Spring is almost here and most, if not all of us, are ready for more color in our lives. What better way than through nutrition.
Start by eating nutrient-rich foods or food that per calorie has a dense nutritional quality. The better the nutritional value, the better the body will function. A diet with plenty of vitamins and minerals, whether from food or supplements will help to protect the body from toxins. Specifically antioxidants, or those substances that help to interact and stop oxidation or oxidative stress, a chemical reaction in the body that weakens the body’s defenses against the toxic effects of Free Radicals, or highly reactive molecules.
The most important vitamins to this are vitamins E and C. Vitamin C increases the level of Cytochrome P450 (enzymes that metabolize toxic compounds), and destruction of fat cells or lipid peroxidation. It will also detox metals like lead and mercury, carbon monoxide, prevents damage by pollutants, anesthetics and medications. It will cleanse the body of the effects of radiation and help to prevent and treat cancer and protect the lung cells against formaldehyde and acetaldehyde from tobacco smoke. Foods rich in vitamin C are; asparagus, beet, dandelion, turnip greens, berries, black currants, broccoli, cantaloupe, citrus fruits, collard, kale, mangos, papayas, pineapple, potatoes, rosehips, spinach, sprouts, sweet peppers and tomatoes. Fat soluble vitamin E is the most important antioxidant in the body. Besides supporting vitamin C in the detox process, as it is incorporated in the cell membrane, can also protect all the body’s cells from damage. Foods rich in vitamin E are; green, leafy vegetables, whole grains, milk fat, butter, margarine, vegetable oils, egg yolks, liver and nuts.
All vitamins and minerals have unique roles that help to maintain the health of the body and therefore work to detoxify where necessary. Nutrients that support our detox hub, or liver, are vitamin B complex (vitamins B1, B2, B6 and B12), vitamin E, zinc, L. carnitine, Coenzyme Q10, L-cysteine, essential fatty acids, glutathione, lecithin, amino acids L-lysine, L-methionine, taurine, superoxide dismutase (SOD), and phosphatidyl-choline.
Fasting or taking a period of time to break from eating is designed to rid the body of toxins. Animals instinctively do this when they are sick or injured. It can be extremely dangerous not to eat or drink at all and most fasts recommend drinking water or herbal drinks or fruit or vegetable juices. Without the task of digesting fats, proteins and simple carbohydrates, fasting can rest, rejuvenate and cleanse the digestive tract and organs of metabolic wastes and toxins. Resting or sleeping is also a time when the body has time to rejuvenate and detoxify.
Try getting into the habit of making a green drink every day to get your daily dose of minerals and vitamins. Blend together in a Vitamix or food processor.
Yummy Green Drink
1 large handful spinach
1 large handful sunflower sprouts
1 small handful buckwheat sprouts
1 small handful clover sprouts
2 celery stalks
1 small handful of parsley
1/2 lemon with peel
1 large handful spinach
Foods especially good at assisting with detoxification are:
- Salads and green leafy vegs are some of the best foods, they help to remove wastes, reduce acids in the body, alkalize the body and control obesity by reducing excess body fat. Chlorophyll found in salads and green leafy vegs may help cleanse and purify the blood and boost the immune system too.
- Lemon juice detoxifies and cleanses the digestive tract and balances pH. Cilantro can detoxify and reduce mercury levels, prunes help cleanse and detoxify the digestive system and help prevent constipation. Grains, high in fiber, cleanse the digestive tract. Fibers such as beta glucan, found in oats and barley, help eliminate excess cholesterol. You will start to feel cleaner and lighter, more mentally clear and have more energy.
These are just a few gentle introductory suggestions. You can introduce juices and salads, which are very quick to make, alongside your regular dietary plan and gradually replace some of your old, not so healthy habits (if you have any!) with the healthier options here.
Make it a colorful Spring!