, vegetables, spices and herbs that can optimize the body’s natural cleansing mechanisms. Seek out foods that support elimination – tasks carried out by the liver, kidneys and digestive system; help the body rid itself of free radicals; and cleanse the blood.
Use this list of everyday ingredients to prevent toxic buildup – from foods, environmental conditions, or beauty products, and help make system-brightening decisions everyday. Compiled by Urban Remedy founder, Neka Pasquale, an acupuncture and food as medicine practitioner, this condensed list of foods has been excerpted and condensed from her book, Urban Remedy, The 4-Day Home Cleanse Retreat, published by Weldon Owen.
This popular root vegetable carries major clout in the world of good health. Its bright red juice is rich in phytonutrients which provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. Rich in nitrogen, beets have the ability to reduce high blood pressure and oxygenate the blood for energy. In traditional Chinese medicine, beets are used to build the blood, support the heart, calm the spirit, lubricate the intestines, and cleanse the liver.
This medicinal powerhouse contains essential oils that calm the nervous system and are effective in easing insomnia. Celery juice may also help lower blood pressure and reduce acidity in the body, and the presence of polyacetylene has been shown to lower inflammation. Celery also calms the liver and has a detoxifying effect.
Known as pu gong ying in Chinese medicine, dandelion greens are used to clear heat and toxins from the liver and stomach. We all know how it feels when we’ve had one too many glasses of wine and wake up feeling hot and thirsty at three in the morning. This is because alcohol is hot by nature and heats up the liver, and the liver has to filter the toxins of the alcohol. Drinking fresh dandelion juice will clear the heat and the toxins.
One of the most healthful vegetables, kale is rich in vitamins A, K, and C; minerals like iron and calcium; and chlorophyll and antioxidants. Part of the mustard family, kale has compounds shown to have anti-cancer properties. Kale also supports eye health and bone growth, and lowers inflammation. It is naturally warming and bitter and used to soothe congestion and improve stomach function in traditional Chinese medicine.
Ginger lowers inflammation, supports digestion, and reduces bloating and nausea. Warming in nature and a powerful antioxidant, it is used in traditional Chinese medicine for stomach ailments, to promote circulation, and to cure colds.
Queen of all medicinal plants, fresh turmeric root and its anti-oxidative ingredient, curcumin, is thought to help reduce inflammation in the body, strengthen the immune system, and support overall health and wellness. It is used in traditional Chinese medicine to heal wounds, strengthen digestion, support liver health and detoxification, and lower inflammation.
Outside of the body, lemon juice is an acid. But once you drink it, it has an alkaline effect – and a slightly alkaline body is what you want for optimal health. Cooling in nature, lemon aids digestion and has a cleansing effect. Lemons are also full of vitamin C which is great for the immune system and boosts energy.
Known as a blood purifier, burdock root is used in Ayurvedic medicine to heal many skin disorders, from eczema and psoriasis to rashes and acne. You can add sliced burdock root to salads or juice it.
Rich in energy-producing chlorophyll, parsley helps to build red blood cells, which translates to higher energy levels. It also freshens the breath and increases oxygenation of cells, supporting detoxification.
Cucumber juice contains soluble fiber, which assists nutrient absorption through the intestinal tract. Even though cucumbers are 96 percent water, their juice is rich in hydrating electrolytes. Cool and sweet, cucumber is a natural diuretic. Cucumber juice is also rich in alkaline-forming minerals and is an excellent source of vitamins C and A, folate, manganese, molybdenum, potassium, silica, sulfur and small amounts of vitamin B complex, sodium, calcium, phosphorus, and chlorine. The silica and sulfur support hair growth and healthy skin.