THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON MIND, BODY, GREEN.
With the season of indulgences behind us, adopting a detoxification diet is a welcome (and necessary) change of pace.
The effects of too many toxins and processed foods in your life can fly under the radar for a while, but eventually the effects will be palpable, and your quality of life will suffer. How do you know if you’re in need of a detox? Some of the most common symptoms associated with toxic burden include fatigue, brain fog, headaches, and general aches and pains.
Fortunately, taking steps to detoxify your body and revitalize your health can be boiled down to two simple steps: First, remove known toxins, and second, add in specific nutrients that help support the body’s detoxification pathways. In order to properly detoxify, you also need targeted nutrients to help your liver convert substances like caffeine, alcohol, medications, and even by-products of normal metabolism into neutral substances so they can be removed from your body before doing harm.
These 10 detoxifying foods have specific nutrients that enable your body to efficiently metabolize toxins and improve overall health. They’re the perfect place to start if you’re feeling like you need some extra detox support:
1. Green tea:
Liver detoxification has two primary stages, known as phase one and phase two detoxification. In phase one, toxins are made water-soluble through enzymes like the cytochrome P450 enzyme system. During phase two, toxins are bound to protective chemicals that neutralize the toxin or allow it to be excreted from the body through bile or urine. Green tea is a powerhouse beverage for a reason. It has a dual benefit when it comes to detoxification because phytochemicals in green tea have been shown to induce both phase-one and phase-two activity.
Like green tea, tangerines induce phase-one and phase-two activity. The primary compound responsible for the detoxifying effects and for the chemopreventive activity is called D-limonene. Like tangerines, oranges and lemons (but not grapefruit) also contain D-limonene.
Along with other members of the brassica family, cabbage has chemopreventive effects associated with the activity of phase one and two detoxification enzymes and other mechanisms triggered by compounds called glucosinolates and their derivatives. Fermented cabbage has a secondary perk: The beneficial bacteria produced during fermentation also promotes detoxification in the gut.
Broccoli tops the list as one of the most well-researched detoxifying foods and chemopreventive foods. Just like cabbage, broccoli contains glucosinolates and derivatives called isothiocyanates (ITCs), which are known to activate phase two detoxification.
No discussion of detoxification could be complete without covering the chief detoxifying compound glutathione. Glutathione is a tripeptide made of three amino acids—glycine, cysteine, and glutamine. This tripeptide is the master antioxidant and detoxifying compound in the human body. Glutathione promotes both phase one and phase two of liver detoxification. Many factors deplete glutathione, leaving you vulnerable to environmental insults, but consuming glutathione and its amino acid building blocks can help replenish your glutathione reserve. Asparagus is not only a source of glutathione, but it also contains additional detoxifying antioxidants.