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For many the word “detox” triggers visions of a regular spoonful of ghastly concoctions forging a close bond with the toilet for at least a day, thereafter getting a pat on the back for being clean from the inside! Even today, by the push of a button, one can find all sorts of potions and programs that promise renewed energy and inner purity. It probably makes sense as the average diet is riddled with heavy metals, pesticides, preservatives, caffeine, nicotine and the likes, but on the other hand, a healthy body should have the capacity of getting rid of these impurities. Mother Nature has ingeniously designed certain foods to promote natural detoxification, even for winter when greens are scarce and lack nutrition. Let us look at what there is on offer to get our bodies working on the remnants that goes hand-in-hand with the culinary feasts of this time of year.
1. Lemon is a great detoxifier. If you don’t want to drink glasses full of lemon water, use it in your daily cooking. It replaces salt quite well and in combination with herbs, it can add taste to any meal. The reasons for using lemons (and limes) are numerous, as it is packed with cleansing properties due to it’s high vitamin and mineral content. It aids digestion and water retention, it stimulates the liver to expel chemicals more efficiently, it dissolves mucus and acts as an anti-inflammatory and due to it’s high vitamin C content, is a powerful antioxidant.
2. Brassica oleracea is the species of plant commonly known to us as cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and broccoli but also includes a loose-leafed variety such as kale. This group of winter veggies is potent! It triggers a complicated string of chemical processes in the body necessary for general health. It is high in glucosinolates, which stimulates the body to produce a certain protein that deactivates certain cancer-causing substances. Once again, it is an antioxidant due to it’s vitamin C content, it has beta-carotene that is turned into vitamin A in our bodies which is vital for healthy skin, mucus membranes and eyesight, and a good immune system booster too.
3. Onions, garlic, shallots and chives are all part of the allium family which is loved by some, hated by some but altogether a fantastic addition to any diet, detox or not, as it contains a variety of nutrients. Sulfur, also found in ample amounts, is especially good for the liver which plays a crucial role in ridding the body of toxins. Quercitin is worth mentioning as it has been shown to effectively regulate cholesterol, fight infections and allergies, it wards of blood clots and inhibits stomach cancer.
4. Cayenne pepper is a hot and spicy chilly pepper available all year round and great for adding zest to many a dish. It’s therapeutic properties has recently been in the spotlight. It is useful for many ailments such as heartburn, helps relieve flu and cold symptoms, is anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory, triggers the body’s natural feel-good and pain-relieving chemicals called endorphins, is an anti-allergen and most of all, cayenne pepper is a great circulatory stimulant, it causes sweating, increases the pulse and stimulates digestion, all crucial in the process of detoxification.
5. Beetroot instinctively jumps to mind as an antidote for anemia. In the Doctrine of Signature, a non scientific theory, it is claimed that the external features of plants are linked to certain human features, the color of beetroot resembling blood and believed to be very good for the blood in the same manner that walnuts are good for the brain. This theory carries a little bit of weight in the case of beetroot, as it contains a fair amount of iron, but that is one small factor. It has been elevated to the level of superfood as it contains nutrients in abundance, with outstanding purifying properties. The sap of fresh beets cleanses the liver, spleen and gallbladder, the magnesium content is high, which purifies the blood and dissolves non-organic calcium that accumulates easily in blood vessels. Whether cooked or raw, it boosts the immune system, is a noteworthy antioxidant and speeds up the metabolism. Plenty of reason to “eat more beet”!
6. Lentils, with it’s earthy, peppery taste is an easy-to-use ingredient that can be added to a variety of dishes, not only for adding flavor, but also adding goodness, as it is loaded with vitamins and minerals, fiber, folate and an excellent source of protein. It is greatly beneficial to one’s health, whether actively detoxifying or not. It is good for the intestines, good for the heart and good for the brain, the blood, the body. Use it as often as possible if you are aiming for longevity.
There are many more incredibly powerful foods out there. Apples, almonds, avocados, artichokes and asparagus just starting off at the beginning of the food alphabet. Don’t forget to generously add the splendor of herbs and spices. With a gentle shift in eating habits, putting the processed and refined foods aside and incorporating the interesting and colorful list of healthy ingredients into one’s daily diet, there should be no need for taking grandma’s revolting concoctions in order to get through winter in a pure and healthy way.
Make sure to also check out the detox products that we recommend in our store
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