Top Foods for Summer Detox

Published: July 29, 2014 | By Better Health Publishing

Summer is supposed to be a time for fun: warm weather, vacations, barbecues, pool parties — but there are also risks to consider. Hot, stagnant air can boost air pollution, pollen and environmental toxin concentrations. Non-organic crops are sprayed most heavily in the summer with health robbing pesticides and fertilizers. Accumulated toxins combined with the heat can make us feel exhausted, bloated and inflamed.

To make matters worse, summer’s extra social activity can wreak havoc on our diets. Sometimes it’s hard to find healthy food on vacation or at the neighborhood barbecue. But here’s where a little extra diligence can really pay off. There are a variety of foods that have been found to help the body eliminate some pretty ghastly toxins. Diet, combined with exercise, mindfulness and thoughtful supplementation, can help cleanse, cool and energize our bodies.

The latest on broccoli

We’ve known since childhood that broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, kale and cauliflower are good for us. Now they’ve been shown to help modulate hormone balance, support detoxification and fight cancer. However, only recently have we discovered just how powerful broccoli can be.

A recent study conducted by Johns Hopkins researchers in China, home to some of the most polluted cities on Earth, found that a beverage made from broccoli sprouts helps the body detoxify a number of airborne pollutants, particularly benzene. Half a cup daily enhances excretion of benzene, acrolein and other toxins.

The beauty of these findings is that a simple dietary change can produce significant results. And while this statement might remind you of your mother’s advice to eat more vegetables, I strongly suggest: Eat your broccoli. Even better: Buy organic broccoli seeds and sprout them at home for some seriously powerful benefits.

Beyond broccoli

If you’re not a broccoli fan, try a broccoli sprout supplement, available online or at health food retailers. In addition, there’s a lot of delicious whole food that also supports our body’s natural detoxification mechanisms. Here’s a short list:

  • Apples: Contain lots of fiber and nutrients. They are particularly rich in flavonoids such as quercetin and phlorizin that support liver function. Apples also contain pectin, which supports strong digestion.
  • Artichokes: Support liver, gallbladder and kidney function, helping the body eliminate toxins.
  • Beets: High in fiber and also rich vitamins and key minerals, such as calcium, magnesium and zinc. They are also good for both liver and gallbladder. Beets help the body produce glutathione, our most powerful antioxidant detoxifier.
  • Flax seeds: Primarily known for being high in fiber, but also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are excellent at reducing inflammation, boosting circulation and supporting the detox process.
  • Garlic: Well-known for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. Garlic contains allicin, a sulphur compound that helps the body eliminate toxins. Helps eliminate pathogens that are also part of our toxic load.
  • Turmeric: Has been an important component in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. Often used for liver ailments and to support digestion and cleansing.
  • Sea vegetables: In addition to being rich in antioxidants and minerals, also do a good job removing heavy metals and radioactive isotopes.

Detox supplements

As noted above, apples contain pectin, which benefits digestion. However, pectin molecules are quite large, which keeps them in the gut, limiting their total-body benefits. Modified citrus pectin (MCP) is a unique pectin preparation that has smaller molecules, so they’re more easily absorbed into the circulation and more bioavailable.

MCP brings a lot to the table. Published clinical research shows it gently chelates heavy metals, such as lead, cadmium and mercury, helping the body to safely eliminate them. Equally important, it binds to an inflammatory protein called galectin-3, which is implicated in cardiovascular disease, cancer and other conditions related to chronic inflammation and fibrosis.

I also recommend alginates. These are found in brown kelp and are particularly good at removing radioactive iodine, as well as heavy metals and pesticides from the digestive tract.

Detox, immunity and beyond

One underappreciated aspect of detoxification is enhanced immunity. In addition to eliminating heavy metals, pesticides and other chemicals, we also want to reduce our pathogen load by boosting our immune systems. One of the best ways to support immunity is with medicinal mushrooms. These special fungi do more than increase immune power — they actually optimize it. That ensures the system does not over or under respond to threats.

Mushrooms are also known for their abilities to absorb toxins and heal damaged areas of the body. I particularly recommend a botanically enhanced mushroom formula, which includes a variety of medicinal mushrooms grown on a powdered blend of immune-boosting botanicals.

The abundance of produce available this time of year provides the easiest, safest and most effective way to boost overall health, detoxify the body and support long-term wellness. The foods mentioned here represent a mere sample of the delicious health benefits that can be had when we choose whole foods and food-based supplements to take our vitality to the next level.

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