FIRST, DO NO HARM (TO YOURSELF)
Avoid all processed food (another reason to cook from scratch) as they contain preservatives that you don’t want or need. Eat fresh organic, seasonal produce as far as possible to ensure you get the optimal nutritional value from your food. Free-range beef and chicken are super choices as this meat contains the correct fatty acid (Omega-3 – 6) profile, plus the animals never received any growth hormone or antibiotics during their lifetime, which is the case with regular meat. But don’t focus too much on meat, as it can be acid-forming.
READY, SET, DETOX!
All types of fruit and vegetables (nutrient-rich, alkalising foods) as well as nuts and seeds are recommended. Nuts (cashews and almonds are best) and seeds (pumpkin and flax) should be unsalted and drinks and juices should preferably be consumed without added sugar.
The key to a gentle detox is to eat light meals, full of raw and whole foods (as opposed to processed). Aim to have at least half of the food on your plate raw. And avoid the ‘whites’ like white sugar, rice and flour or flour products and choose foods with lots of fibre such as whole-grain bread and pasta and raw fruit and vegetables.
Detoxing happens via the kidneys, colon, liver, lungs, lymph and skin, so all these organs should see an improvement as you eat more healthily.
FOODS THAT AID IN CLEANSING THE BODY
- Garlic gets the liver to produce detoxification enzymes that help filter out toxic residues in the digestive system. Use freshly crushed garlic in all dishes and add to cooked dishes just before serving to preserve the anti-bacterial benefits of allicin that’s formed when it’s crushed. Try it in a delicious bean pesto spread or baby cabbage slaw with dates tossed in a garlic-and-malt mayo .
- Green tea helps flush toxins out of the system through its liquid content, and contains a special type of antioxidant called catechins, known to increase liver function.
- Fresh coriander leaves have been clinicaly proven to remove mercury, but should be taken with Chorella (fresh-water algae supplement with the antioxidant chlorophyll, available from your health shop) for proper elimination. It’s also known as a popular healing herb that contains natural antibiotics, lowers blood sugar, lowers bad cholesterol, improves eye health and is rich in nutrients. Try it in this hot beetroot, citrus and coriander drink or chilli and coriander calamari .
- Lemons are detox fruit, containing lots of vitamin C which helps convert toxins into a water-soluble form that’s easily flushed away. Add a squeeze to your daily 8 glasses of water and use over salads instead of vinegar. Or try lemony salsa and steamed artichoke or steamed veggies and ricotta with lemon dressing .
- Raw vegtables are alkalising and high in fibre, which helps cleanse the colon. Veg like onions, carrots, artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, garlic and beet are high in naturally occurring sulphur and glutathione. Sulphur helps the liver detoxify harmful chemicals. The combination of these foods will help your liver purge toxins during the cleansing process.
Use them in salads and raw-food platters or try chilled raw carrot, orange and ginger soup , mixed green salad with strawberry, honey and Verjuice dressing or shredded organic raw vegetables with baby spinach and hard-boiled organic eggs.
- Radishes are a good source of fibre as well as fat-free and low in sodium. They rejuvenate the skin because of high sulfur, silicon and vitamin C content, while the sulfurous mustard oil in radishes stimulates the circulation system as well as the liver and kidneys to improve elimination of toxins. Use them raw in salads and with healthy fatty foods (avocado, nuts, some seeds, etc.) for optimal digestion, like this egg, watercress, radish and olive salad or this prawn, horseradish and coconut soup.
- The mild but mighty turmeric is a powerful antioxidant that also increases anti-inflammatory enzymes in the liver. Add a teaspoon to your meals, or stir into warm milk with raw honey. Try it in braised Punjabi cabbage or dhal with onions.
- Sesame seeds are little golden seeds of detox magic that are proven to protect liver cells from the damaging effects of alcohol and other toxins. Their secret lies in amino acids called methionine and tryptophan, which encourage the liver and kidney to function optimally, banishing harmful toxins quickly and effectively.
Sesame seeds add crunch and flavour to salads. Tahini paste (ground sesame seeds) is a key ingredient in hummus along with garlic and lemon juice: just add chickpeas and you’ve got yourself one of the best detox food of all! Experience the magic of sesame seeds in baba ghanoush , seared salmon with sesame crust or a sesame stir fry.
- Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that kills toxins in your colon and digestive system. Use it in a yoghurt and raw honey dessert and it’s great in salads with grated carrots, papaya and mixed leaves. Alternatively, try this crunchy fruit salad or pineapple and basil soup.
- Cabbage activates not one, but both of the detoxifying enzymes in the liver. Stir-fry it with a little bit of butter and garlic for a mouth-watering side dish. Red cabbage is wonderful fried with apple, onion, balsamic vinegar and orange juice. Or try crunchy fresh cabbage and asparagus with a spicy dressing or crispy salmon with creamy, lemony avocado coleslaw.