The body is an amazing, complex thing that naturally rids itself of toxins through sweating, bowel movements, breathing, and organs (specifically the kidneys, liver, and lungs). But even as wonderful as our biology is, if you’re suffering from toxic overload then it is critically important that you give your body the tools it needs – in the form of good nutrition – to efficiently and effectively do its job of naturally detoxing.
This is why the real key to cleansing the body lies in certain whole foods.
Apples – The old adage about an apple a day isn’t wrong – these beauties are packed with the best kind of fiber (pectin), which binds to cholesterol and heavy metals and eliminates toxic build up on the way out. And that really may be just what it takes to keep the doctor away!
Kale – Kale is a liver-boosting superfood that has all the right antioxidants and is high in fiber. On top of that, it’s been shown to have the ability to neutralize harmful compounds found in cigarette smoke.
Bananas – You probably know that these sweet yellow fruits are loaded with potassium, which is great for your blood pressure and heart function, but you may not know that potassium protects and supports your kidneys.
Avocados – The benefits of avocados for health and weight loss are numerous. They stimulate glutathione, a compound that blocks the absorption of certain bad fats and is essential for cleansing liver pathways. It also – bonus! – blocks artery-destroying toxicity in your blood vessels.
Bell Peppers – These beautiful fruits – yes, technically speaking they are fruits – are a great source of carotenoid nutrients and Vitamin C, which have great anti-cancer and immune-boosting properties.
Carrots – Carrots have a unique combination of carotenoids and polyacetylenes, which translates to a unique capacity for fending off cancer, boosting your vision, and reducing cardiovascular problems.
Celery – Famous for being a low-calorie, high-fiber snack, celery has much more than that to brag about. It’s a great weapon against digestive inflammation and contains a special blend of pectin-based polysaccharides (good fiber) that strengthen the lining of the stomach and decrease the risk of ulcers.
Cucumbers – Like other members of the squash and melon family, cucumbers are a rich source of antioxidants and an all-natural inflammation fighter.
Onions – Like avocados, onions stimulate glutathione (great for fat loss and energy) and are antibacterial as well as immune-boosting. They also provide a natural shield against cancer and other diseases thanks to compounds like allocin and quercitin.
Garlic – Garlic has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years, and it’s no wonder. These little bulbs support liver function, cleanse arteries, clear the respiratory system, and have antimicrobial properties believed to be capable of fending off 39 different harmful fungi, bacteria, parasites and viruses.
Lemons (and limes) – Lemons and limes are wonderful cleansers (and not just for your body!). They’re loaded with immune-boosting Vitamin C and can naturally heal your cells. Plus – they have anticarcinogenic compounds called limonoids which have been shown to fight cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach, and colon.
Summer Squash – These hearty vegetables contain high amounts of valuable nutrients, including b-complex vitamins, zinc, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. They help with blood sugar maintenance and prostate health, and contain compounds that are both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial.
Kiwi – One of the absolute best sources of Vitamin C (a great immunity booster), these sweet little fruits have also been shown to protect DNA from oxygen damage and contain molecules which bind and remove toxins from the colon.
Berries – Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and especially blueberries are all wonderful options if you can only pick one food from this list to go eat right now. Aside from their famous high antioxidant content, they also have quercitin which stimulates the production of liver enzymes. Blueberries have particularly high quantities of a natural aspirin that reduces inflammation, work hard as an anti-bacterial agent on the urinary tract, and have antiviral properties that block toxins from the brain.
Spinach – Recent studies have shown that compounds called glycoglycerolipids in spinach protect the digestive tract from damage, especially inflammation, but spinach’s overall antiinflammatory and anti-cancer benefits have long been known. Spinach is also a wonderful source of calcium and vitamin K.
Mushrooms – The shiitake variety of these wonder foods have so many health benefits it can be hard to list them all. They include an outstanding ability to power-up your immune system, liver-boosting properties, high iron content, cardiovascular support, B vitamins, many minerals, cleansing fiber, protein, vitamin D2, and the proven ability to block tumor growth. But don’t shy away from crimini mushrooms, either, which are often easier and cheaper to find – these button mushrooms share many of the same properties.
Broccoli – Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower are loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants, but when it comes to cleansing, it’s the liver-boosting sulfuric compounds that make them such a great inclusion.
Parsley – This herb may have a reputation as a culinary garnish, but don’t skip eating it just because it’s on the edge of your plate. Parsley packs vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, chlorophyll, and beta carotene into a small package. It also raises glutathione and guards against the damage of insulin resistance.
Mint – Many varieties of mint are beneficial, but it’s peppermint that has been scientifically proven to sooth and relax the digestive tract. This refreshing little herb relieves irritable bowel syndrome, heals the gastrointestinal tract, and has such strong anti-microbial powers that it has been proven to ward against salmonella and MRSA. And if all that isn’t enough, peppermint also opens and cleanses the respiratory system.
Ginger – This root has been valued for thousands of years for being anti-inflammatory and for easing nausea, improving digestion, and boosting immunity. But ginger doesn’t stop there – thanks to compounds called ginerols and shogaols, it also protects against colorectal cancer. It’s even been proven to cause cell death in ovarian cancer tumors.
Shrimp – One of the more surprising cleansing foods, shrimp have gone relatively unappreciated for too long. In addition to being a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, heart-healthy selenium and high-quality protein, they also have unusually high concentrations of astaxanthin. Astaxanthin has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and it naturally protects against immunity problems. (For best results, go with wild pot-caught varieties and avoid imported shrimp.)
Salmon – While omega-3s aren’t the only beneficial thing found in salmon, they’re certainly the most amazing. The super-high concentration of these fatty acids in salmon make them your fast ticket to all the benefits of omega-3s, including cardiovascular health, stronger joints, better mood, better eye health, decreased cancer risk, healthier brain, stronger nervous system, and more. They also lower cortisol, which is connected to overall system stress and weight gain.
Eggs – Eggs from pasture-raised chickens are also loaded with omega-3s and contain 100% "HBV" protein, meaning they have a high-quality, complete protein that is readily available to the system. They also contain all B vitamins, which heal your body, and can be counted on for those rare minerals iodine and selenium.
Walnuts – These little nuts are good for cholesterol (they lower the bad kind), your heart, and your bone health. They’re also a delicious source of minerals and have those ever-valuable anti-inflammatory properties we’re looking for.
Cinnamon – Cinnamon contains an agent called cinnamaldehyde which opens up your blood vessels. It can also brag about being antiinflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal. This tasty spice reduces blood sugar spikes, normalizes blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes, and has calcium and fiber which bind to bile salts and clean out the colon.
Chilies – Virtually all chilies and its forms, including chili powder, paprika and cayenne pepper, contain enough capsaicin (the spicy part) to inhibit inflammation, boost your cardiovascular system, clear congestion, and strengthen immunity. But chilies also aid in the production of lung enzymes, making them a must for cleansing (even a little bit can help a lot). And (despite what you might assume) chilies are also great for your stomach, actually killing bacteria and stimulating stomach lining cells to secrete protective juices. Still not convinced you should handle the heat? Chilies have also been proven to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes!
Cumin – Cumin is a great spice to add to your cleansing meals (it’s delicious in stews, curries, and chili). In addition to being high in iron (great for energy and immune function), it also stimulates pancreatic and liver enzymes.
Quinoa – This little seed is getting a well-deserved reputation for overall nutrient richness – it’s a great complete protein source (with all nine essential amino acids), contains some good fatty acids, is high in fiber and calcium, has digestion-stimulating phosphorous, and most remarkably, it has a unique blend of anti-inflammatory properties (unlike virtually all grains). Go quinoa!
Almonds – Everyone who isn’t allergic to tree nuts should be eating almonds. They have protein and riboflavin for energy, and enough magnesium to relax your veins and arteries. They lower LDL cholesterol, lower your risk of heart disease, protect against diabetes, and support weight loss. So grab a handful – you can’t beat ‘em for a healthy snack!
Oregano – This tasty herb contains thymol and carvacrol oils, which are anti-bacterial and have actually been shown to be more effective against some infections, like giardia, than commonly prescribed drugs. Oregano is also a potent source of antioxidants, vitamin K, manganese, iron, calcium, and vitamin E.