We are exposed to toxins every day in the form of heavy metals, pesticides and processed foods – just to name a few. Due to variations in biochemistry and genetic makeup, certain people are more exposed to toxins than others. During pregnancy and nursing, it is important to reduce toxic exposure as children are physiologically more vulnerable to toxins. With toxin exposure being inevitable, there are ways in which we can reduce the exposure and use food to our advantage.
What Is Detoxification?
Detoxification refers to the process in which the body, via the liver, breaks down chemicals, toxins and hormones into water soluble metabolites that can easily be excreted by the kidneys, intestines and skin. It is dependent on antioxidants, phytonutrients, protein and adequate nutrients, to take place effectively.
How to Limit Exposure and Maximize Detox
You can limit your exposure to toxins by doing the following:
- Buying more organic foods and limiting packaged and processed foods
- Using foods that help balance the Phase 1 and Phase 2 detox pathways in the liver. These include foods like cruciferous vegetables, alliums and other phytonutrient-dense diets.
Ten Foods That Aid Detoxification
- Garlic + Other Alliums
Alliums such as chives, garlic, onions and shallot, provide sulphur compounds that are beneficial for your health. They come with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are believed to play a role in preventing stomach cancer and cardiovascular disease. Alliums catalyze Phase II of the detoxification process hence promote elimination of toxins
Turmeric contains phytochemical curcumin which stimulates phase II detoxification and increases the antioxidant glutathione.
Limonene, found in the peel of citrus fruits like lemons, is a powerful antioxidant that promotes phase I and II of the detoxification process in the liver. Vitamin C, an antioxidant also present in lemons, converts toxins to their water-soluble forms for easier elimination.
Beets contain betalains, a group of phytonutrients that support the glutathione-dependent phase II detoxification and methylation. Betaine, also found in beets, has anti-inflammatory properties therefore improves overall health.
Artichokes have liver-protective agents including cynarin, which stimulates the liver and gallbladder. Artichokes also ensure proper elimination of toxins by having a mild diuretic effect on the kidneys.
- Flax Seeds
These fiber-rich compounds aid in detoxification of harmful forms of estrogen. They have a high fiber content that aids in digestion and they provide anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fatty acids.
- Green Tea
Green tea has polyphenols that are strong antioxidants that aid in the liver detoxification pathways. The polyphenols also promote the detoxification of carcinogens therefore reducing certain types of cancers.
Anthocyanins are antioxidants found in berries that help curb free radical damage. They are believed to be vasoprotective and anti-inflammatory in nature. Ellagic acid, found in high amounts in berries, is believed to help neutralize carcinogens in the liver and slow down the growth of cancer cells.
- Parsley + Other Leafy Greens
Chlorophyll and chlorophyllin found in leafy greens, binds to some types of carcinogens, decreasing their absorption in the gut. Consequently, this decreases the amount of carcinogens that reach healthy tissues.
- Broccoli + Cruciferous Vegetables
These are rich in glucosinolates which hydrolyze to indole-3-carbinol and isothiocyanate and help balance and metabolize hormones. This is especially useful in curbing estrogen or hormone-sensitive cancers.
At Mind & Body Christian Health Group, our team of certified healthcare professionals will take a functional medicine approach that is individualized to meet you heath goals. Schedule an appointment with us to get started on your holistic health care journey and get to know more about detoxification and its effect on your health.