15 Detox Foods That Work Even Better Than Apple Cider Vinegar
Move over, apple cider vinegar. These tasty foods can help support your immune, digestive and lymphatic systems to naturally detox your body.
Not that you need a reason to eat delicious tacos but one of the classic toppings can help you detox. “Cilantro is very cleansing for the system as it binds to heavy metal toxins and helps expel them from the body,” Dr. Lipman says. If you’re not a fan of tacos, try sprinkling the greens on chili, scrambling them with eggs, or adding them to a salad. Are you a sucker for sweets? Check out these eight ways to detox from your sugar addiction.
Eating yellow foods can be a great way to support your body in getting rid of toxins. Enter turmeric. This mellow yellow spice, popular in Thai and Indian cuisines, is chock full of antioxidants, reducing inflammation in the body and supporting healthy digestion, making it a powerful detoxing agent, Dr. Dean says. One trendy way to get your daily dose is by making “golden milk,” sometimes called a “Thai latte.” Start with coconut milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk), add a sprinkle each of turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, pepper, top with a dollop of honey, and heat through.
Add detoxing to the long list of health benefits from coconut oil! (At this point, we should be asking what can’t coconut do, frankly.) The key is the caprylic acid in coconut oil, Lipman says. “It has antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties,” he explains. “It fights inflammation and is very beneficial for combating yeast/fungal overgrowth in the intestines.” The options for getting your daily dose are nearly endless: Use it to stir fry veggies, spread coconut butter on baked goods, drizzle on salads, mix unsweetened coconut chips into granola, or whip up a tasty dessert. But don’t go overboard with it as a little goes a long way just one of the things nutritionists want you to know about coconut oil.
Your lymphatic system is a network of vessels and glands throughout your body and its entire job is to help remove waste. Give yours a boost by getting a daily serving of fish oils, Dr. Dean says. “The lymphatic system can get clogged as we age, and omega-3 fatty acids, like the kind found in fish, keep this system clear and functioning properly, which in turn helps keep your immune system strong,” she explains. Psst…have you heard of the only cleanse nutritionists want you try?
What’s more summer than a fresh, juicy slice of watermelon? We have good news: Not only are you treating your taste buds to the sweet summer melon but you’re also helping your body detox. “Watermelon fights inflammation and helps hydrate the system,” Dr. Lipman says. “Additionally it helps fight free radicals and therefore reduce toxins in the system.”
Smoothies are a tasty, convenient way to eat many plants you might not otherwise enjoy on their own and it turns out that the base of nearly every smoothie—plain yogurt—may have detoxifying properties. Probiotic foods, including yogurt and fermented vegetables, may provide a small protective effect from environmental toxins, according to a study published in mBio. Make sure you’re also avoiding these five toxic chemicals that can clog your arteries.
Magnesium, especially when combined with zinc, is the perfect one-two detox combo, according to Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, a naturopath, doctor, author, and medical advisory board member for the Nutritional Magnesium Association. “Magnesium stimulates cell activity so that toxins are released into the bloodstream while zinc acts as a strong antioxidant which helps destroy ‘free radicals’ in the body and at the same time removing heavy metals,” she explains. You can find magnesium in spinach, almonds, and dark chocolate but if you’re looking to get a larger dose without eating cups of greens, try dissolving magnesium citrate in water. Bonus: Magnesium’s science-backed benefits include calming and relaxation properties.
Nuts provide not only provide a tasty crunch to boring greens but they are also packed with nutrients that can help strengthen your body’s own detoxing systems, says Frank Lipman, MD, a functional and integrative medicine specialist, author of How to Be Well and founder of Be Well. He particularly likes black walnuts. These have a very strong detoxifying effect on the system as they are a natural antifungal and antimicrobial that can kill parasites in your system, he says. Most people take theirs in capsule form but you can also sprinkle them on a salad or use the oil to make a tasty dressing.
Red clover is a common flower with characteristic bright blooms filling fields in the springtime. But this beauty is also a great detoxifier, Dr. Lipman says. It does double detox duty as a blood cleanser and detoxifier of the liver, he adds. You could munch your way through a meadow, a la Ferdinand the bull, we suppose, or you could buy it in capsule or tea form. In the meantime, pick up one of these powerful plants that can detox your home.
Think dandelions are just for weeding or wishing? Think again, as these humble plants have powerful detox properties, Dr. Lipman says. “Dandelion root is fantastic for liver detoxification as it supports bile production, and bile helps transport toxins out of the body,” he explains. “It also helps promote regular bowel movements because of its diuretic action.” You can find dandelion teas in most grocery stores or in health food stores. Intrigued? Read these eight things you need to know about using dandelion to detox.
Milk thistle isn’t an herb most people commonly think of, but this plant has been used for centuries to help flush and detox the liver and gallbladder, Dr. Lipman says. “It also helps improve digestive function by eliminating metabolic waste,” he adds. He recommends taking it in tincture or capsule form.
Burdock looks about as appetizing as it sounds but don’t discount this perennial yet. “Burdock has antimicrobial properties that help cleanse the blood and is loaded with detoxifying nutrients,” Dr. Lipman says. “It is a diuretic which helps expel toxic buildup.” Many stores carry burdock root that you can cook up or brew as tea, or you can buy it dried. Ate too much sugar? Use these eight tips to detox from a sugar binge.
Regardless of which side you take in the Great Black Jelly Bean Debate, the truth is that licorice (the real kind, not the flavoring generally used in candies) can be great for your health. “Licorice is beneficial in a detox protocol for its gut healing and potent anti-inflammatory properties,” Dr. Lipman says. You can find licorice candy made with the real deal (check the ingredients list) or drink licorice tea. Don’t miss these seven essential oils that can be used to detox and lose weight.
Yeah, your dining companions might think you’re weird for nibbling the green sprig on your dessert plate, but mint is just as powerful as it is decorative. “Mint is extremely high in antioxidants and helps detox while soothing the digestive system,” Dr. Lipman says. “Additionally it has antimicrobial properties, which is why it is commonly found in oral care products.” Here’s what you need to know before trying a soup cleanse.
We’re not going to tell you to hug a tree… but we are going to tell you to lick one? Neem, an Indian tree in the mahogany family, is a lesser-known but still very powerful detoxifying herb, Dr. Lipman says. “Neem is antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antiseptic,” he says, adding that it helps detox the body by ridding it of metabolic waste. If you don’t have a neem tree handy, look for Neem in capsule form. Thinking about starting a detox today? Read our detox guide first.