In a perfect world, your body should detox everything. But in a perfect world, we're not meant to consume fast food or too much sugar, never mind alcohol or even over-the-counter medications. Imperfections in our diet happen everyday. I put together this list of foods that detox to help get your body on track, and to show you just how easy it is to eat right! Thankfully there are lots of foods that help to detox and cleanse our bodies - helping to flush out toxins that could otherwise slow fat metabolism and increase inflammation. Here are just a few.
The Power of Detoxifying Foods
There are literally thousands of types of foods that you could eat that contain some potential nutrition benefit to them. As a general rule of thumb, foods that are less processed are considered to be less healthy, and foods that are more processed are more healthy. Oranges are better than orange juice, a baked potato is better than French fries, and dark chocolate is better than a chocolate cookie.
But of the thousands of foods that are out there, some contain nutrients that help to improve your body's built in detoxification system. Our liver and kidneys do a great job moving toxins part of the way out of our body through a process known as phase 1 detoxification. Phase 2 detoxification is the part our bodies don't do so great with. Phase 2 is the part of detoxification where we move the toxins out of our body so they can't be reabsorbed. It's pretty important.
These are 5 foods I have in my kitchen at all times that help to detoxify garbage that shouldn't be in your body out so it's no longer harmful.
1. Detox Benefits of Cinnamon
You probably have cinnamon in your kitchen right now. You may not be using it as liberally as you should, but it makes it to the top of my list of foods that detox because it's so helpful. Cinnamon is a fantastic warming spice, especially over the winter months. Here are a few reasons you should up your cinnamon intake.
- Cinnamon improves blood sugar levels. Research has shown that type 2 diabetics who consumed as little as one gram (about a quarter of a teaspoon) of cinnamon a day had reduced glucose and lipid levels. (1)
- Cinnamon is a great source of fiber and calcium. This combo of nutrients helps to remove bile salts from the body, which is remarkably beneficial in preventing colon cancer. Of course, any extra fiber you can get helps to eliminate all unwanted toxins from the body.
- Cinnamon helps to prevent chronic and acute inflammation. So, whether you’re dealing with a bothersome toothache or ongoing arthritis, cinnamon can help.
HOW TO USE IT: Combine ½ to 1 teaspoon of Ceylon cinnamon in smoothies, oatmeal or yogurt in the morning. Add to roasted vegetables or stews in the evening.
2. Detox Benefits of Dandelion Root Tea
Ok- this one might not be in your kitchen cupboard, but dandelion root tea is available in most grocery stores across. This is my absolute favorite brand. I never leave home without a handful of dandelion root tea pouches, especially when I’m traveling.
One of the big reasons I love this tea is because it helped me lose a bunch of water weight I was hanging onto after a couple of my pregnancies. I followed The Belly Burn Plan, too, but dandelion root tea has been a tried and true staple for me. If you’re prone to fluid retention or can’t seem to shake the last ten pounds, make this tea your friend.
- Dandelion root tea helps to facilitated the metabolism of fat in the liver, making it easier to get rid of unwanted weight.
- Dandelion root tea helps to reduce bloating and puffiness by pushing toxins and unneeded fluid out of the body.
- Dandelion root tea helps to improve digestion.
HOW TO USE IT: Steep one bag of dandelion root tea in one to two cups of water for 10 to 15 minutes. Add a little lemon and enjoy. When it's warm outside, I like to make a few cups, cool them in the refrigerator, then add some ice and lemon to sip on throughout the day.
3. Detox Benefits of Brussels Sprouts
You may not love Brussels spouts, but they will love your body! Available year round, Brussels sprouts are best when they are lightly roasted or steamed. This cruciferous vegetable is arguably one of the greatest detoxifiers known.
- Brussels sprouts help to handcuff toxins, escorting them out of the body.
- Brussels sprouts turn on the enzymes in our body that fight cancer.
- Brussels sprouts help to squelch the effects of inflammation that can lead to weight gain, skin conditions and disease.
HOW TO USE THEM: Toss cleaned Brussels sprouts, toss with two tablespoons of olive oil and and roast at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes (just until they’re cooked through, but not burned).
4. Detox Benefits of Carrots
Carrots are my favorite vegetable of all time. I eat a lot of them. A lot. I am not even the least bit far sighted. Coincidence? I think not. Whether carrots help our vision or not, they make the list of foods that detox, in part, because they're an inexpensive and convenient way to make your diet so much better.
- Consuming just ¼ cup of carrots a day helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Carrots are an excellent source of carotenoids, which help to prevent oxidation in our bodies.
- Carrots contain vitamin A, which helps improve both our immune system, vision and skin.
HOW TO USE THEM: The greatest benefits of carrots from in their raw form. Enjoy solo or paired with guacamole, hummus or black bean dip.
5. Detox Benefits of Beets
The only other vegetable on the list that rivals Brussels sprouts for top spot in the detox category. Raw or lightly roasted, beets do amazing things for your body.
- Our body detoxes in two phases – 1 and 2. We tend to eat plenty of foods that help with phase 1, but pull up short when it comes to phase 2. Beets happen to be great with phase 2 detoxification. This all-important phase helps to move toxins out of our body after they’ve been liberated from our liver.
- Beets are a stellar inflammation fighter, easing aches and pains.
- Beets have been shown the reduce blood pressure. (2) Regularly drinking just one glass of beet root juice a day can have a positive effect!
HOW TO USE THEM: The benefits of beets are easily destroyed if you bake them at too high of heat for too long. I recommend washing the beets unpeeled, chop them into cubes, toss with a little olive oil or coconut oil and bake at 325 for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, add a little sea salt and enjoy.Alternatively, you can juice beets as well! If you have a Vitamix, blend away with a few berries, water and a dash of stevia. Enjoy!
If you want more information on detoxifying foods, and the recipes that go with them, pick up a copy of my book, The Belly Burn Plan. Your body will love your for it!
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