As a Registered Dietitian, one of the most frequent things people often ask me is what is the best detox diet.
Here is the truth: none.
There is no good detox diet for you to cleanse your body. Your body has its natural process of detoxifying. However, there are some occasions when you might need extra help from certain foods.
In this article, I will talk about the best food you can add if you want to give your body an extra boost in its detoxifying process.
Does your body need detoxification?
The liver is where most of the detoxification processes happen. This means that your body can detox on its own. However, there are some occasions like when there is an increased consumption of alcohol or overly processed food that you might want to consider giving your liver a little help.
What about detox diets?
There is a constant fuzz about detox diets. It implies getting rid of all the toxins found in your body. They often involve long hours of fasting, juicing, diuretics, supplements, and drinking only specific liquids. Their main goal is making your body healthy and promoting weight loss.
Research shows no compelling evidence to promote this type of diet. They often promote dangerous eating habits like fasting for long hours and consuming only a clear liquid diet.
This means that you eliminate proteins and fats from your diet. While you might lose weight initially, let me assure you that it is water loss. After a couple of days, without an adequate caloric and protein intake, there can be a significant muscle loss.
Ultimately, I recommend not following these diets since they can affect your health and well-being.
Are there foods that can help detoxify your body?
Even though I don't believe in detox diets, I think there are foods to add to your diet if you want to help your body clean itself.
There are several categories of why food can help detoxify your body:
- Food with antioxidants. Antioxidants can help prevent the damage caused by free radicals. This can help reduce inflammation. Also, a potent antioxidant called glutathione helps detox your liver from toxins.
- Foods with probiotics. They help promote healthy bacteria in your gut. A healthy gut microbiome can help eliminate toxins in your body.
- Foods high in fiber. They help you have better glucose control and decrease your cholesterol levels.
- Hydrating foods. Water plays a crucial role in helping your body detox. Foods high in water can help you achieve a good water balance.
Now, let me get something out of the way. Don't think of these foods as a quick fix occasionally. Learn how to include them regularly into a balanced eating plan to ensure that your body works well long-term.
Top 7 foods to help detoxify your body
Lemons are a great way to help your body detoxify. They are also high in vitamin C, which helps boost your immune system. Vitamin C also helps produce glutathione, which, as I mentioned before, is a powerful antioxidant that supports your liver detox.
Add some lemon (not the bottled one) to your water to enhance its flavor and give you that detox boost.
Cabbage has anticancer and antioxidant properties. It helps cleanse your digestive tract, and it can help the liver break down the excess hormones.
For people who often get bloated from cruciferous veggies (like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Bok choi), make sure to soak them in water first and cook them thoroughly.
Artichokes contain nutrients that help produce bile, which is the one in charge of breaking down the fats in your body. They are also high in probiotics, the food that feeds your gut. With a healthy gut, you can help your body detoxify.
They are a great addition to a salad with a pasta dish, or mix them with Greek yogurt to create a delicious dip.
4. Chia seeds
Chia seeds are one of the best sources of fiber. They act as the broom in your body, sweeping away all those molecules (like glucose or cholesterol) you don't want to stay in your blood vessels too much.
Also, they are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the inflammation in your body.
Add them to your water or create a chia pudding for a quick snack or breakfast.
Turmeric has a component called curcumin. Studies have shown that it can help your liver detoxify. It is also a powerful antioxidant that can help decrease inflammation by reducing the number of free radicals in your body.
Besides being great for detoxifying, it can also help improve your digestion with lemon and ginger.
Beets are very high in fiber, allowing you to help your body get rid of those components you don't want in your body. One cup of raw beets has 15% of the daily recommended intake of fiber.
They also contain a component called betaine, which supports liver function and helps decrease inflammation in the body.
For those regularly active, drinking beet juice can increase your blood flow, meaning that more oxygen can be used in your muscles, boosting your endurance.
7. Chlorella and spirulina
These types of algae possess a lot of benefits when it comes to aiding your body's detoxification. They are high in antioxidants and nutrients, especially iron and calcium. Spirulina supports liver function, and chlorella can enhance the body's natural ways of getting rid of toxins.
You can find them both in capsule or powder form.
The bottom line
While your body can detoxify on its own, there are some occasions that you might want to have some additional help. After a night out where you had a couple of drinks, or if you consumed more highly processed foods than usual, you might want to include them a little more throughout the day.
However, instead of considering these foods as a short-term aid, include them regularly to help your body constantly be on its top game.