HuanPhoto/Shutterstock The holidays are a wonderful time of the year, but we often don’t feel so great after them, as we most likely overindulged, ate and drank too much, feel bloated, or even gained some weight during the season. But, eating certain foods after all of this indulgence can stimulate the colon to cleanse and detox.
A detox should not be filled with laxatives, a shake, or worse, starving yourself. While your body detoxes itself on its own, there are particular foods that are better than others that you can eat to get your digestive system back up and running smoothly to make you feel better inside and out. (Be sure to learn these 10 things about detoxes before you start one.)
Here are seven foods that will start the natural detox process in your body—and three you should definitely avoid for a natural cleanse.
Yogurt contains healthy bacteria and live probiotic cultures, which promote a healthy environment in the gut, helping it digest food and replenish the normal flora in the gastrointestinal tract. Since your gut is the first in line to defend the body from harmful toxins or bacteria, it's essential to keep it healthy so that the body can naturally detox. Take a cup every morning with a teaspoon of honey. Here are some other foods that promote good gut health to incorporate into your cleanse.
Lean proteins such as chicken and fish
Protein is super important for preserving muscle mass, as it supports cell growth and repair. Lean proteins are low in fat, lower in calories, and are much easier to digest than a fatty steak. Incorporate at least one serving a day—here are some tricks for sneaking more protein into your meals.
HandmadePictures/Shutterstock Whole grains, such as brown rice and quinoa, contain fiber. Fiber has little impact on blood sugar, helps you feel fuller longer, and detoxes the bowel. It travels through the intestines without breaking apart, which facilitates faster elimination of stool and toxins from your body. Try to incorporate a whole grain with every meal.
Green tea contains rich antioxidants, naturally flushing your system (as well providing these other amazing health benefits, too). The tea also helps aid digestive functions in the body, one of which is treating constipation. Drink up… as much as you want!
Goskova Tatiana/Shutterstock Most people don’t eat enough greens on a daily basis, but leafy, dark greens are full of vitamins and minerals, including iron, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, and vitamins B, K, E, and C. These particular nutrients, as well as the chlorophyll contained in these veggies, play a role in the detox process. Some examples of leafy greens are watercress, spinach, kale, bok choy, and cabbage. There's no limit on your intake of these cruciferous veggies—make them a part of at least two meals a day.
Even though they are acidic, lemons are one of the most alkalizing foods once they are metabolized in your system. They contain ascorbic acid, which assists in the natural cleansing process. The enzyme functions of lemons also stimulate the liver and flush out toxins. Start the day off with a large cup of hot water with two or three slices of lemon—you won't believe the incredible health benefits you'll glean just from drinking lemon water in the morning.
DUSAN ZIDAR/Shutterstock Garlic is highly beneficial for detoxing the body. It contains high levels of vitamin C, which support the liver and helps boost the body’s immune system—here are some other foods that naturally boost your immune system. It also protects the body by removing harmful free radicals from the bloodstream.
Alcohol is so taxing on the liver, which is the organ that works so hard to naturally detox the body. Your liver function will improve, you'll have more energy, and feel better overall from cutting back (or omitting) alcohol from your diet. Need help cutting back? Check out these tips for drinking less.
Evgeny Karandaev/Shutterstock Sugar doesn’t allow the body to produce the particular enzymes needed to detox the body naturally. It also spikes insulin and inflammation, encouraging the body to store fat, especially in your belly, and does not make you feel full. Steering clear of sugar will encourage more steady blood sugar levels, helping to reduce overeating and cravings. Here are some helpful tips for cutting sugar from your diet.