Super Food Detox Stuff - It's Simple
By Dr. Vince Ziccarelli PhD. MSc. RD ND
As a naturopathic practitioner, doctor of natural medicine and registered nutritionist, spring is a time that many of my clients are looking for a way to detox their lifestyle. Detox diets are numerous and many people often become confused with what direction would be best for them. I simply explain that our bodies are actually always detoxing, all we need to do is provide extra nourishment to support the detox systems more efficiently. The liver, the kidneys, our lungs, skin and colon are the key organs in our bodies that are the master filters - eliminating the toxins that we naturally produce and are exposed to from our environment.
Our detox organs are usually very efficient at cleaning things up, it's only when extra stressors, and or excess toxic load starts to overwhelm our systems that things start to affect us with our vitality and wellness. Usually, one of the tell tale signs of an over-exhausted detox system is when your energy levels become low; regardless of being healthy with no apparent nutrient deficiencies and or underlying medical condition. Simply put, many environmental toxins including pollution, cigarette smoke, alcohol, and medications contribute to the extra levels of circulating free radicals within our bodies which cause your detox systems to work extra hard to quench and neutralize them. So when our detox organs work harder, it may deplete our energy levels.
Fortunately nature has provided us with tools to provide extra assistance to our filtering organs and keep the excess toxic build up at bay. These tools are largely found in foods rich in nutrients and antioxidant elements. You see good nutrition is cornerstone to supporting our internal cleansers on a daily basis. Much of the disease prevention associated with good nutrition is largely associated with the great food based antioxidants that quench the numerous free radicals we are exposed to while supporting our detox organs.
This is why bumping up your intake of plant foods is key. You don't need to take an extreme approach, instead include more vegetables, fruits, legumes and lentils and you will reap detox benefits. A great way to top it up is to drink some certified organic vegetable juices such as carrot juice, spinach juice or beet root juice. These juices are super loaded with naturally occurring carotenoids, purple pigment proanthocyanidins, chlorophyll, vitamins, trace minerals and soluble fibers - that collectively help fight off free radicals while helping to support liver enzymes in doing their job better at neutralizing their toxic effects. The extra soluble fibers bind and help excrete them out via the colon which is an extra bonus.
Another favorite of mine is good old dark chocolate, preferably a certified organic option. Dark chocolate is a well known superfood, that is rich in polypenols, mainly flavonols. Studies show that sensibly eating dark chocolate elevates nitric oxide levels helping with blood pressure, and even potentially supporting better libido. The chocolate polyphenols offer extra antioxidant support to possibly help lessen the burden on your cleansing systems. I like to encourage small amounts daily as an indulgence to satisfy your appetite while offering wellness benefits, but just don't over do it, set a quota, 100-200 calories worth of dark chocolate daily as a sort of healthier snack.
Take home message if you are thinking about better nutritional detox strategies. Eat balanced nutrition, emphasize more plant based meals, opt to include more vegan meat options at meals, eat your greens, don't over eat, consider topping up with some certified organic vegetable juices and indulge a little on the good stuff- try some certified organic dark chocolate, but set yourself a healthy quota for the chocolate. These strategies will help your internal filters work better over the short and long term - the rewards to your wellness will be invaluable.