Dial back protein
“Of the four seasons, spring is the time when your body does well with a lower amount of protein,” says Dr. Axe. He advises cutting back on fatty cuts of meat and focusing instead on meals that are three-parts vegetables to one-part meat, poultry, or seafood. Go for traditional Chinese dishes like veggie-heavy stir-fries and Mediterranean grain and vegetable dishes—they’re good, lighter detox foods to aid in your spring cleanse, he says. Look out for the 8 most dangerous detoxes that could send you to the hospital.
Seaweed, the new kale
One of the most nutrient-dense vegetables you can eat, seaweed is high in antioxidants and boasts an array of phytochemicals like polyphenols and fucoxanthin. Seaweeds like dulse, wakame, nori, and kombu are an ancient food source for sea-dwelling communities; they also happen to be popular in traditional Chinese medicine for treating everything from urinary tract infections to tumors. Recently, studies on Asian women found low breast cancer incidence in women who ate lots of seaweed. “When you look at Asia and Japan, they have the longest life expectancy in the world and they have a diet rich in seaweed,” says Dr. Axe. (He suggests you avoid hijiki, common in Japanese cuisine, as it can contain arsenic and higher levels of mercury depending on its source). Seaweed’s potent nutrients can help detox your blood and kidneys and have diuretic properties to help you shed excess water while boosting your immunity.
If there was such a thing as a magic plant, it would be turmeric. Used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years to treat an array of diseases—including liver and digestive disorders—turmeric helps detoxify the liver by increasing bile production in the gallbladder; the liver then uses the bile to eliminate toxins and digest fats, says Dr. Axe. A substance in turmeric called curcumin happens to be a polyphenol, a potent anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial agent. A recent study that surveyed clinical trials dating back 50 years affirmed the potential therapeutic effects of ingesting curcumin to treat a wide variety of conditions: irritable bowl disease, cancers, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, heavy metal poisoning, and liver diseases—among many others. You can get a daily dose by adding a half teaspoon (or to taste) of turmeric to a morning smoothie, or try tossing cauliflower in olive oil and a little turmeric before roasting and serve it with Greek yogurt. Here are 20 healthy ways to detox without juicing.