A 2014 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that the citric acid in lemons can protect liver function and prevent oxidative (stress-related) damage.
Another 2014 study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism found that daily lemon ingestion — combined with daily walking — helps regulate blood pressure.
Many people choose to consume lemon water to get their fill. All you need to do is squeeze fresh, organic lemon into a glass of water for an amped up version of H20. If you drink this a lot, you may want to drink it with a straw and rinse out your mouth with water right away.
(Be sure NOT to brush your teeth soon after drinking lemon water, or other acidic beverages. This could harm the enamel on your teeth.)
Dubbed “America’s new favorite fruit” because of its rise in popularity, avocados have a wealth of antioxidants and other nutrients.
A 2001 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that the fatty acids in avocados help protect against damage caused by d-galactosamine, a powerful liver toxin.
4) Green Tea
Green tea is universally considered a good-for-you beverage. And it’s been used as a medicinal aid for thousands of years.
High in antioxidants, it helps keep your body in balance, protecting against free radicals that can cause aging and degenerative disease.
Green tea has also frequently been shown to have a protective effect against certain types of cancer.
A 2007 study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention found that a green tea concentrate boosted production of detoxification enzymes, which play a key role in cancer prevention.
These popular snacks are rich in the soluble fiber pectin. Pectin helps purge toxins from the bloodstream and lower LDL cholesterol.
A 2006 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that pectin can aid in the excretion of toxins, such as mercury and lead.
A 2014 research review on the studies about garlic published in the Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine found that this spicy veggie has a whole host of health benefits.
Researchers found that garlic can inhibit the activation of carcinogens, enhance detoxification, and even protect DNA.
With many positive effects for everything from mood to heart function, some consider this bright green alga to be a wonder food.
Chlorella has been shown to help with depression and anxiety, reduce excess weight, and lower LDL cholesterol. It also helps reduce liver inflammation.
Four grams or more (about two teaspoons) per day for at least eight weeks is the recommended amount to kickstart the benefits. If you like, you can stir it into your morning juice or add it to a smoothie!
Also known as “Indian saffron,” this gorgeous yellow spice has been used medicinally for nearly 4,000 years.
In 2011, the editors of Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects reviewed the evidence on this ancient spice. They found it to have “antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antioxidant, antiseptic, cardioprotective, hepatoprotective, nephroprotective, radioprotective, and digestive activities.”
The primary active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which gives it its bright yellow color. However, if you just eat turmeric straight, you may not absorb much. I love mixing fresh and dried turmeric into all sorts of foods. And I always try to include black pepper because studies show that piperine (found in black pepper) helps to increase curcumin absorption substantially.
Note: PuraTHRIVE has developed a curcumin supplement that uses a cutting-edge micelle liposomal delivery mechanism, which has been found to increase bioavailability by up to 185 times.
These bright-red veggies contain high levels of antioxidants and other health-promoting properties.
But beets are also a detox tool. A 2015 study published in the journal Nutrients found that beet juice can amplify specific enzymes that support the liver and aid in detoxification.
Besides being delicious, blueberries are nutrient-dense and are an abundant source of antioxidants.
They’ve been shown to lower blood pressure, boost vascular health, fight cancer, protect lungs, and prevent Alzheimer’s, among other effects.
As far as fighting toxins, a 2011 study published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found that the berries enhanced the activity of the body’s natural killer cells, which fight against cancer cells.
Some plants can bind to heavy metals and help your body excrete them. Those plants are known as “chelators” and this flavorful herb is one of them!
A 2013 study published in Scientific World Journal found that cilantro can enhance mercury excretion and decrease lead absorption.
Rich in phytochemicals — the healthy compounds found in plants — many people use ginger as a gastrointestinal aid.
Since the intestines perform so much detoxification work, ginger can help boost your body’s ability to process food and eliminate waste.
A 2013 research review published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine found that ginger protects against oxidative stress, has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects, and offers a wealth of antioxidants.
A Word About Probiotics and Prebiotics
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Probiotics (or good gut bacteria) can help your intestines as they naturally release toxins and waste products.
Foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and pickled vegetables, are great examples of probiotics.
Then there are prebiotic foods, which serve as fuel for the probiotics. Those include jicama, onions, leeks, and asparagus, among others.
For more on how to include the right foods for supporting your digestive system, check out our article on probiotics and prebiotics.
Foods to Avoid
In stark contrast to detoxifying foods, other foods tend to have higher concentrations of toxins. If you’re looking to cleanse your body, you should avoid them.
Most fish flesh contains high levels of chemical residues. These chemicals include mercury and synthetic chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
According to the CDC: “Seafood poisoning from marine toxins is an underrecognized hazard for travelers, particularly in the tropics and subtropics.”
And because of the plastic problem in the ocean, almost all fish are consuming microplastics. As a result, the microplastics will end up in your stomach if you eat fish.
If you choose to eat fish, the least dangerous options for humans (all fish consumption is lethal for the fish) are low-mercury fish, such as wild salmon, sardines, and herring.
In 2015, the World Health Organization classified processed meats (bacon, lunchmeat, hot dogs, etc.) as carcinogenic (cancer-causing). Therefore, it’s best to avoid them altogether.
Even unprocessed meats are often contaminated with bacteria due to the processes, equipment, and condition of many farms and slaughterhouses.
Cow’s milk contains a whole host of substances — including powerful growth hormones — that can cause health issues in humans.
Dairy consumption has been linked to acne, asthma, heart disease, and many types of cancer.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found up to 20 different chemicals present in cow’s milk. These included the anti-inflammatory drugs niflumic acid, mefenamic acid, and ketoprofen (all painkillers for animals and people).
If you want to ditch the dairy, you can opt for plant-based milk, such as cashew, almond, soy, or oat instead!
Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs)
The agrochemical companies behind GMOs claim that their crops reduce pesticide use, increase yields, reduce water consumption, and offer foods that are tastier and more nutritious.
But in the 25 years since GM crops first came on the market, studies have found that they have led to higher pesticide use, and no meaningful improvement in flavor, nutrition, yield or water consumption.
Instead, what they’ve created are plants that are engineered to withstand massive dosing of toxic herbicides — and plants that function as living pesticide factories. Bayer’s Bt. corn, for example, is actually registered with the EPA as a pesticide.
Many credible scientists have significant concerns about the safety of these crops for human and animal consumption.
In multiple studies, lab animals fed genetically modified foods showed damage to almost every organ system studied. Thousands of sick, sterile, and dead animals have also been traced to GM feed.
And GM crops are typically contaminated with glyphosate, which is a probable carcinogen and a known endocrine disruptor.
The primary GMO foods available in the U.S. are corn, soybeans, canola, sugar beets, papaya, and cottonseed oil. Many processed foods also contain genetically modified corn and soy.
You can avoid GMOs by steering clear of these ingredients unless they are organic or certified non-GMO.