5 Phytonutrients You Should Be Eating For An Everyday Detox
5 Phytonutrients You Should Be Eating For An Everyday Detox
Written by: Kavata Kithome
As you likely know, supporting your body’s ability to detox is definitely crucial in today’s society.
The sad truth is that toxins exist in every aspect of our lives, from the air we breathe to the food we eat, even to the thoughts we think. These toxins, ranging from heavy metals to persistent organic pollutants (POPs), can have drastic negative effects on our health. And exposure to toxins can cause inflammation, oxidative damage, neurodegeneration, immune system dysfunction and skeletal degeneration, just to name a few.
Unfortunately, avoiding all these dangerous toxins is nearly impossible, as they have infiltrated all aspects of our lives. However, the good news is that there are ways to support your body’s natural detoxification function simply by eating more colorful plant foods!
As a health coach, I always encourage my clients to eat more fruits and vegetables. My go to phrase is “eat the rainbow.” This is because colorful fruits and vegetables have powerful compounds that have incredible health and detoxing benefits, called phytonutrients. They give your fruits and veggies their colors and support health and detox in every part of your body.
There are hundreds of different phytonutrients, each supporting your body’s health in a different way. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the information, so my advise is to simply eat a wide range of fruits and vegetables of different colors to ensure that you’ll be reaping the benefits of a variety of phytonutrients.
But you can also hone in and tailor your phytonutrient intake to address specific issues or functions. To help get you started on your journey through the world of phytonutrients, here are five classes of phytonutrients that are legendary specifically for their detoxing abilities:
By now, I am sure you have noticed that curcumin – the active compound in turmeric – makes an appearance in a lot of health articles. This is because it is one of the most powerful spices for your health, thanks to over 50 remedying actions it can perform.
When it comes specifically to detoxing functions, curcumin is an antioxidant that binds to heavy metals in the body, fights inflammation from toxins and increases the production of enzymes responsible for POP detoxification. It has also been shown to have cancer preventive activities in human studies.
Other than simply juicing your turmeric, it can be incorporated into your meals in many different ways. Make a vegetable curry using curry powder and coconut milk, sprinkle turmeric in your salad dressing or on stir-fries, or cook it with your eggs in the morning. Or try this amazing golden milk recipe:
- Whisk coconut milk, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, honey, coconut oil, peppercorns and 1 cup water in a small saucepan; bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer until flavors have melded, about 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into mugs and top with a dash of cinnamon.
- Golden milk can be made 5 days ahead. Store in an airtight container and chill. Warm before serving.
- Using fresh turmeric adds a clean, bright flavor to this drink, but dried turmeric can be substituted when fresh is not available. Keep in mind that dried turmeric will settle to the bottom of the mug, so stir well before drinking.
Now, if you have not added turmeric to your diet, what are you waiting?
These compounds are found in a variety of different foods such as cilantro, parsley, onions, apples, oranges and blueberries. Their detoxing power is to bind to heavy metals in the body and aid in their removal from the body through urine. They also help fight harmful inflammation in the body caused by toxic overload.
To maximize your flavonoid intake, try to eat your fruits and vegetables raw or lightly steamed as much as possible. One of my favourite way to take in my flavonoids is by juicing my fruits and veggies. This is because overcooking or processing flavonoid-rich foods drastically reduces the bioavailability of the compounds.
For flavonoids, try this amazing juice:
#3. Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate (EGCG)
- 4-5 carrots
- 2 apples
- 2 cups spinach
- Wash all of the fruits and vegetables thoroughly, being careful to remove all dirt from the carrots and spinach.
- Cut the ends off of the carrots and throw away (you can peel the carrots if you like, but leaving the skins on provides the most nutritional benefit).
- Cut the veggies into a size that is suitable for your juicer and start juicing.
- Drink right away to get the most from this nutritious, detoxifying juice.
Is it just me who didn’t know what EGCG stood for, only that it is found in green tea and is really good for you? No convincing necessary for me when it comes to tea as you may already know, the EGCG was just bonus for me.
It wasn’t until I became a health coach that I learned that it stood for Epigallocatechin-3-gallate. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate or EGCG is a phytonutrient that has a list of detox benefits almost as long as its name! EGCG triggers increased production of certain genes and enzymes responsible for POP detoxification, helping the body’s natural systems to clear the body of these dangerous toxins more efficiently. The compound is also a powerful antioxidant and boosts anti-inflammatory activities.
It is important to remember that the amount of EGCG varies greatly depending on the brand of tea, but a high-quality tea like Teavana Green Tea has around 83 milligrams of EGCG per teaspoon.
Here is the best way to get them most out of your tea:
- Steep your green tea at least five minutes to allow for maximum EGCG concentration.
If you haven’t heard of it, don’t worry, you’re normal. I learned about this flavonoid when I became a health coach. Quercetin protects the DNA in cells because it collects around the nucleus of cells, offering powerful anti-oxidant protection. It is also believed to have mild antihistamine effects, making it a great ally for allergy sufferers. From what I can tell, quercetin can boast to be one of the most powerful flavonoids in the galaxy.
This compound in particular is generally concentrated in the skin of fruits and vegetables. And like EGCG, it also boosts the enzymes responsible for POP detoxification. The best sources of quercetin are organic: apples, red onions, black and green tea, red grapes, raspberries, cranberries, citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables.
If you are like, yes… sign me up! Try this sweet scrumptious smoothie:
#5. Organosulfur Compounds
- 2 large apples, cored
- 1 cup red grapes
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 2 chard leaves
- 1 cup fresh baby spinach
- 4 to 6 ounces of filtered water
- Toss in blender, blend until smooth and most importantly, enjoy!
Foods containing organosulfur compounds (or, more simply, sulfur) are generally marked by a pungent aroma and slightly bitter taste. These antioxidant-rich phytonutrients reduce inflammation, bind to and aid in the excretion of heavy metals and boost the production of POP-detoxifying enzymes.
Like curcumin, they also defend the body against cancer-causing agents and also protect the liver and reproductive system from toxic invaders.
The best sources of sulfur are onion, garlic, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips and bok choy.
Garlic is one of the richest sources of organosulfur compounds. Dicing or smashing garlic is the best way to release these compounds. And remember, it’s important to let the garlic sit for 10 minutes after slicing and before cooking, as heat may deactivate the healthy organosulfur compounds.
To get your organosulfur compounds fix, try this amazing recipe:
Try one or all of the recipes above and share your experiences in the comments below. Incorporating these phytonutrients into your diet is a great way to support and boost your body’s natural detoxification systems and to help you live clean in an unclean world.
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
- Wash the broccoli and cut it into bite-sized pieces.
- Place the broccoli on a large rimmed baking sheet.
- Mince the garlic and toss it in with the broccoli.
- Drizzle 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over the broccoli, then season with coarse black pepper and pink Himalayan salt
- Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the broccoli is tender.
- Toss in lemon juice, parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon olive oil; serve immediately.
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Kavata Kithome is an advocate for living your best life, full of health and longevity. While working closely with gym owners and personal trainers, she was able to sculpt a well-rounded view of fitness and understands how to incorporate it with a healthy balanced diet. She is a regular contributor to the One More Step Lifestyle brand.
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