20 Simple Strategies to Support Detoxification
Strategy 1 - Eat Real Food
Eat whole, unprocessed foods which don't contain additives or preservatives which add to your toxic load. Removing or reducing them takes pressure off your liver so check the labels on packaging, ingredients should be natural as possible.
Strategy 2 - Go Green
Green foods contain chlorophyll which rids the body of harmful environmental toxins like pesticides, toxic metals and cleaning products, so add green vegetables to your diet e.g. spinach, kale, parsely, watercress and lettuce.
Strategy 3 - Protein
Adequate protein in the diet is essential for detoxification. Protein is made up of amino acids and certain ones have specific roles in the detoxification process. For example, cysteine, an amino acid and antioxidant leads to increased levels of another antioxidant called glutathione, both these are essential for detoxification and are liver protective. Pork, beef, chicken, tuna and lentils contain high levels of cysteine. It is important to eat a variety of protein sources to ensure you get the full range of the different amino acids.
Strategy 4 - Eat Organic
Where possible try and increase the amount of organic food you eat. A fully organic diet can be difficult and expensive to achieve but if you use the ‘dirty dozen’ and ‘clean fifteen’ lists you can prioritise which produce to buy organic.
Some helpful links for more information:
Strategy 5 - Bitter Greens
Our liver loves bitter green like kale, rocket, watercress, spinach and dandelion. These stimulate bile production which is what the liver uses to excrete toxins. So,have a side salad with your favourite bitter leaves to your evening meal, dressed with olive oil and apple cider vinegar to give your bile a boost.
Strategy 6 - Hydrate
Drinking plenty of fluids is essential for detoxification as it flushes out toxins from the body and plays a key role in regulating normal bowel movements, aiding the elimination of waste. Try taking a water bottle (BPA free) to work with you or when your travelling to ensure you have plenty of opportunity to drink. Infusing with fruit and herbs e.g. lemon and mint will add some flavour.
Strategy 7 - Milk Thistle
Milk thistle is a liver protective herb which contains the active flavonoid silymarin. It has been shown in studies to support liver detoxification and also increases glutathione, one of the most crucial antioxidants in the body. It also can increase bile flow, which plays an important role in waste elimination.
If you’re considering supplementing with this then it is important to check that there are no interactions with any medications your taking (a typical adult dose is between 100 -300mg per day).
Strategy 8 - Fibre
Fibre is important for detoxification for several reasons. Firstly, it helps prevent constipation which removes toxins from the body. Also, the fibre itself can also absorb toxins and waste hormones, carrying them out of the body via stool and therefore not being recirculated. Increasing fruit and vegetable intake is an easy way to increase fibre. Flaxseeds are also a good option as they absorb water in the body forming a jelly like substance which helps the flow of waste and reduces constipation.
Strategy 9 - Herbs and spices
Turmeric, ginger, garlic, parsley, coriander, mint, cumin and dill are herbs and spices which can help support detoxification and can even be liver protective. They also add great flavour to meals like stews, soups or salads.
Strategy 10 - Mindful eating
Chewing food thoroughly and eating slowly instead of rushing your meals will be a huge support to your digestive system, improving digestion and absorption. The more efficiently this works, the better it is for your liver.
Strategy 11 - Reduce Plastic Use
Reducing our plastic use can be a huge step towards reducing our toxic load. BPA (Bisphenol A) is probably the most well known and studied plastic with most exposure coming from drinking out of plastic bottles. Not only is it a toxin but an endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC) meaning that our bodies can confuse them with hormones as they are molecularly similar. So try and use plastic containers or water bottles are BPA free or swop your plastic for glass containers, there is a good selection online.
Strategy 12 - Natural cleaning products and toiletries
This is an easy way to reduce your toxic load by replacing your usual products with chemical free alternatives. There is a good range of cleaning products in supermarkets to choose from and many organic makeup and skincare brands like Bareminerals. As you use up your normal products, gradually replace them with chemical free products and overtime your chemical load will reduce.
Strategy 13 - Choline
Choline is a B group vitamin which plays an important role in normal liver function. It supports the metabolism and breakdown of fats, transporting them to elsewhere in the body and therefore preventing a build up of fat in the liver. Sources of choline include egg yolks, meat, fish and poultry.
Strategy 14 - Citrus fruits
Citrus fruit aids the body by flushing out toxins, for example lemon juice supports the liver and kidneys in their cleansing processes.
Strategy 15 - Houseplants
These can help purify the air in your home, such a simple way of reducing your toxic load and making your house look nice at the same time.
Strategy 16 - Sauna
Infra red and conventional sauna increase body temperatures to induce sweating, promoting circulation and carrying toxins to the liver and kidneys for detoxification and elimination from the body.
Strategy 17 - Key nutrients
Vitamin C and E are powerful antioxidants which support the detoxification process. Antioxidants are also important to protect you from damage caused by toxins.
Vitamin C foods include: peppers, kale, kiwi, broccoli, berries, citrus fruits.
Vitamin E foods include: seeds, nuts, avocado, trout, salmon.
Strategy 18 - Cruciferous vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower, sprouts and cabbage support detoxification through glucosinolates which are particularly useful for detoxifying estrogen.
Strategy 19 - Green tea
Green tea contains polyphenols called catechins which support liver function so adding a few cups each day can help support your liver and also help increase hydration.
Strategy 20 - Exercise
Sweating increases body temperature which helps eliminate toxins from the body via the skin, lungs, kidneys and digestive system. Exercise also helps mobilise and breakdown of fats which supports the release of toxins.