After a busy start to the year we find ourselves feeling bloated, tired, and struggling to accomplish resolutions. Did you know your mood can be affected by your diet? Eating out often, skipping meals, or relying on quick unhealthy options may be part of the problem. Try planning your meals ahead of time and focus on eating whole foods all throughout the day. Does your diet need to be cleaned up? Try adding some of these foods to the mix that work to naturally detox your body:
Eat with purpose! The following foods are thought to help detox the body. Try adding some of these healthy options to your diet:
For centuries raw garlic has been used to kill bacteria and treat illnesses. Studies conducted recently have confirmed garlic’s antibacterial and antiviral properties — both inside and outside of the body. Alongside combating disease, garlic also is thought to help detox the liver and other parts of the body. Cut or grate fresh garlic on toast, pasta, or salad. You can also add garlic to cooked dishes. Try adding garlic close to the end of cooking to retain most of its nutritional properties.
Please note: Some may have sensitivities to garlic that can cause bloating, upset stomach, and more. Garlic may also interfere with certain medications, so check with your doctor before making any dietary changes or adding supplements.
Ginger has been used for thousands of years for its anti-inflammatory and detox powers. It is high in gingerol, a powerful antioxidant that works to rid the body of unwanted oxidizing agents. Ginger is also thought to help relieve nausea, motion sickness, and morning sickness in pregnant women. Add ginger root or powder to your morning oatmeal, smoothie, or yogurt for a healthy boost!
Please note: Ginger is thought to be safe, but you should check with a doctor before consuming large quantities — especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Trendy health food items like kombucha and kimchi may come to mind when you think of fermented foods. These foods contain probiotics and introduce gut-friendly bacteria to your digestive tract. Good bacteria in turn helps to rid the body of harmful toxins by reducing heavy metals and improving metabolism. Try adding fermented foods such as pickles, sauerkraut, kefir, miso, tempeh, yogurt, kimchi, or kombucha to your diet.
Please note: Although fermented foods contain healthy probiotics, some of them are also very high in sodium. Kefir, yogurt, and kombucha tend to have much less salt compared to other fermented foods if your diet requires such.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, pineapples have diuretic properties. Diuretics cause an increase in urine production, pulling excess water, salt, and toxins out of the body in the process. Pineapple also contains bromelain — a mixture of enzymes with anti-inflammatory properties. People take bromelain to help with swelling and inflammation (especially of the nose), osteoarthritis, poor digestion, muscle soreness, and even cancer. Furthermore, pineapples are filled with vitamins and minerals like vitamin C!
Please note: While pineapple is generally safe to consume a small number have reported allergies and side effects including gastrointestinal upset, nausea, skin rash, and more. Eating large amounts of pineapple can also cause your mouth and cheeks to swell.
Closely related to the ginger root, turmeric has been used long-term for its health benefits. It is a natural anti-inflammatory and is high in antioxidants. Turmeric has also been associated with improved cardiovascular, gut, brain, and skin health. Learn about the health benefits and ways to use turmeric here!
Please note: Turmeric is considered safe when eaten in recommended doses, but may cause an upset stomach if ingested in excess. In any instance, you should speak with a doctor prior to making any dietary changes or adding supplements to your diet.
In season now! Citrus is high in pectin, a gelatinous fiber that attracts toxins and flushes them out of the body. Pectin is also thought to help with weight loss. With its detoxing properties and high vitamin content, citrus makes an ideal choice in the new year. Add some citrus to your diet and prep a batch of these energizing coconut lemon bites.
Please note: Grapefruit may interfere with certain medications and supplements. Avoid consuming grapefruit before or after taking these items. Check with a doctor before making any dietary alterations.
Beets are filled with powerful antioxidants including betalains that work to remove free radicals from the body. The root also contains nitrates, which get transformed into nitric oxide and improve blood flow. Increasing levels of nitric oxide is thought to be beneficial for many things, including exercise performance. Add beets to salads and savory dishes or hide them in your smoothie. Try this smoothie recipe using Svelte® plant-based protein shakes!
Please note: Regularly consuming beets and/or beet juice may increase your likelihood for kidney stones if you are at risk. Consult your doctor before adding beets to your diet daily.
You may have heard that blueberries are considered a superfruit due to their high antioxidant levels. They also have been shown to have antibacterial and antiviral properties for fighting infections. Blueberries may also help with pain relief! The berries contain salicylates — a major ingredient in aspirin and other pain-relieving medications.
Please note: Blueberries are safe for most to eat but can cause side effects including gastrointestinal distress and hypoglycemia if combined with certain medications. They also contain salicylates if you have an allergy.
Like beets, leafy greens contain high levels of nitrates. They are also high in fiber. This helps with blood flow, detoxification, and more. Most greens are nutrient dense providing many valuable vitamins and minerals per serving. Try serving up a big bowl of salad using spinach, kale, arugula, or your favorite variety. If salads aren’t your thing, try adding greens to your smoothie!
Please note: Those who aren’t used to eating leafy greens or who have food sensitivities may experience stomach discomfort if consuming large quantities raw. Start small and work your way up, or try cooking the greens to help with digestion.
Guacamole (Avocado + Cilantro + Lemon)
Avocados are the main ingredient in this dip. They contain healthy fats and oils that help with digestion and work to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Furthermore, guacamole contains other detoxing ingredients including cilantro and lemon (citrus). Cilantro is known for ridding the body of heavy metals that can cause serious damage over time. It is also high in antioxidants and believed to boost brain power. Take it a step further and add even more healthy detoxing ingredients like garlic and turmeric to the recipe.
Please note: Not all guacamole is created equally! Some varieties use little avocado and include fillers like sour cream. Make your own to control the ingredients.
This cozy beverage has been consumed for centuries to treat a number of ailments. Full of antioxidants and boasting antimicrobial properties, tea is thought to help with detoxing, heart health, and even cancer prevention.
White tea is the freshest variety from the tea plant and tends to be highest in antioxidants. Green tea has been found to have a high concentration of EGCG — an antioxidant studied for its beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system and fighting illnesses. Learn more about tea varieties and their health benefits here!
Please note: Not all tea is from the tea plant. There are a number of herbal, floral, and fruit teas that do not contain the same detoxing abilities, but likely have other health benefits.
Activated charcoal has been used for centuries to absorb poisons and detox the body. It is still used today to treat poisoning and drug overdose in certain instances. While activated charcoal is typically safe to consume, it must be used with caution. Overuse may lead to constipation, dehydration, and more.
Please note: Drink plenty of water while consuming activated charcoal to stay hydrated. Make sure you don’t consume charcoal within 3-4 hours of other vitamins, medications, and healthy meals as it may affect absorption of nutrients. Consume in moderation — activated charcoal is not meant for daily use. Consult a doctor before long term use or if pregnant and/or breastfeeding.
The healthy foods above will help support your resolutions in 2019! Try adding some of these detox items to your next grocery list.