Updated: Dec 6, 2019
In our modern world we are exposed to hundreds of chemicals every day without even realising it. Our bodies can contain up to 500 different toxins which can negatively impact our organs. This sinister toxicity can build up over time and begin to damage our skin, sap our energy, compromise our immune system, and cause issues to our mental well-being. It forces our body to work overtime to eliminate these poisons, but the good news is that there are several steps we can take to help support the process.
Before you try any detox program, you need to ensure that you are getting the recommended levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Many detox program create not just a calorie deficit, but also a nutritional one. I advise against this and suggest you build up your nutrients (through food and if need be supplements) before you consider a detox. Let's take a look at the essential vitamins (and supplements) which can help your body deal with the toxins we're exposed to daily:
Water Soluble B Vitamins
The B vitamins are vital to our overall health and wellness. This essential water soluble micro nutrient provides the building blocks of a healthy body, and has a direct impact on our energy levels, brain function, and cell metabolism. Vitamins B1, B3, and B5 transform your excess glucose into energy, which increase your vitality. Vitamins B6 and B12, strengthen blood cells which are important in fighting off toxins. These vitamins can be found in the following foods:
Plant sources like avocado, banana, beans, beetroot, citrus and other fruits, greens, nuts, seeds, as well as grains
Dairy products such as milk and cheese
Animal products such as eggs, meat, liver and kidney
Seafood like fish, shellfish, clams, and oyster
Yeast and nutritional yeast
A well-balanced diet should provide you with enough vitamin B for your overall health, however if you are plantbased or vegan, you may want to supplement. I am primarily plantbased and use these vitamin sachets to boost my B levels and avoid coffee in the afternoons. It is important to note that anyone, not just vegans, can become deficient if you are not absorbing the vitamin due to gut health issues or other health conditions. It is worth seeking a health practitioner's to properly assess your nutrient needs if you suspect deficiency or have other persistent health issues.
Water Soluble Vitamin C
Vitamin C is another water soluble, micro nutrient that cannot be produced by the body. We must get it from the foods we eat or from supplementation. Vitamin C plays many roles in your body and has been used intravenously to treat many health conditions. Low levels of vitamin C can contribute to feeling tired and depressed. Fortunately, there are many healthy foods which are high in this essential vitamin including citrus fruits, red peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli.
Vitamin C supplements are readily available but if you've incorporated a healthy eating plan to your lifestyle, you're probably getting enough of this vitamin. The recommended daily intake for vitamin C is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men (1). If you plan to do a detox, a simple tonic made from lemon water will provide you with the natural vitamin C you need in a day.
Fibre is mostly found in plant foods, including vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds (for more details, here is a list of 22 high-fiber foods). This is often a nutrient that gets overlooked when people go low carb and cut out all grains, bread and pasta. But it is vital to maintain good gut health, detox and maintain a healthy weight.
Dietary fibre is the cleaner nutrient. When consumed, it passes through the stomach for the most part undigested and attaches itself to toxins held in the body. The most frightening toxins are those which are fat-soluble because they are stored in your body's fat cells and are more difficult to flush out. However, fibre helps to flush them out of your system. I add a scoop of this fibre boost to my morning smoothies to increase my intake and stay regular.
Psyllium husk, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, and bran are other options. One of the best fibre sources is found in rice bran since it creates the strongest bond with fatty toxins. It's recommended to add two tablespoons of rice bran to each meal to make the digestion process a lot easier.
Sulforaphane is a natural plant compound found in many cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale. This supplement helps your liver create enzymes which make fatty toxins water soluble so they can then be easily flushed out of your body. Sources of sulforaphane are found in broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage. I eat plenty of these but also supplement with a green powder to ensure adequate intake. There are also several types of green teas which contain sulforaphane which make a good option when considering a detox. I love using green tea for a gentle one-day detox where I let my digestive system rest and just nourish with supplements and herbal teas. If you cannot take the caffeine associated with green tea, you may want to try this. I swear by it.
Animal or Plant Protein
Protein is a macro nutrient and an essential part of a healthy diet. It helps to build and repair muscle, organs, and bones. There are a variety of proteins to choose from that help the liver clear toxins from your body. You can get your daily protein intake from nuts, beans, tofu, and organic grass-fed meats. Protein also gives you a boost in energy and can be added to smoothies. I prefer to use a vegan protein powder like this one or hemp, and boost the protein content by adding in pumpkin and chia seeds and nut butters.
Diets which are particularly low in protein are often high in toxins. So if you are jumping the Keto band wagon, be real choosy when it comes to which protein (and fat) sources you consume.
Before you detox, make sure you are topped up with adequate nutrients to get the most out of your detox program.
The above list are not the only supplements which are beneficial in helping your body detox, but they are a good place to start. You should always ensure that you are getting enough vitamins and minerals as part of a healthy diet regardless of completing a detox or not. If that's not possible you may need to add them in the form of supplements.
Supporting your body's natural waste elimination process is more important than ever due to our ever more toxic environment and lifestyle. It will make a profound difference in your overall health and well-being.
Want to explore detoxing in more depth with a little support? Want to look and feel better by eating real food not shakes and restrictive diets? Let me help you sort it all out... book a FREE 15 minute Discovery session!