Nature is bursting with new growth, and spring cleaning is in full swing. Does your body also need a regular flushing? Should you be doing a spring detox, and does that mean endless meals of juice? Here’s what you need to know to determine if a spring detox is right for you.
Is juice the way to go?
Chances are high that you know someone who has tried a juice cleanse, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for you, or necessary. Because the majority of us aren’t reaching our daily fruit and veggie needs, juice can be an easy way to get in all those vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that we need — plus, it tastes good.
Having juice for breakfast or as a midday snack, especially if you’re not big on veggies, is a super addition to your diet, but it shouldn’t be your diet. Although juice can be quite good for you, consuming only juice isn’t all that healthy.
Because juice is usually lacking the fiber that you’d get with whole fruit, “You won’t feel fulfilled, meaning you’ll eat more calories than you would if you simply chewed the food,” Jennifer Nelson, director of clinical dietetics and nutrition at the Mayo Clinic, told CNN. And because fruit is more concentrated, so is the sugar content. Unlike whole, fiber-filled fruit, this sugar will absorb quickly, causing a blood sugar spike.
But does it detox? Well, your body already naturally detoxes — your liver, kidneys, and immune system are already working to rid your body of toxins. “There is nothing in the medical literature to affirm that the body needs an outside source to cleanse itself,” registered dietitian Deborah Levy told CNN.
Juice can, without a doubt, be included in your detox diet, but the best thing you can do is support your body with whole foods.
Whole, organic foods to cleanse
To support your body, eat healthy, whole foods. You should be aiming to eat four to five cups of fruit and veggies per day. Preferably, go with organic food. It will be free of pesticides and hormones, so your body can cleanse as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Exercise and staying hydrated definitely do their part to help your body eliminate toxins, but they won’t undo a poor diet. The less junk food you eat, the less your kidneys and other organs have to work. Keep reading to discover some of the cleansing foods that Rebecca Sritchfield, RDN, owner of the award-winning nutrition site Positively Nutrition Blog, recommends.
Green, leafy veggies
These are probably the best detox foods you can eat. “They contain extremely high amounts of chlorophylls, which have a distinct ability to neutralize heavy metals, chemicals, and pesticides,” said Sritchfield, “making them one of the most effective foods for cleansing the liver.”
Leafy greens — like romaine lettuce, collard greens, or kale — are rich in glutathione, an essential antioxidant for the liver.
While you’ll be getting all those healthy antioxidants in juice, you won’t be getting all of the insoluble fiber, which gets the gut moving. Crisp, crunchy raw veggies are highest in this sort of fiber.
Broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage
“Broccoli, and other cruciferous vegetables, stimulate the activation of crucial liver detoxifying enzymes that help flush out toxins,” said Sritchfield. They are also known for their powerful antioxidant properties and contain high amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid, and fiber.
Another sneaky way that cruciferous veggies help cleanse is by fighting inflammation. They help to block the inflammatory response, rapidly reducing chronic and acute inflammation, so your body is prepared to tackle your detox needs.
More detox favorites
Along with a hard-hitting veggie arsenal, consider adding some of the following whole-food options into your spring cleansing diet.
Sritchfield recommends walnuts because “they aid the liver in detoxifying ammonia and are also high in glutathione and omega-3 fatty acids, which support normal liver cleansing actions.” Another one of her favorites? Tumeric, which is, as she puts it, “The liver’s favorite spice!” It assists the liver in ridding the body of any food additives and pesticides.
Beets aren’t just good for T-Swift memes; they’re also one of the few edible plants that contain betalains, plant pigments that give some beets their deep red color and have powerful anti-inflammatory and fungicidal properties. These Betalains promote the cell repair and regeneration of cells, especially in the liver, the body’s primary detox center.
There are so many whole-food options that support your body’s proper detox mechanics. The best part is that during spring, farmers markets are popping up, so local, seasonal fare is close and easy on the wallet!
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