08 Jan 5 Best Foods For Detox
Posted at 12:53h in Brain Health, DIY, Food, Functional Medicine, Nutrition
5 Best Foods for Detox
This is the first article of a 3-part DETOX123 series on safe and natural ways to cleanse and detoxify your body from harmful toxins. In this article, I will share with you the 5 best foods for detox. By incorporating these foods into your diet you’ll be supporting your body’s innate detoxification systems, optimizing the health of your brain, and ridding your body of destructive toxins. In parts 2 and 3 of this series, I will teach you the various supplements and lifestyle strategies that work synergistically with these foods. By reading these articles, you will learn simple ways to cleanse your body from the inside out.
Where We’re At
In our modern, industrialized society we’re constantly being exposed to thousands of chemicals the likes of which have never before existed in the history of humanity. The EPA estimates that in 2013, over 4.14 billion pounds of toxic chemicals were released into the environment in the US alone. Over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the US and over 5.6 billion pounds worldwide. Yikes!
In addition to these environmental chemicals, we’re also subjecting our bodies and brains to highly processed “food”, alcohol, medications, plastics, toxic cleaning products, bath and body products, make-up, and personal hygiene products that all contain a smorgasbord of yucky substances. Here’s a list of the most common sources of toxins we encounter on a daily basis:
Common Sources of Toxins
Plastic eating utensils, containers and cups
Pesticides in fruits and vegetables
Pharmaceutical drugs – OTC, prescription, in our water supply
Your own body – toxins from an imbalanced hormonal and/or digestive system (more on this in parts 2 and 3 of this series)
Frightening, isn’t it? But despite the fact that we’re being bombarded by an insane amount of toxins on a daily basis there is hope! You see, the overall toxic burden on our brains and bodies depends on two things: our total toxic exposure AND our ability to detoxify and remove toxins from our bodies. Simply put:
Toxic Burden = Toxins in – Toxins out
TAKE THE DETOXIFICATION QUIZ
Are you sensitive to perfumes or chemicals?
Do you have rashes, acne or unexplained itchy skin?
Do you suffer from poor focus or concentration?
Do you have difficulty making decisions?
Do you have brain fog?
Do you have mood swings?
Do you feel ill after consuming small amounts of alcohol?
Are your hormones out of wack?
Do you have poor bowel function?
Do you have foul-smelling sweat?
Do you have strong body odor?
Do you have aching muscles?
Do you catch frequent colds?
Do you take medications (OTC or prescription)?
Do you have excessive fatigue?
If you answered yes to 3 of these questions then you have a mild need for detox. If you answered yes to 7 of these questions then you have a moderate need for detox. If you answered yes to 10 or more of these questions then you have a high toxic burden that is negatively impacting the health of your brain. The solution? Detox!
2 Steps to Lower Toxic Burden
In order to avoid toxic overload and lower your toxic burden we need to:
1. Limit our exposure to toxins
2. Enhance detoxification
Step 1 is pretty straightforward: look at the Common Sources of Toxins above and avoid the ones you have control over i.e highly-processed food, pesticides. For toxins that you don’t have as much control over i.e. air pollution, you must focus your attention and energy on Step 2: Enhance detoxification. So the hot question is, how can we enhance detoxification? I will show you. But in order for this information to have the biggest payoff, we need to go over some basic physiology…
Your Beautiful, Innate Systems of Detoxification
Your body has sophisticated systems of detoxification to help clear and rid itself of harmful substances. For your brain to work optimally and your mind to be healthy, vibrant and strong you must ensure that you are not only limiting toxins in, but that you’re also caring for the organs that move toxins out. These are the liver, the intestines, the kidneys, the skin and the lungs. The ability to detoxify harmful substances depends largely on the health of your liver.
LIVER FACTORY AND ASSEMBLY LINE
The liver is like a factory whose job is to detoxify chemicals and prepare them for removal from your body – via your poop, pee, breath, and sweat. Inside this factory is an assembly line that processes and packages these toxins – we call this Phase I and Phase II of liver detoxification. If any phase of this assembly line is backed up, toxic burden increases leading to a wide-variety of symptoms such as brain fog, lethargy, aches and pains, body odor, poor skin, etc. So what can we do to make sure that the assembly line doesn’t get backed up? The answer to this question lies deeper in the physiology…
Each of the two phases of detoxification uses very specific enzymes – these enzymes are the workers that run the assembly line. They are in charge of processing and packaging all the toxins to be removed from your body. The thing that I find so exciting is that there are very specific vitamins, minerals and juicy nutrients that feed these enzymatic workers, allowing your detox machinery to run as smoothly and efficiently as possible – aiding the movement of toxins out. The key is ensuring that the two phases of the assembly line are working in balance by providing your body with the right nutrients for the job. This keeps the workers happy and well-fed. To summarize:
Eat juicy nutrients ➠ Activate enzymes ➠ Run assembly line ➠ Detoxify toxins ➠ Lower toxic burden ➠ Live Full Life
Got it? Good!
Now here are the 5 best foods that are chock-full of the juicy nutrients that will enhance the movement of toxins out of your body leading to a healthier and happier you.
5 BEST FOODS FOR DETOX
FOOD 1: Cruciferous vegetables
These yummy vegetables are rich in glucosinolates, which primes phase II of liver detoxification. Eat 1-2 cups a day. Lightly steam or sauté in olive oil. Choose organic, pesticide-free veggies. Here are a few of my favorites:
NOTE: People with thyroid issues should avoid excessive consumption and/or cook for 30 minutes to lower the goitrogenic effect.
FOOD 2: Sulfur containing foods
Sulfur is an essential building block of the extremely important antioxidant, glutathione – a big big player in the game of detoxification. Here are some of my favorite foods high in sulfur:
FOOD 3: Turmeric
This magical Asian spice contains curcumin – a very powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-mutagenic polyphenol – that gives turmeric its vibrant yellow color. Saute 1-2 tablespoons in olive oil to release its healing properties. Add some garlic and onions as a base for your meal and for some additional detox support!
FOOD 4: Grass-Fed Beef
The amino acids found in protein sources are essential for phase II. Everyone has different needs but in general eat 3 servings of protein a day (a serving is the size of your palm or 2 eggs). Organic eggs, free-range chicken, grass-fed beef are great options.
FOOD 5: Green tea
Green tea contains the polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG for short. This lovely substance increases the activity of the incredibly important detox enzyme, glutathione-s-transferase. Slowly sip 1-2 cups in the morning with your hands wrapped cozily around your teacup.
And there you have it! The 5 Best Foods for Detox. Adding a few of these yummy foods to your diet will greatly enhance your bodies innate ability to cleanse itself from the inside out to avoid toxic overload. In the next two articles, I will teach you simple lifestyle strategies to further support your body’s wonderful detoxification systems. Stay tuned!
To Your Total Health,
Dr. Titus Chiu