Using Food for Detoxification
Functional Medicine is famous for using Food as Medicine and it is one of my favorite aspects of the Functional Medical model. I have seen time and time again that when patients shift their diets to incorporate nourishing, nutrient dense foods that a wide range of diseases and symptoms improve. Using food for detoxification is an integral piece of the puzzle in all of the phases of detox. Last month, I wrote a blog post about Eating the Rainbow that discussed the many important aspects of different food color groups including detoxification (Read more here). You will find below several foods and food families that assist in various steps in detoxification:
- Green foods aka Phytochelators like Chlorella, Green Tea, Broccoli, Kale, Brussels Sprouts, Watercress, chlorophyll and many more help to induce phase II detoxification by enhancing glutathione production.
- Red foods like pomegranate, strawberry and red raspberry contain a compound called Ellagic acid which has a whole host of benefits including anti-cancer and cardiovascular benefits. They also assist in phase I detoxification in the liver by decreasing certain enzymes and also work in phase II of detoxification by enhancing glutathione production. Beet root juice works similarly in decreasing certain phase I enzymes and increasing phase II detoxification.
- Fiber, in its different varieties, helps to bind to different types of toxins to get them out of the body. For example modified citrus pectin binds to arsenic, lead, and cadmium and wheat bran can bind to heavy metals.
- Omega 3 fatty acids (fatty fish and fish oil) have anti-inflammatory effects which help to modulate toxic insults and exposures.
- Herbal compounds, specifically milk thistle (or silymarin) are really beneficial in the detoxification process. Milk thistle helps with cellular regeneration of the liver.
Easy Strategies to Use Food for Detoxification:
- Start the morning with phytochemicals (tea, smoothie, plant infused water)
- Eat a nourishing, colorful lunch (salads are great midday because they won’t make you crash! Just make sure you have enough protein)
- Have a warm, hearty dinner full of spices and flavors
Snapshot of Phytonutrients for Detox:
- Cruciferous vegetables
- Curry (turmeric) containing dishes
- Garlic, onion and beets
- Carotenoid containing vegetables and fruits (orange/yellow pigmented)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Green Tea
- Juices: Pomegranate, beet root, carrot, tomato, green leafy vegetable
Food is Medicine and taking a Food First approach to Detoxification can be really powerful. If you are looking for a provider to work with, Alison at Wild Rice Wellness is taking new patients. Schedule a free 15 minute consultation below!