Help out your liver eliminate harmful substances by eating these six detox foods daily. No need for a week of juicing.
Superman can fly and is very pretty.
Batman has no real talent, but a lot of money.
Spiderman survived a spider bite.
Obviously, really talented “people”.
But, let’s talk about food, because it’s more exciting.
These foods right here, have real superpowers.
Because they can, (oh, yes they can), detox your body and perhaps more importantly – prevent cancer.
Well, at least they support your liver at this task. Which is great when you’ve been living like there’s no tomorrow for a while and need a little clean up.
The whole detox insanity
When you hear the word detox, you probably picture a week full of juices and NADA else.
But detoxification is actually the ability of your body to get rid of harmful substances.
And let’s be honest, the body can do this pretty well on its own.
Yeah, thanks for juicing for a week, but I’m actually the one doing the real work here and I need some food to do that.
– your liver
Holy crap, it’s a talking liver.
That’s right, as Mr. Liver said it – no need to drink juices only and think that a slice of pizza will poison your whole body & soul. If you’ve got a healthy liver – you’re pretty much covered.
That being said if you overload your body with the bad stuff (unhealthy food, smoking, drinking, medication, environmental toxins) then your liver might not be able to get rid of ALL those toxins so well.
And this is where these amazing foods come to shine bright like super expensive diamonds.
What’s your secret, detox foods?
They detox, are healthy, fresh and clean…how do these foods do it? What’s their secret?
While they don’t actually detox your body themselves, these foods contain chemicals that induce enzymes in the liver, called phase II enzymes.
It’s those enzymes inside your body that then help clean up chemical carcinogens and xenobiotics. The liver enzymes do this by transforming the harmful chemicals into less harmful and easier to remove chemical structures. By doing so, these liver enzymes get rid of toxins, but also prevent cancer.
Which just proves – your body’s pretty awesome. Because without these enzymes, foods are kinda useless in this.
Nevertheless, combine a liver and these detox foods below and you can produce more of these liver enzymes to keep your body healthy, even if you live in the same world as all of us – a not so “organic” place.
Now let’s take a look who these detox foods actually are and how to best prepare them, so we make the most out of their detox abilities.
Believe it or not, arugula is related to cabbage and broccoli (yeah, I was shocked as well). Similar to those superfoods, arugula contains a chemical that can activate the liver detox enzymes.
The miracle chemical in arugula is called Erucin. Sounds like the name of a Greek god, is found also in kohlrabi and Chinese cabbage and prevents different types of cancer in multiple ways (article).
Arugula is best eaten fresh on top of pasta, sandwiches, other dishes or in salads like this one.
2. Brussels Sprouts
Not one of my favorite foods, but Brussels sprouts are definitely a detox food. I mean, why else would you eat those little suckers? Because of their taste? Let’s be real.
(Although I did like them in my Quinoa and Brussels sprouts recipe.)
So they’re not that horrible, but the fact that Brussels sprouts activate my phase II enzymes just makes me feel better.
And luckily – we don’t need to eat them while they’re bitter and raw to get the benefits. This research showed you can cook your Brussels Sprouts and eat them too (people say this about cake, but what they really mean is Brussels sprouts). So even though they’re cooked, Brussels sprouts can still activate phase II liver enzymes and help you get rid of carcinogens.
Lately, I’ve been obsessed with radishes. They’re just such an easy and calorie-less snack. And let me tell you the fact that they too can help my liver do its detox thing better, is more motivating than anything.
Radishes contain glucosinolate that can be broken to isothiocyanate and induce the phase II enzymes in the liver. (Here’s a study comparing the anti-cancer potential of broccoli vs radish sprouts).
All this means is that yes, radishes, while super simple and often overlooked vegetable, do have a huge anti-cancer potential.
And while I can’t really eat broccoli or Brussels sprouts raw, there’s no other way I would ever eat radishes.
Make radishes a part of your diet and add them to salads, on the side or just as a very healthy crunchy snack while you’re watching TV.
What’s a healthy food list without garlic? Well it’s not a healthy food list. Garlic is one of those individuals who can just do it all. And I’m not even jealous when I say that. I admire garlic. I love and and adore garlic. Besides being antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral, my friend garlic has another magic trick up his stinky sleeve.
Yes, it also has the power to induce detox liver enzymes and this is just one of the many ways garlic can prevent cancer (a paper about garlic here).
To make the most out of garlic’s health benefits it’s good to eat garlic raw. I know, I know – you’ll stink. But the good thing about garlic is – you need just a little bit daily. And if you don’t want to eat garlic – onion is garlic’s brother from another father and it has similar health benefits.
Another healthy food that is everywhere now is turmeric. Whoever I talk to lately tells me about how they put a spoonful of turmeric in their morning smoothies. For a good reason.
Similar to garlic, turmeric is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and shown to prevent cancer. Activating detox liver enzymes might be just one of the ways turmeric is able to do all this (source).
When it comes to using turmeric – I love to make sandwich salads with it or to add it to soups like this one as well as other dishes. You can of course add turmeric to smoothies – if there’s a recipe you’d like to try – go for it.
It’s absolutely no secret that broccoli can detox your body and prevent cancer. Everybody’s got a detox soup or a salad. (Guilty of this… lentil + broccoli soup).
But with the health benefits of broccoli, preparation is key. Do not fry broccoli. When cooking broccoli, just chop broccoli really tiny and then let that chopped broccoli, wait for it…well, wait for it. Make broccoli wonder when it’s gonna get in that dish. “Hey broc, yeah I’m gonna put you now into the dish. Just kidding, you’re not going anywhere.” And then when broccoli least expects it and is about to kill itself because it feels useless: Bam. Put that broccoli in your dish and let it help out your liver. That’s the strategy.
Bottom line: add broccoli in the end of cooking.
Okay, so that is it: Six detox foods to eat daily to stay healthy and feel great even if you don’t juice for days.
As common sense would suggest: You don’t need to only eat these foods, good health is in the mixture. A little bit of garlic, a little bit of basil, a little bit of arugula and you’ve got yourself a healthy and delicious meal even if you add all this to a whole grain pasta.
I hope you include these foods more often in your diet and that you enjoyed this post. If you did make sure to subscribe via email, so I can send you updates, healthy recipes and healthy tips!