On a recent radio show on the Voice of Vashon, Claire Denise and I discussed detoxification.  The amount of toxicity present in our environment today is unfortunate as it is causing various health problems.

Did you know that there is a direct correlation with the increase in incidence of Type 2 Diabetes and the introduction of synthetic organic chemicals into the environment?   Or that a collection of symptoms with no diagnosis may be the result of toxicity?

While it’s best to avoid toxins in the first place, it’s not always possible.  What can you do to help your body detoxify?   There are certain foods that are especially helpful.

But first, let’s understand the process of detoxification.

Detoxification happens in the liver.  It’s the process of transforming toxic molecules into other forms so that they can be more easily removed by the body.  The two types of reactions that take place in the liver are called Phase I and Phase II reactions.  Phase I reactions can transform the toxins into more damaging molecules.  Fortunately Phase II reactions take over and neutralize the toxins produced by Phase I reactions.

The amazing thing is that we can use food to help promote Phase I and Phase II reactions as well as remove the toxins from the body.

What kinds of foods can help detoxify your body?

Eggs:  Eggs contain cysteine, useful for making glutathione, a major detoxifying molecule.  Eggs also contain choline which is helpful for Phase II reactions.

Beans and lentils:  These contain a lot of fiber to bind and remove toxins from the digestive tract.  They also contain sulfur, which is useful for making glutathione, a major detoxifying molecule.

Sunflower/sesame seeds:  Also contain cysteine, helpful for making glutathione.

Small fish such as sardines and anchovies:  Contain cysteine, methionine, taurine for Phase II reactions.

Brassicas such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, kohlrabi:  Support both Phase I and II  reactions.

Turmeric:  Supports Phase II reactions.

Apple:  Contain pectin which binds to toxins in the digestive tract.

Artichoke:  Increases removal of bile from the liver to place the toxins in the digestive tract for excretion.

Avocado and walnuts:  High in glutathione, a major detoxifying molecule.

Citrus:  Supports Phase I reactions.  But not grapefruit, as it inhibits Phase I reactions.  This is why grapefruit can be contraindicated with certain medications.  It allows those medications to build up in your body.

Certain dairy foods:  Swiss cheese, yogurt, feta cheese.  These support Phase II reactions.

Caraway and Dill seeds:  Support Phase I reactions.

I encourage you to enjoy these amazing foods to help your body detoxify.  Please note that this is not a comprehensive list.  There are certainly other healthy foods that help you detoxify!

Stay tuned for more blog posts about detoxification!