Although there are various definitions and uses of the term “detox”, from a physiological and biochemical perspective, detoxification is defined as a metabolic process by which the body rids itself of toxins. Detoxification is a natural process that the body must perform on its own in order to sustain life. However, it is possible– and sometimes necessary–to support optimal detoxification through diet and specific nutrient supplementation. Because we are living in an increasingly toxic world, almost everyone would benefit from adopting regular dietary practices that enhance detoxification.
Healthy dietary practices that support the body’s ability to detox include consuming:
- Organic vegetables (strive for 9 cups per day!)
- Properly raised meat and poultry (pasture-raised, grass-fed)
- Wild-caught fish
- Nuts and seeds
- Organic fruits
- Plenty of water (approximately half of your body weight in ounces per day, up to 100 ounces)
In particular, you want to make sure that you are consuming an adequate amount of soluble and insoluble fiber each day. Both types of fiber bind with waste products and help to eliminate them through the proper pathways. Foods rich in fiber include leafy greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, nuts and seeds, coconut, and fruit (consumed whole with the skins on). Cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts), berries, artichokes, garlic, onions, leeks, turmeric, milk thistle, and green tea have all been studied for the ability to enhance detoxification. Adequate protein intake is critical as it helps to maintain optimal levels of glutathione, a key antioxidant that helps to neutralize free radicals that can damage cells.
To support detoxification, you should eliminate the following from your diet:
- Processed foods
- Refined carbohydrates and sugar
- Vegetable and seed oils
- Artificial fats
- Other foods that seem as though they don’t agree with you
There are also supplements and specific protocols that can assist with targeted detoxification, but it is important to work with a qualified nutritionist or health care professional to implement these approaches.
In the next article in this series, lifestyle practices that enhance natural detoxification will be discussed.