By Gabriella Gershenson
The beginning of the year is resolution time, which leads many folks to crash cleanses meant to reset their bodies following all that holiday indulgence. If you’re not feeling multiple days of nothing but juice, or some other austere plan, we feel you. Good news: Clean Plates asked some stellar wellness gurus for a list of foods with naturally cleansing properties to incorporate into our routines. Get ready for a kinder, gentler refresh.
- Apples: “Apples have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and contain phytochemicals that may help with heavy metal and radiation detoxification,” says Megan Gilmore, author of Everyday Detox and Detoxinista.com. “Eating an apple (or more) each day can help to support colon health and regulate your blood sugar. I like to add an apple to my daily green smoothies, or eat them sliced with almond butter and cinnamon.”
- Bananas: “Bananas get a bad rap for being too high in sugar, but they contain important minerals like selenium, copper, and potassium,” says Gilmore. “This plays a key role in brain function. Bananas have antiviral and antifungal properties that can help promote healthy gut flora, and their fiber helps to support daily detoxification by sweeping the intestines clean. I love to eat bananas as a portable snack on the go, but when frozen they also can be blended into a creamy and naturally sweet frozen treat.”
- Berries: “There are several ingredients that are naturally detoxifying and berries are one of them,” says Fern Green, author of Green Smoothies and Super Smoothies. “I would recommend having them on your porridge, blending in a smoothie, or simply snacking on and eating raw. These colorful fruits turn on the detoxifying enzymes in the body.” (Tip: Buy frozen organic berries, since fresh are out of season.)
- Cayenne: “Adding some heat to a meal or drink is a great way to support the body’s natural detoxification process, strengthen digestion and increase metabolism,” says Dr. Frank Lipman, author of 10 Reasons You Feel Old and Get Fat. “Cayenne can easily be added to morning lemon water, soups and stews, sautéed vegetables, or any other recipe that you would enjoy with a little spice.”
- Cabbage: “As a cruciferous vegetable, cabbage helps fight inflammation, acts as an antioxidant by removing free radicals in the body, increases digestion, and has a reputation as a cancer-fighting food,” says Dr. Lipman. “You can throw raw cabbage in salads, cook it into soups and stir-fries, or enjoy it in its fermented form (sauerkraut) to receive all of the beneficial living bacteria that support your microbiome.”
- Carrots and Beets: “These are highly alkalizing to the body,” says Green, “helping you flush out your liver and toxic waste material.”
- Dandelion Greens: “Loaded with nutrients, antioxidants and fiber, dandelion greens are a wonderful detoxification food,” says Dr. Lipman. “They are particularly supportive of the liver, which is our main detoxification organ. There are many ways to include them into meals—you can chop them up for a salad, sauté them in olive oil with garlic and lemon, add them to soups or drink dandelion tea.”
- Ginger: “A well-documented detoxifying ingredient is ginger,” says Dr. Lipman. “If in doubt, I always have a lump of this in my kitchen so I can make a hot tonic or tea, or blend in a smoothie. It stimulates the digestive system, helping the body eliminate toxins.”
- Lemons: “These are extremely alkaline and are powerful detoxifying agents,” says Dr. Lipman. “They support liver function, purify the blood, and help flush out bad bacteria.”
- Probiotics: “Rewilding your gut with probiotics is one of the most supporting and detoxifying things you can do to kick off the new year,” says Amanda Chantal Bacon, founder of Moon Juice, author of The Moon Juice Cookbook. “By supplying the gut with probiotics, you support body-wide detoxification—boosting digestion, enhancing absorption, healing the gut tissue and encouraging regular elimination. All of these actions help the body let go of what it doesn’t need, and breaks down the extra sugar taken in with sweets and drinks, and well as also helping with sugar cravings, which can be especially hard to kick after the holidays.”
Green’s Go-To Detoxifying Tonic: Take 1-inch of peeled, sliced ginger and 2 slices of lime, place into a mug and pour boiling water on top. Let it steep for 4 minutes. Green recommends having this each morning for four or five days. “Your skin will improve, and your digestive system will kick into gear.”
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