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Simple tips to eliminate toxins and improve energy, immune function, and vitality.

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Simple tips to eliminate toxins and improve energy, immune function, and vitality

A healthy detoxification program should always begin gradually. But with so many methods available, it can be difficult to find a starting point. With that in mind, I would like to share some of my top recommended steps—gleaned through my experience as an integrative medical doctor—for safe and effective detoxification that can provide lasting energy, vitality, and overall wellness.

{1} Reduce Your Exposure to Toxins

Every day, we are exposed to harmful health-robbing toxins, including bisphenol-A (BPA), phthalates, PFOA, formaldehyde, PDBEs, and heavy metals. They can be found in everything from cleaning and beauty products to cookware to even the air we breathe. We’re also bombarded with toxins from processed, fried, and non-organic foods; alcohol; stimulants; medications; and more. These toxins accumulate over time and damage our DNA, create inflammation, and impair critical biological functions.

Reduce your exposure by choosing all-natural foods and non-toxic products whenever possible, and make sure your home and work environments are properly ventilated. Have yourself tested (or try an elimination diet) if you feel you may be sensitive to gluten, dairy, eggs, or other allergenic foods that can increase the permeability of your digestive tract, allowing toxins to more easily enter your bloodstream.

{2} Alkalize Your Diet

Increase your intake of vegetables and fruits that are high in alkalizing minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Avocados, potatoes (skin on), and dry beans are good sources of potassium. Green leafy vegetables are rich in magnesium. And broccoli, sea vegetables, collards, and chard are packed with calcium.

You can easily make an alkalizing mineral solution by combining potatoes, celery, parsley, green beans, zucchini, beet tops, kale, onions, and seaweed in a full pot of water, simmering for an hour or two, and saving the broth. This makes a highly nutritious, mineral-rich liquid for a seasonal cleanse.

Other alkalizing food sources include liquid chlorophyll and powdered “green foods” supplements, as well as the highly alkaline umeboshi plum paste, which is a sour plum commonly used in Japanese cuisine. An alkaline diet can aid in the removal of toxins, reduce inflammation, and boost overall health and energy.

{3} Let Go with Simple Meditation

In today’s environment, we are often bombarded by stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts and emotions. Stress affects us physically by degrading immune function and increasing stress hormones, which promote blood sugar imbalances, inflammation, and oxidative stress. You can help clear this toxic burden on your mental, emotional, and physical health through the process of “letting go.”

One proactive and well-researched method of letting go is regular meditation practice, even for just 10 minutes a day. Simply sit quietly and focus your attention, as well as your breathing, on a particular object such as a small stone. As thoughts and emotions arise, simply acknowledge and release them, bringing your attention back to your breath.

Studies show that meditation can improve psychological/emotional well-being and help with issues ranging from cardiovascular disease, inflammation, and immune activity to pain, anxiety, sleep, depression, memory, and more.

{4} Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can lead to inflammation and oxidative stress, thus increasing toxicity. Drink plenty of pure water and herbal tea to help flush toxins from your body and keep your natural detox functions running smoothly. In fact, proper hydration helps all your body’s systems function more efficiently.

{5} Get Moving

Simple moderate exercise on a regular basis helps keep the lymphatic system moving, release stored toxins, increase circulation, and improve immune response. Movement also helps in releasing physical, emotional, and psychological energies that may leave us feeling “stuck.” Even just 15 minutes of walking—especially in nature—can offer powerful benefits for detoxification and overall health.

{6} Pre-Cleanse with Gentle Supplements

Gentle detox supplementation begins with natural ingredients that help clear toxins from the circulatory and digestive systems while providing overall health support. Start with an organic medicinal mushroom formula, which helps remove toxins and provides powerful benefits to every major body system, including the immune system. Another key supplement is modified citrus pectin, which safely removes heavy metals and environmental toxins from circulation and digestion, reduces inflammation, boosts immunity, and helps protect against cancer and chronic illness by blocking harmful molecules involved in the formation of disease.

{7} Detoxify Organs and Tissues with Nutrients and Botanicals

After gently detoxifying your circulation and digestion, you can gradually advance to more thorough detoxification of organs and tissues—this is where toxins are often stored over time. For in-depth detox, I recommend incorporating compounds, herbs, and nutrients such as N-acetylcysteine (NAC), selenium, MSM, alpha-lipoic acid, milk thistle, cilantro, goldenrod, garlic, and dandelion leaf. These natural detoxifying agents have their own affinities for specific organs and systems of the body, and work to eliminate toxins without side effects. They also boost energy and provide antioxidant support to combat oxidative stress caused during toxin removal.



We are what we eat—and what we don’t eat. Of all the ways to influence health, diet has the greatest impact. The right foods can nourish us and assist our bodies in their remarkable detoxification abilities. The wrong foods can rob us of nutrients and stop us up with harmful chemicals. As an integrative physician specializing in safe, strategic detoxification, my patients often ask my advice on the best natural foods for a cleansing and detox diet. Here are some of my top recommendations:


  • First, do no harm. Before you start flushing toxins from the body, make sure you’re not putting any more toxins into your body. Reduce or eliminate red meat and dairy. In addition, eliminate alcohol, processed foods, cooked oils, sugar, caffeine, and table salt, which all generate inflammation and can increase toxic burden.
  • Increase servings of fresh vegetables (organic, if possible); whole legumes, seeds, nuts, and grains; and lean, organic protein. In particular, emphasize leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and kale, which are extremely high in potent phytonutrients and boost detoxification capacities. Alkalizing vegetables, like spinach, avocado, and cucumber, counteract acidity, and help remove toxins. For maximum detoxification, eat your vegetables raw, juiced, steamed, or sautéed in water.
  • Increase fiber intake. I recommend flax seeds, psyllium, and rice bran. Chia seeds are also an amazing source of fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Be sure to drink at least 8–10 glasses of filtered water each day. Herbal teas and low-sodium vegetable broths are great choices as well. Dehydration impedes cleansing and may cause toxins to reabsorb into your system. [Editor’s note: See p. 63 to read more about proper hydration.]


Mushrooms are excellent antioxidants. They modulate the immune system, detoxify the body, and even repair damaged tissues. Reishi mushrooms are a great source of antioxidants. Shiitake and maitake support immunity and cellular health. Cordyceps support internal organs, and tremella mushrooms greatly support blood sugar metabolism. Medicinal mushrooms demonstrate an uncanny intelligence in the body because they are drawn to areas that are toxic, injured, or stagnant, and help to remove toxins and initiate the healing process.


Don’t shy away from cultured or fermented vegetables. The fermentation process makes nutrients more bioavailable, boosts immunity, and aids detoxification. Sauerkraut, kimchee, and other cultured foods are rich in probiotics, enzymes, and other nutrients that support digestive health and internal cleansing.

Unfortunately, toxins are a permanent fixture in our modern lifestyles. By making mindful choices with diet and natural ingredients, however, we can greatly reduce toxic burden and improve our overall health, energy, and vitality—for life.


NUTRICOLOGY Modified Citrus Pectin Powder is sourced from 100% organic citrus pectin. The powder mixes easily into water, juice, or other liquid beverage. Use 1 tsp. daily for overall health and daily cleansing.

IRWIN NATURALS Dual-Action Cleanse is designed to be used as a seven-day purifying “flush” to clear the
colon and jump-start weight loss. The two-part kit features a proprietary blend of herbs, including dandelion.

WAKUNAGA Kyolic Detox & Anti-Aging Formula 105 gently cleanses the system with organically grown garlic; vitamins A, C, and E; and herbal antioxidants such as milk thistle.

NEW CHAPTER Lifeshield Liver Force features select species of potency-guaranteed medicinal mushrooms to promote healthy liver function and detoxification.

RENEW LIFE Organic Triple Fiber blends 100% organic fiber from flax, oat, and acacia fiber to promote bowel regularity and colon detoxification. The psyllium-free formula does not cause gas or bloating.

Isaac Eliaz, MD, Lac, MS is an integrative practitioner with more than 25 years of experience. He is the founder and medical director of Amitabha Medical Clinic in Santa Rosa, Calif. Visit him online at