What are detoxing foods and what are their benefits?

“Detoxing” means helping the body get rid of harmful substances and protecting against their damage. Usually, it involves consuming certain foods or drinks or following a particular diet.

The body’s organs are already very adept at removing toxins. Fruits, vegetables, and pulses all support this process, and adding antioxidant-rich foods to the diet may help protect against toxin-induced damage.

When it comes to cleansing your body of harmful toxins, food really is the best medicine. You’ll be amazed to learn that many of your favorite foods also cleanse the body’s detoxification organs like the liver, intestines, kidneys and skin, preventing harmful toxic buildup. Help ward off the harmful effects of pollution, food additives, second-hand smoke and other toxins with delicious fruits, vegetables, nuts, oils and beans.

What is a detox?

A “detox” is short for “detoxification.” It involves consuming certain foods or following a particular diet to cleanse the body of toxins.

A common misconception is that detoxing helps remove toxins that have accumulated in the organs, but the organs naturally do this on their own. It is not necessary to detox the body with special diets or products.

Nonetheless, certain foods contain substances called antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals. These are unstable molecules that can damage the body’s cells. A person can become exposed to free radicals through toxic substances, such as cigarette smoke and air pollution.

The damage caused by free radicals is known as “oxidative stress.” This plays a role in a number of diseases, including

  • diabetes
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • cancer
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • cataracts
  • age-related macular
  • degeneration

Best Foods for Detoxing Your Body

Truly one of the most powerful healing foods, blueberries contain natural aspirin that helps lessen the tissue-damaging effects of chronic inflammation, while lessening pain.


Because apples are high in pectin, a type of fiber that binds to cholesterol and heavy metals in the body, they help eliminate toxic build up and to cleanse the intestines.


We rarely think of avocados as a cleansing food but these nutritional powerhouses lower cholesterol and dilate blood vessels while blocking artery-destroying toxicity. Avocados contain a nutrient called glutathione, which blocks at least thirty different carcinogens while helping the liver detoxify synthetic chemicals.


Time to whip up some delicious borscht soup since its main ingredient, beets, contain a unique mixture of natural plant compounds that make them superb blood purifiers and liver cleansers.


Truly one of the most powerful healing foods, blueberries contain natural aspirin that helps lessen the tissue-damaging effects of chronic inflammation, while lessening pain. Blueberries also act as antibiotics by blocking bacteria in the urinary tract, thereby helping to prevent infections. They also have antiviral properties and help to block toxins from crossing the blood-brain barrier to gain access to the delicate brain.


Cabbage contains numerous anticancer and antioxidant compounds and helps the liver break down excess hormones. Cabbage also cleanses the digestive tract and neutralizes some of the damaging compounds found in cigarette smoke (and second-hand smoke). It also strengthens the liver’s ability to detoxify.

Celery and Celery Seeds

Celery and celery seeds are excellent blood cleansers and contain many different anti-cancer compounds that help detoxify cancer cells from the body. Celery seeds contain over twenty anti-inflammatory substances. It is particularly good for detoxifying substances found in cigarette smoke.


Cleanse your body from harmful bacteria and viruses that may be lingering in your urinary tract with cranberries since they contain antibiotic and antiviral substances.

Flaxseeds and Flaxseed Oil

Loaded with essential fatty acids, particularly the Omega-3s, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil are essential for many cleansing functions throughout the body.


Eat garlic to cleanse harmful bacteria, intestinal parasites and viruses from your body, especially from the blood and intestines. It also helps cleanse build-up from the arteries and has anti-cancer and antioxidant properties that help detoxify the body of harmful substances. Additionally, garlic assists with cleansing the respiratory tract by expelling mucous build-up in the lungs and sinuses. For the health benefits, choose only fresh garlic, not garlic powder, which has virtually none of the above properties.


Add a ruby red grapefruit to your breakfast to benefit from pectin fiber that binds to cholesterol, thereby cleansing the blood. Pectin also binds to heavy metals and helps escort them out of the body. It also has antiviral compounds that cleanse harmful viruses out of the body. Grapefruit is an excellent intestinal and liver detoxifier.


Steam some kale to benefit from its powerful anti-cancer and antioxidant compounds that help cleanse the body of harmful substances. It is also high in fiber, which helps cleanse the intestinal tract. Like cabbage, kale helps neutralize compounds found in cigarette smoke and strengthens liver cleansing.


Add a handful of cooked beans to your next meal since they loaded with fiber that helps lower cholesterol, cleanses the intestines and regulates blood sugar levels. Legumes also help protect the body against cancer.


Excellent liver detoxifiers, lemons contain high amounts of vitamin C, a vitamin needed by the body to make an important substance called glutathione. Glutathione helps the liver detoxify harmful chemicals. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (not the bottled variety) to pure water to support your cleansing efforts on a daily basis.

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Seaweed could be the most underrated vegetable in the western world. Studies at McGill University in Montreal showed that seaweeds bind to radioactive waste in the body. Seaweed also binds to heavy metals to help eliminate them from the body. In addition, they are powerhouses of minerals and trace minerals.


If you haven’t tried watercress add this delicious green to your next sandwich since it increases detoxification enzymes and acts on cancer cells in the body. In a study at the Norwich Food Research Center in the UK, smokers who were given 170 grams of watercress per day eliminated higher than average amounts of carcinogens in their urine, thereby eliminating them from their body.

Detoxing vegetables

Vegetables that are high in antioxidants can help protect the body from free radical damage. Some examples include
  • beets
  • artichokes
  • red cabbage
  • sweet potatoes
  • broccoli
  • carrots
  • avocado
  • radishes
  • squash
  • pumpkin
  • kale
  • spinach

Detoxing fruits

Anthocyanins are red, blue, or purple pigments in some plants. These pigments have antioxidant properties that help protect against free radical damage.

According to a 2017 review, anthrocyanins may support health for many reasons, including their:

  • antimicrobial properties
  • anti-inflammatory properties
  • anticancer properties

Some fruits that are rich in anthocyanins include:

  • berries
  • currants
  • grapes

Detoxing pulses

Pulses are rich in fiber. According to a 2016 review, dietary fiber can increase the expression of detoxifying enzymes in the liver and help protect the liver from pro-inflammatory bacteria.

This may allow the liver to concentrate on detoxing the body instead of combating inflammation.

Some fiber-rich pulses include:

  • kidney beans
  • pinto beans
  • black beans
  • lentils

Detoxing drinks

Below, find examples of drinks that can boost the amount of antioxidants in a person’s diet.


Smoothies can be packed with antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. A person might make a smoothie with:

  • pureed fruits and vegetables
  • fruit or vegetable juices
  • yogurt
  • milk
  • nuts and seeds

Vegetable smoothies are also called green smoothies. They typically contain leafy green vegetables plus some fruit to increase their sweetness.

Fruit smoothies are tasty, but because they can be high in sugar, it is a good idea to drink them in moderation. It is also worth keeping in mind that detox juices do not contain enough nutrients to replace meals.


Green, black, and white teas all come from the Camellia sinensis plant. Both green and white teas are abundant in a type of antioxidant called catechins.

An older study, from 2010, found that the two teas have comparable antioxidant benefits.

The Bottom Line

The goal of detoxing is to help the body remove harmful substances and protect against damage.

Dietary detoxes are not necessary because the body is already very adept at getting rid of toxic substances. However, consuming antioxidant-rich foods could help protect against toxin-induced free radical damage.

Fruits, vegetables, and pulses all help the body detox. A person might boost the number of antioxidants in their diet by adding certain smoothies and teas.

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