Spring cleaning isn’t just about scrubbing behind the refrigerator and making order from the chaos in the garage; spring is also an excellent time to detoxify the body. Over the winter, heavy foods and limited physical activity promote the accumulation of toxins within your tissues and organs. The spring season is a great opportunity to flush them out and energize your system for greater vitality.
But unlike cleaning the garage, detoxifying the body doesn’t have to be a chore. There are a number of nutrient-dense superfoods that help cleanse and remove toxins from deep within, naturally. By incorporating these and other wholesome foods into a gentle cleanse program, we nourish our systems and eliminate toxins, clearing the way for optimal health throughout the year.
Top Detoxifying Foods
You’ve probably noticed that many foods that support good health are also intensely colorful. Their vibrant colors are produced by the rich abundance of phytonutrients and antioxidants they contain. Blueberries, carrots and beets are good examples. Beets are especially good detoxifiers and are full of B vitamins and minerals, including zinc, crucial for the immune system. Beets are also full of fiber, to help cleanse the digestive tract. Even better, beets support the liver, the body’s primary filter for toxins.
Turmeric is a bright-yellow root commonly used as a spice in traditional Indian cooking. It is also a staple in Ayurvedic medicine. As happens so often with ancient medical practices, scientific research has confirmed the benefits of turmeric. This spice — and curcumin, its main active ingredient — have been shown to detoxify the body, improve digestion, protect cellular health, increase antioxidant protection and enhance immunity, among other benefits.
Sea vegetables are also excellent for supporting detoxification and overall health. They have been part of Asian cuisines for thousands of years and offer remarkable health benefits. Seaweed contains vitamins A, C, E and the B complex; calcium; magnesium; potassium; iron; and other minerals. They also contain compounds that support the removal of toxins, stabilize blood sugar and promote immunity. There are a number of varieties to choose from, including nori, dulse, arame and kelp.
Cultured and fermented vegetables should also be on your spring menu. The fermentation process increases digestibility and boosts nutrient profiles significantly. These foods support immunity and aid detoxification. Sauerkraut and kimchee, for example, are sources of probiotics, enzymes and nutrients that support digestion, detoxification and overall health.
Many culinary mushrooms are rich in antioxidants and compounds that help detoxify the body, boost immunity, reduce inflammation and even repair damaged tissue. Shitake, oyster and maitake are excellent examples that can be included in soups, sautés and other savory dishes.
Lemon helps the body remove toxins and is also an excellent tonic for both the liver and gall bladder. In my practice, I recommend a daily dose of an olive oil and lemon mixture during detoxification: Cut an organic lemon into small pieces and blend it with 1¼ cups spring water and a tablespoon of olive oil. Partially strain the mixture, leaving some pulp. (The pectin from the lemon peel helps the digestive tract.) Drink before bed. In addition to supporting detoxification, many of my patients report that this drink helps improve their sleep.
Broccoli, and particularly broccoli sprouts, as well as other cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, kale, and others, are rich in sulfur compounds like sulforaphane, and other critical phytonutrients such as indole-3-carbinol. (Broccoli sprouts in particular have about 20 times more sulforaphane than regular broccoli.) These important nutrients help remove toxins, protect cellular health boost and long-term wellness among other benefits.
This common herb helps pull mercury and other toxic metals from organs and tissues, allowing these toxins to attach to binding agents like PectaSol-C Modified Citrus Pectin, for safe elimination through the urinary and GI tract. Cilantro also offers support for immunity and other areas of health.
Artichokes support the liver, by increasing bile production to help your body metabolize and remove toxins and wastes efficiently.
It’s also helpful to supplement these excellent foods with herbs and botanicals that actively detoxify the body, support antioxidant activity and help reduce any possible detox reactions during a cleanse.*
ecoNugenics PectaClear® Environmental Toxin Cleanse contains PectaSol-C® Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP), together with alginates derived from kelp. This unique formula is clinically shown to help remove heavy metals, such as lead, mercury and arsenic, and environmental toxins.*
As noted, medicinal mushrooms support healthy immunity and aid in detoxification. ecoNugenics recommends MycoPhyto® Complex, a formula with six potent medicinal mushrooms, specially grown on a bed of immune-enhancing herbs to maximize their immune, detoxification and overall health benefits.*
Another powerful detoxification formula, ecoDetox™ contains sulfured amino acids and other detox-supporting nutrients, together with cilantro, milk thistle, dandelion and specific Chinese herbal blends. This total-body detox formula helps pull toxins from organs and tissues, enhances the body’s innate detox capacities, and provides critical antioxidant and vital energy support during a cleanse. ecoDetox™ can be used alone, or together with PectaClear® for more thorough removal of heavy metals and toxins from the body.*
Though the body has many mechanisms to get rid of toxins, we’re exposed on a daily basis to countless untested chemicals. A gentle, seasonal cleanse is an excellent way to support the elimination processes, enhance immunity and maintain overall health. Celebrate the renewal of life and energy this spring by taking the right steps to increase your vitality. Whether it’s for three days, three weeks or longer, a gentle and nourishing spring cleanse can help you reach a greater level of health and wellness, naturally.