by Christine Hunt
Other blogs in my Detox series that you may be interested in reading are:
Better Living Through Chemistry. Do you remember that slogan? It was a way for manufacturers to change the opinions of consumers to one of acceptance of big businesses. The DuPont chemical company originally coined a variation of the slogan in 1935 and used it until 1982.
But like many things, a little bit can be good but a lot is too much. These days there are A LOT of chemicals that we are exposed to in the air, water, food and fabrics that we come in contact with. Even sales receipts contain chemicals that can cause a disruption in estrogen levels.
In previous articles I mentioned why it is important to detox, what toxins to avoid and different liquids that will help to rid your body of toxins. This article will focus on using foods to flush them away.
But first, let’s define food. Although there are thousands of products on grocery store shelves that purport to be food, many are simply ingredients, including chemicals, that create a food-like product.
An example is beverages. Most of them are nothing but water, sugar, flavoring, coloring and preservatives.
Do you use Cool Whip? Do you think of it as whipped cream? Think again. It is defined as a “Whipped Topping”. The main ingredients are water, hydrogenated vegetable oil and high fructose corn syrup. Milk and cream are low on the list along with the chemicals that give it flavor and texture.
I tend to have a different definition of food. Mine is related to what farmers harvest from the soil. To me, food consists of lettuce, green beans, beets, carrots, chard, kale, onions, various beans, parsley, corn, rice, beets, peppers, melons, parsnips, lemons, limes, berries, mushrooms, herbs, spices and so much more.
Real food doesn’t contain chemicals (except for those that are genetically modified and what is sprayed on conventionally grown crops). Real food is something that the body recognizes and can readily absorb and utilize the vitamins, minerals, proteins, enzymes, amino acids and other components that our bodies need to thrive. Chemicals in our body are targeted as foreign invaders and attacked by the immune system causing inflammation, endocrine disruption, weight gain and chronic illness.
Real food nourishes and heals the body which is also why it can be used to detox the body.
An advantage of detoxing with food is that it is a slower process than using fluids and they can be incorporated into your regular meal plans. Fluid detoxes may flush toxins out of tissues and cells more quickly than the liver and elimination organs can safely remove. This can lead to a life-threatening self-intoxication or liver coma.
When buying food, incorporate as many organic foods as possible to reduce what goes into the body to begin with. Conventionally grown foods contain pesticides, herbicides and fungicides that are lipophilic, meaning they resist breaking down in water and are then stored in body fat where they can remain for long periods of time. The more accumulation, the greater potential for chronic illness because once enough of these toxic chemicals get into a cell, they disrupt its function.
An example of this is the insecticide chemical, chlorpyrifos, which can cause cholinesterase inhibition in humans. Simply put this means that it over stimulates your nervous system leading to potential symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, confusion, muscular tremors and even difficulty breathing and death. And that is just one chemical out of the hundreds found in our bloodstreams.
If you are concerned about the cost of organic vs. conventionally grown foods consider the long term advantages of better nutrition and less health problems as you age and the money you will save overall.
If you have to choose only certain foods to buy organic, pick animal products first. Factory farm animals eat feed full of pesticides and these toxins accumulate in their flesh. And you are not only ingesting pesticides but also antibiotics and hormones injected into the animals. Once you have eliminated conventionally raised animal products from your diet, then you can try to buy organic versions of the most highly contaminated fruits and veggies which are:
Peaches Bell Peppers
Cherries Grapes (imported)
Here are some foods and methods to help you detox.
Heavy metals include mercury, lead, cadmium and aluminum. If you have mercury (amalgam) fillings in your teeth, eat top of the food chain seafood such as swordfish and tuna or have had vaccinations, you most likely have mercury in your blood and organ tissues. Lead is found in older water pipes, canned foods, paints and other common things we come in contact with. Cadmium is found in fertilizers, black rubber, refined wheat flour and other items. Aluminum is found in baby formulas, deodorants, pots and pans and some drugs and personal care products. In short, they are everywhere and they are in us.
Foods to help remove heavy metals:
Brazil Nuts – rich in selenium which helps to flush mercury out of the body.
Chlorella – a green algae which aids in heavy metal detoxification. Can be taken in pill or powder form.
Cilantro – binds to toxic metals like mercury, cadmium and lead in the body so that they can be expelled through the digestive system. Use cooked in meals and soups or raw as a garnish, and smoothies, salads and juices.
Parsley – is a diuretic, helps eliminate salt buildup in the kidneys and purges heavy metals from the body. Use cooked in meals and soups or raw as a garnish, and smoothies, salads and juices.
Pectin – pulls heavy metals and other contaminants from the blood stream. Good sources are green apples, cabbage, bananas, beets, grapes, carrots and the pith of citrus fruits. Best to eat all raw with the exception of cabbage, which can disrupt thyroid hormone production when consumed in raw form.
Seaweed – binds to heavy metals and radioactive waste in the body so that they can be removed. Add to stir fries, soups, salads and other meals. Use as wraps for raw veggies and sushi.
Our ancestors relied on fermenting foods as a way to preserve foods but also to support intestinal and overall health. Romans consumed sauerkraut. Lassi was a pre-dinner yogurt drink in ancient India which provided probiotics. Bulgarians drank fermented milk and kefir, a fermented milk and grain drink, to maintain their health. Some Asian cultures continue to eat pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash and carrots.
Regularly including fermented foods into your diet will provide you with 100 times more probiotics than a supplement and thus aid your digestion process to more efficiently remove toxins from your system.
Some commercially available fermented foods are:
Kimchi – a Korean food made from fermented vegetables and a spicy blend of chili peppers, garlic, scallions and other spices. It helps break down pesticides and contains a number of beneficial bacteria essential to the proper functioning of the intestines.
Sauerkraut – a German food made from fermented cabbage. Use only “raw” sauerkraut which can be found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Do not use canned or sauerkraut that has the word “pasteurized” on the label as it has been heated to a temperature high enough to kill the beneficial bacteria. Aids elimination of toxins by supporting healthy gut bacteria which helps digestion. Eating a tablespoon before and/or after meals assists digestion and better absorption of nutrients.
Kefir – a fermented drink made from cow’s or goat’s milk to which “grains”, created from cultures of yeast and lactic acid bacteria, are added and allowed to ferment over a period of 24 hours or so. The “grains” are removed prior to drinking. Tastes a bit sour like yogurt but with a thinner consistency. It can also be made dairy-free with coconut water, coconut milk or other sweet liquids. Kefir contains about 30 strains of bacteria and yeasts which make it a very rich and diverse probiotic source that aids intestinal health.
All vegetables and fruits provide valuable nutrients, fiber and anti-oxidants that are essential for our bodies to function properly and stay healthy. But there are some that more effectively support the liver and digestive system than others.
Foods that detox:
Alfalfa – these sprouts help to detoxify the liver, are a diuretic and regulate bowel movement among other health benefits. Eat raw as a lettuce replacement on sandwiches, use in salads or add to smoothies.
Artichokes – ups the liver’s production of bile which helps break down foods and make the nutrients they contain more accessible to your body. Raw artichokes are usually boiled and only the soft insides of the outer leaves and the inner heart are eaten or you may use artichoke hearts in salads, dips and other prepared meals.
Asparagus – helps with liver drainage to make sure that the toxic materials are expelled. Best eaten lightly steamed, sautéed, grilled or baked in casseroles.
Avocados – contains glutathione, a nutrient, that blocks at least 30 different carcinogens while assisting the liver in detoxifying synthetic chemicals. Use raw in smoothies and salads, make guacamole, mash and make a spread to use on sandwiches in place of mayonnaise and mustard, use as condiment for Mexican and other meals.
Basil – has anti-bacterial properties and is full of antioxidants to protect the liver. Supports the functioning of the kidneys and acts as a diuretic. Add in raw form to salads, make pesto, add to homemade pizzas, and use as a seasoning in any cooked meal.
Beets – the natural phytochemicals and minerals help cleanse the liver and make sure that the toxins actually make it out of your body. Best in raw form. Can be sliced, or shredded and added to salads and smoothies. Cook by roasting, add to stir fries, casseroles, or heat and serve with your favorite seasonings.
Broccoli – works with the enzymes in the liver to turn toxins into something the body can eliminate easily. It is not recommended to eat broccoli raw as it contains goitrogens which disrupt thyroid hormone production. For the best results do not microwave, but lightly steam. Use alone or in casseroles, stir fries and soups.
Cranberries – promotes digestive health and removes many different toxins from the body. Can be juiced, ground raw for sauces and combined with citrus fruits for relishes. May eat dried cranberries alone or use in baking breads, cookies, casseroles and other meals.
Dandelions – the leaves assist cleansing of the digestive tract by stimulating liver and gallbladder function. A natural diuretic that increases urine flow. Prevents stones in the gallbladder and kidneys. Add to salads, juices and smoothies.
Ginger – stimulates digestive system and helps liver function. Add to juices, smoothies and teas. Use in stir fries and other meals to add a bit of warmth and spice.
Kale – contains sulfur which binds toxins to organic molecules to safely eliminate them from the body. A cruciferous vegetable which contains goitrogens which disrupt thyroid hormone production. Kale should only be eaten in cooked form. Can be added to soups, eggs, casseroles, stir fries or eaten alone.
Lemons – stimulates the release of enzymes and helps convert toxins into a water-soluble form that can be easily excreted from the body. Drink hot or cold lemon water in the morning or throughout the day. Add lemon juice to teas, use in cooking and salad dressings.
Onions – contains sulfur which helps to detox the liver. They soak up arsenic, admium, lead, mercury and tin so that they can be expelled. Use in raw or cooked form in just about everything.
Turmeric – curcumin is the active ingredient and assists enzymes that flush out dietary carcinogens, which in turn supports and protects the liver against damage and promotes regeneration of liver cells. Use in curry dishes, add to soups and sprinkle on vegetables.
Watercress – helps to release enzymes in the liver that clean it out and help rid it of toxic buildup. Best eaten raw and can be used in smoothies, juices, salads, sandwiches and soup toppings.
Wheatgrass – is a complete food that contains 98 of the 102 earth elements. As a blood alkalizer it is a powerful liver detoxifier and protector. Best ingested as a juice since our digestive systems are not equipped to break down the components of grasses like cows and other herbivores. Juicing releases the nutrients so that they can be readily absorbed into the body.
If you would like a .pdf file of these foods, and their related information in a handy reference table, please fill out this form to download it.
In summary, the less toxins you ingest, the less you will need to remove so, eat as toxin free as possible. A diet rich in organic vegetables and fruits will safely and naturally eliminate chemicals on a continuous basis.
To your health!
The information contained in this article is not intended to be medical advice. If you are considering a detox it is advisable to engage the assistance of a medical professional that is familiar with the different methods and who can order and review lab work and monitor your vital functions. They may also be able to assist you with choosing a detox system that will be the best fit for your needs.
Source: Prevention, Underground Health Reporter, Natural News, Body Detox and You, Dr. Mercola – pesticides, Dr. Mercola – fermentation, Dr. Mercola – fermentation history, Ecowatch , One Radio Network, Inspiral, Natural Society , Care2
What foods do you incorporate regularly to eliminate toxins?
A coach can help keep you on track and provide dietary advice. Contact me to learn how to begin your detoxing journey.
Please share your questions and comments below.
Christine Hunt is a Wellness Coach and Certified EFT Practitioner and has found that working with the whole person by combining mind/body work, dietary adjustments and movement provides her clients with the tools they need to lose weight (and keep it off), get relief from chronic illness and positively transform their lives. Contact her for a free, 15 minute consultation to learn why what she does works when other methods have failed.
Christine works with her clients in person, by Skype or phone. So, if you live away from the Annapolis, Maryland area, she can still work with you.