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You don’t have to starve to detox. In fact, fasting can actually be counterproductive. The reason: your body needs certain amino acids and antioxidants to detoxify harmful compounds, and fiber from food to keep the bowels moving. Plus, starving yourself upsets blood sugar and causes cortisol levels to rise.
A better approach: eliminate toxins, emphasize healing foods, reduce calories, and keep your blood sugar stable with nourishing mini-meals and snacks. These 75-calorie (or less), nutrient-packed nibbles will help you detox safely and sanely:
Roasted sweet potatoes with flax oil and ground flax seeds. Sweet potatoes are high in fiber to create intestinal bulk, promote bowel movements, and help remove toxins from the body. They’re also rich in beta-carotene, a potent antioxidant. Flax is high in inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, and the seeds are a rich source of lignans, fiber-like compounds that detoxify harmful forms of estrogen from environmental toxins.
Steamed artichoke with spicy olive oil. Artichokes contain compounds that help shore up the liver’s detox pathways. They’re also loaded with fiber-10 grams in a medium artichoke. Olive oil adds anti-inflammatory fats, and cayenne pepper stimulates circulation.
Broccoli, daikon, and turmeric stir-fry. Broccoli, like all members of the brassica family, contains a compound called diindolylmethane, which helps detoxify harmful forms of estrogen. Daikon, a type of spicy radish, is traditionally used to clear mucus and cleanse the blood. And turmeric contains curcumin, an anti-inflammatory that helps the liver neutralize toxins.
White beans with rosemary and garlic. Beans are great sources of clean protein, which is necessary for complete detox. They’re also rich in gut-cleansing fiber that helps regulate blood sugar. Rosemary stimulates the liver and boosts the body’s production of glutathione, an important antioxidant. Garlic also stimulates glutathione production, and it’s rich in antioxidants and anti-bacterial compounds.
Cranberry-lemon cocktail. Cranberries prevent the accumulation of bacteria in the urinary tract, and their bitter flavor helps to stimulate the liver. Lemons are alkalizing, which helps balance acidity from animal protein, sugar, and grains. Lemon is also thought to clear mucous from the body. Add a little stevia for sweetness; it won’t upset blood sugar.
Bitter greens salad with celery and avocado. Arugula, radicchio, dandelion, and other bitter greens stimulate bile flow and boost the liver’s ability to eliminate toxins. Dark leafy varieties are also rich in cancer-preventive chlorophyll. Celery is a gentle diuretic that flushes and supports the kidneys. It also contains anti-inflammatory compounds. Like rosemary, avocados boost glutathione production, plus they’re rich in monounsaturated fats.
Beet and hijiki seaweed salad. Beets contain betalains, compounds that help support detox in the liver. Betalains are also anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. Hijiki and other sea vegetables bind to radioactive waste and heavy metals, helping eliminate them from the body. Like leafy greens, they’re alkalizing, and they contain compounds that reduce inflammation.
Lisa Turner is a certified food psychology coach, intuitive eating consultant, and author. She has written five books on nutrition and developed the Inspired Eats iPhone app at thehealthygourmet.net. Visit her online at inspiredeating.com.
It’s our 75th birthday!
Follow along with us this year as we celebrate all things 75 each month. To learn more about how Better Nutrition started (in 1938) and our plans for a special commemorative issue, click here.