Don’t Detox, Just Reboot!
This spring if you think your body and diet need a little spring cleaning, don’t think detox, think nutrition reboot! According to available research, there is not one food or herb that is able to detox our organs. Our bodies are designed to detoxify themselves. Our detoxification organs are the kidneys, liver and skin and if they are healthy and functioning normally then you are detoxifying naturally every single day. It is important to keep these organs healthy and one of the best ways is to nourish them with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are nutrient dense foods high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals that help your body function at it’s best. So instead of taking expensive cleanses and detox products not supported by clinical evidence, do a nutrition reboot! Here’s how:
Step One: Eat antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods. Free radicals can cause inflammation and oxidative damage to your cells which can lead to chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and some types of cancer. Antioxidants and phytonutrients from fruits and vegetables can help neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidative damage caused by toxins and environmental factors. Fish oils, olive oil and avocado oils have anti-inflammatory properties.
Action Step: Make a salad with a variety of greens, avocado, tomatoes, asparagus and grilled salmon. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.
Step Two: Eat the rainbow. Eat a variety of vegetables and fruit from each colour of the rainbow. Their colour is due to the phytonutrients in the plant and each have powerful health benefits. Aim to eat the rainbow within the week.
Action Step: Select at least one fruit or vegetable from each of the colour groups below and add it to your grocery list. Fruit salads and roasted root vegetables are easy ways to incorporate a variety of colours in one dish.
Red: red peppers, strawberries. Raspberries, cherries, tomatoes
Orange: carrots, yams, papaya, orange peppers and oranges
Yellow: Yellow squash, lemon, yellow peppers, bananas, corn
Green: Broccoli, kale, spinach, avocado, asparagus, kiwi
Blue/purple: beets, purple cabbage, purple potatoes, blueberries, blackberries, grapes, egg plant
White/brown: parsnips, cauliflower, potatoes, mushrooms, jicama
Step Three: Create a plant habit. Identify a meal or snack time that often sabotages your efforts to eat well and replace it with a new habit. If you often skip breakfast and grab a sugary coffee and pastry instead, replace it with a smoothie. Smoothies are quick, easy and delicious ways to get 3-4 servings of fruit and vegetables in addition to a few extra antioxidant and anti-inflammatory foods such as chia and turmeric. Use frozen and canned fruits and vegetables for convenience. Research shows they are just as nutritious as fresh because they are picked and packaged when the fruit is at their peak ripeness and freshness.
Action Step: Make a smoothie 3-4 mornings a week. Just add 1 cup frozen berries (strawberries), ½ cup greens (spinach), ½ cup root vegetables (carrots) and 1 sweet fruit such as mango, banana or canned fruit (canned peaches). Add 1 scoop protein powder or ½ cup Greek yogurt and toss in 1 tbsp chia or hemp hearts, 1 tsp of turmeric, a dash of black pepper, some water and blend. Take leftovers to go for an afternoon snack.
Getting 8-9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day is the perfect way to provide your body with the nutrients and antioxidants it needs to keep your detoxification organs healthy and working at peak performance. Drinking plenty of water and reducing alcohol intake will also help your organs work better.