No-Dread Detox Strategies

If the term “detoxification” has you conjuring disturbing images of unpalatable concoctions or unsatisfying liquid diets, think again. Nature is literally bursting at the seams with detoxifiers, the problem is that many of us are so attuned to hearing about the latest “detox” craze that we don’t even consider the fact that a healthy diet can do just as much to rid us of our toxic burden. Here are some great options that can be found in our everyday diets.

Be prepared to feel healthy, energized and alert just by incorporating some of these potent detoxifiers into your regular diet regime. Of course, detoxification doesn’t start with our diets. Our bodies are naturally equipped with many detoxification mechanisms which operate on a continual basis to protect us against harmful toxins that can accumulate and cause inflammation and disease. However, in our day-to-day life, we are all exposed to a wide variety of damaging toxins (from our air, water, foods, products we use) that can overwork the body’s natural defense mechanisms. We can do the best we can to protect ourselves - by doing small things like using non-toxic products and drinking filtered water – but the reality is that we are bombarded with toxins from so many angles that our bodies are in a constant state of battle. This is where detoxifying foods come into the picture. We can boost our toxin defenses with these super detoxifiers and enjoy some great meals in the process.

Gluthathione is an antioxidant compound in the body that helps to eliminate disease-causing free radicals. As we age, tissue glutathione levels decrease and so does our ability to control damage caused by reactive oxygen species. Glutathione is also found in various foods such as avocado, watermelon, asparagus and walnuts (sounds like a delicious salad, right?) Interestingly, studies have shown that lower calorie diets (compared with typical North American calorie-laden diets) can increase longevity and contribute to sustained health because it helps to maintain glutathione in the tissues during aging. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been widely studied for its anti-inflammatory effects and acts as a powerful antioxidant scavenging free radicals and protecting DNA from oxidative damage. Green tea is another natural antioxidant as it contains catechins that are polyphenols that can activate detoxification enzymes in the liver and has been shown to protect against cancer. Probiotic bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, which can be found in probiotic yogurt or supplements, can help to replenish intestinal bacteria with beneficial bacterial species, thereby restoring the normal intestinal bacterial balance that is disrupted by toxins passing through the digestive system.

Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli are also potent detoxifiers due to their ability to stimulate antioxidant and detoxification (ie. phase 2) enzymes in the body. This superfood group of vegetables are high in sulfur (as are onions and garlic… also potent detoxifiers), a mineral that is also associated with detoxifying effects. This one may come as a surprise, but omega-3s certainly have a place in the realm of natural detoxification. Their anti-inflammatory benefits support immune function, which in turn help the body to eliminate as well as help the body repair damage from toxins. Toxins trapped in joints causes inflammation, thus clearing out accumulated toxins is an essential strategy in relieving joint aches. The immune-boosting (and resulting detoxifying) effect of omega-3s contributes to their effectiveness in relieving aches and inflammation due to arthritic conditions such as joint aches. SierraSil®, a patented, proprietary mineral complex, is another powerful natural detoxifier with benefits in relievingjoint aches. Its ability to bind accumulated toxins stems from its charged structure, which attracts positively charged toxins into its negatively charged inner layers, allowing for their safe elimination from the body. It can be found at

It is important to keep in mind that your diet is intricately related to your ability to fend off the damaging effects of toxins. Diets rich in fibre and antioxidans help to eliminate waste and toxins from your system. When combined with a diet free of processed, high salt and high fat- containing foods, plenty of water and regular exercise, these detoxification strategies go a long way to help the body abolish harmful toxins in a healthy and natural manner, all without the struggle of traditional detox regimes.

References: Ahmad, N., Mukhtar, H. Green tea polyphenols and cancer: biologic mechanism and practical implications. Nutrition Reviews. 1999; 57(3): 78-83. The Natural way to detox…and why you should. Available at: Duvoix, A., Blasius, R., Delhalle, S., Schnekenburger, M., Morceau, F., Henry, E., Dicato, M., Diederich, M. Chemopreventive and therapeutic effects of curcumin. Cancer Letters. 2005; 223(2): 181-190. Higdon, J.V., Delage, B., Williams, D.E., Dashwood, R.H. Cruciferous vegetables and human cancer risk: epidemiologic evidence and mechanistic basis. 2007; 55(3):224-236. Jeffery, E. Detoxification Basics. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. Available at: Jeffery, E. Diet and Detoxification Enzymes. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. Available at:: Pastore, A., Federici, G., Bertini, E., Piemonte, F. Analysis of glutathione: implication in redox and detoxification. Clinica Chimica Acta. 2003; 333(1): 19-39. Salminen, S. Nyborn, S., Meriluto, J., Collado, M.C., Vasterlund, S., El-Nezami, H. Interaction of probiotics and pathogens-benefits to human health? Food Biotechnology. 2010; 21(2): 157-167. Wollowski, I., Rechkemmer, G., Pool-Zabel, B.L. Protective role of probiotics and prebiotics in colon cancer. American Society for Clinical Nutrition. 2001; 73: 451-455.