Regardless of whether you are a vegetarian or a confirmed meat-eater, the typical Western diet will unfortunately expose your body to more toxins in the form of flavour enhancers, food colourings, pesticides and preservatives, than it can either handle or remove. This can make you feel under the weather and trigger a range of unpleasant symptoms such as headaches, migraines, lethargy, skin conditions, allergies and menstrual pain. Eventually it may even lead to a variety of modern illnesses including obesity, arthritis, depression, heart disease and cancer.
Which is perhaps why more and more of us are learning how to periodically cleanse and detoxify our body with the aid of the detox diet.
What is the detox diet?
The detox diet involves eating a selection of (super) foods that encourage the removal of harmful chemicals, metabolic waste and other toxins from your blood, tissue, organs and fat cells. This prevents them from being stored in your liver where they can build up and cause the type of imbalance that leads to disease. The detox diet effectively gives your digestive system a rest, whilst simultaneously providing those nutrients that specifically support and accelerate your body’s own natural cleansing process including vitamins, enzymes, minerals, antioxidants (which neutralise damage caused by toxins), complex carbohydrates, chlorophyll (the green pigment in plants, which can help detox the liver, clean the digestive tract and aid in the elimination of toxins), proteins and fibre (which effectively give your intestines a totally clean sweep).
Traditionally promoted by naturopaths and alternative healers, the detox diet is becoming increasingly mainstream and many of its benefits are now widely acknowledged by Western physicians too. After a period of detox, you’re likely to feel completely reborn and enjoy a visibly healthier complexion and increased levels of energy. And, in addition to playing a major role in weight loss, research has recently suggested that regular detox may increase your life expectancy by some 20 to 30 per cent.
The top 3 most cleansing superfoods for your detox diet
Below are three of the most cleansing superfoods that will give your body a well-deserved spring clean.
Detox diet essentials No.1 – wheatgrass powder
Wheatgrass powder is made from the juice of freshly squeezed organic wheat grass and boasts a variety of valuable nutrients including vitamins, minerals, fibre, amino acids, enzymes and protein, which strengthen your immune system, aid with digestion, encourage weight loss and promote radiant, wrinkle-free skin. As wheatgrass consists of around 70 per cent chlorophyll (and, according to Illinois State University professor, Kent Seymour, is one of the best ways to obtain living chlorophyll) it is incredibly alkaline and can help your body maintain a healthy pH balance, purify your blood and expel damaging toxins. As such wheatgrass powder makes a perfect addition to the detox diet and can be readily enjoyed by mixing into your favourite smoothies, shakes and juices.
Detox diet essentials No.2 – spirulina powder
Spirulina powder is prepared from blue-green, unicellular, freshwater algae, which are crammed with beneficial nutrients including fibre, protein, vitamins, essential minerals, essential fatty acids, nucleic acids, polysaccharides and antioxidants. These powerful ingredients help combat free radicals, prevent your cells from aging, boost your immune system and even help you shed a few pounds to boot. Yet it is the incredibly high chlorophyll content and iron bioavailability of spirulina powder that both facilitates and speeds up detox. Try including spirulina powder in your detox diet by stirring into smoothies, shakes, desserts and raw food snacks of your choice.
Detox diet essentials No.3 – aloe vera juice
Aloe vera juice is a mildly laxative extract obtained from an ancient species of plant that has been used as a traditional medicine for thousands of years. Today it is commonly used in the manufacture of cosmetics, thanks largely to its wonderfully rejuvenating, healing and soothing properties. Aloe vera juice also contains a number of ingredients that help neutralise toxins, cleanse the colon and actively stimulate cell regeneration, making it an indispensible item on your detox diet shopping list.
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