Have you spent the last few weeks drinking more than you would like to admit? Have you consumed a possible metric ton of processed sugar, or housed so many pork products that your pores smell like eau du bacon? Well, you aren’t alone. As good as we try to be, the holidays are usually the time when most of us make at least a few dietary mistakes. Don’t focus on feeling guilty. After all, many of those indulgences probably went hand in hand with some great times with friends and family. Instead, focus on getting back to eating healthily, and jumpstarting those efforts with some healthy foods that will help your body cleanse and detoxify itself after the holidays.
Supporting the liver is one of the best ways to detox and many of these foods will get the ball rolling.
The most important ingredient in any detoxifying routine is to add lots and lots of water to your diet. In fact, there should never be a point during your waking hours that you do not have access to water. Of course, having water nearby is only part of the equation. You must, of course, actually drink it. If you are actively detoxifying your body, you may want to drink up to gallon of water each day. The exact amount depends on your body weight, and the amount of liquid you are used to consuming during the day.
Your liver, gallbladder, and colon all benefit from the consumption of lemon juice. First, lemon juice causes your body to increase its production of digestive juices. The result of this is more flushing of toxins through your colon. In addition to increasing the production of digestive juices, the chemical makeup of lemon juice mimics many of those juices as well. Other detoxifying properties of lemons include liver and gall bladder cleansing, aiding in upper respiratory issues, and flushing toxins out of the pores. As an additional benefit, lemons can make water much more palatable.
3. Brussels Sprouts
One of the best things you can do to detoxify your body is to eat foods that support the functions of the organs that ‘carry out the trash.’ These are specifically the skin, the kidneys, and the liver. Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous veggies such as cauliflower contain lots of fiber. This keeps your colon working efficiently and effectively. The result is that your liver has to do less work, because your body is eliminating more toxins via the colon. If you think boiled or steamed brussels sprouts are bitter, try them roasted or grated raw into salads.
Oats are full of fiber and function as a diuretic. This gives you the double benefit of having toxins flushed through both your kidneys and colon. In addition to this, oatmeal also contains the type of fiber that helps to reduce cholesterol and plaque coating your arteries. Don’t worry if oatmeal isn’t your idea of a fun meal or snack. Oats can be blended into smoothies, ground into flour for pancakes, and even eaten stirred into yogurt.
Lentils are a great addition to any detox diet. First, they are an excellent source of vegetable protein. This keeps you feeling full without the fat, calories, and toxins found in many meat sources. They also help regulate your glycemic index. This protects you from the negative impacts of fluctuating blood sugar levels. If all of this isn’t enough to convince you that lentils belong in your diet, consider these two points. Lentils are one of the most inexpensive foods there are. It literally costs pennies per serving to eat them. These tiny little legumes are also a great focal ingredient for many soups and stews. This means that, not only will you enjoy the benefits of lentils, you’ll also be increasing your daily fluid intake without even trying.
Artichokes are delicious and versatile. More exciting still, they are a detoxifying powerhouse. First, artichokes make your liver run more efficiently. This results in more bile production. More bile production means that the foods you eat are broken down more efficiently, improving nutrition absorption as a result. Finally, the fiber in artichokes helps your colon to function better. You may be tempted to enjoy artichokes in fried form, or dipped in rich aioli. However, since you’ve already battered your organs enough with fat over the holidays, you may want to stick with steamed, grilled, or baked versions of the veggie.
Dandelion greens are an old secret that has become new again. If you have grandparents who grew up in the rural south or rural Midwest, there is a good chance that dandelion greens joined collard, turnip, and mustard greens in their menu rotation while they were growing up. What your grandparents probably understood back then was that these greens were cheap, if not free, plentiful, and delicious when prepared the right way. What we know now is that dandelions are a great food for boosting liver function and eliminating toxins from your body. You may not be able to find dandelion greens at your local chain grocery store, however you may be able to find them at a health food store or buy them online. If you decide to forage the plant yourself, be sure to stay away from any areas that get sprayed with chemical fertilizers or bug sprays. If you have never eaten dandelions, treat them like you would another bitter green such as rocket.
8. Green Tea
Green tea is full of antioxidants that help your body fight off damaging free radicals. These are elements that cause the kind of damage to your cells that results in premature aging and cancer. Antioxidants are essentially the warriors that seek out and destroy free radicals. Many people are so happy with the health benefits they gain from drinking green tea that they consume several cups a day. If you want to add more power to the cleansing abilities of water and lemon juice, throw in a bag of green tea, or some matcha tea powder.
Yes, seaweed! This flavorful ingredient that is used to encase your favorite sushi roll has some amazing nutritional benefits. However, if you really want the best cleansing benefits from seaweed, skip the sushi rolls and the little roasted seaweed snacks and go for kelp. You can use this to make salads, dried and sprinkled on soups and other dishes, or encapsulated in pill form. It is low calorie, good for your body, and extremely dense in phytonutrients.
Many people do not realize that a simple spice can help them detox their bodies. Most people drink turmeric in teas, or they enjoy eating the spice in a variety of Indian dishes. If you aren’t completely familiar with the ingredient, turmeric is the spice that gives many Indian and other eastern dishes a decidedly yellow color. When it comes to cleansing, turmeric specifically benefits the liver. Some health practitioners are so confident in the benefits of turmeric that they believe you can detoxify solely by drinking water and adding more turmeric into your diet.
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