Without a doubt, at the end of every summer vacation, I always come home thinking that I need a good detox. Too many hotel buffets, too many plates filled with the wrong foods gobbled down in the name of convenience, too much caffeine and a few too many glasses of grape (always for the sake of a reunion or as a celebration of love, friendship and…summer!). It’s no wonder I come home tired and sluggish, not to mention the general unhappiness of my poor liver.
According to Dr Alejandro Junger MD, author and creator of The New York Times’ best selling book, The Clean Program, a detox corrects intestinal health and resets our organs and systems in order for the body to function at optimum levels.
In order to set myself on the right track again, I try to include the following foods into my diet as much as possible. Not only do they taste great, they are also perfect for detoxing and helping me feel fresh again!
Packed with vitamin C, lemons are a powerful antioxidant and with a strong alkaline effect on our bodies, helps to restore pH balance.
How: Try a mug of hot water with a few slices of lemon to kick-start your day, or squeeze some lemon juice onto your food to help elevate flavours and give food a tangy zing.
Green leafy and cruciferous vegetables, like cabbage, kale and spinach
Besides being high in calcium, fibre, folic acid, iron and vitamins A, C and K, leafy greens are packed with chlorophyll, which act as an antioxidant in the body and cleanse the blood.
How: Most nutritious when consumed raw or lightly steamed, combine spinach, kale and arugula with avocado, carrots and cucumber for a colourful and nutrient-dense salad (try a sesame oil, balsamic vinegar and honey dressing to top it off) or keep it simple by lightly steaming broccoli and asparagus and seasoning it with lemon juice and pinch of pure sea salt. Top both off with a little watercress; its natural diuretic properties help flush toxins out of the body.
Ginger and garlic
Ginger is high in antioxidants and can help improve digestion. Garlic contains allicin, a natural chemical with promotes the production of white blood cells to help fight disease.
How: add grated ginger and chopped garlic to your next stir-fry, it’s a quick and easy way to add flavour, while giving the boot to all those nasty toxins.
Well known for its superfood properties, beetroot is packed with magnesium, vitamin C and iron, and can help with liver detoxification.
How: add raw grated beetroot to salads or sandwiches or serve it as a juice with carrot, apple and spinach.
Unlike fruit teas (they tend to be blended from synthetic ingredients), herbal teas contain real herbs, and the best ones are normally organic. With so many different types available, make sure you read the ingredients label to ensure you are drinking something that has been developed for more than just its flavouring. Green tea contains high concentrations of catechin polyphenols that work in the body with other chemicals to boost fat burning; the citric content in Lemon Verbena help break down fats in the digestive tract; Fennel helps to clean the kidneys and rid the body of impurities; while Peppermint dissolves fat in the digestive system.
How: Steep your herbal tea for at least 2-4 minutes (depending on taste) and drink at least three to four cups a day. Alternatively, you can make a big batch of tea, before letting it cool and throwing in some ice for a refreshing (and healthy) drink that you can sip throughout the day.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Studies show that apple cider vinegar has a variety of health benefits, including boosting metabolism, detoxifying the liver, and stimulating hydrochloric acid in the stomach (amongst its many other benefits!).
How: The best apple cider vinegar on the market is raw, organic and unfiltered with the “mother” in tact — the matter that either floats or settles at the bottom of bottle. You can add the vinegar to sauces, salad dressings, and use it to make mayonnaise or if you are really keen, you can add 1-3 teaspoons in a glass of water before meals. You can even add honey to mask the taste (or don’t if you really love it!).
Dubai Shopping Guide
You can find most of the above foods at any Spinneys or Union COOP supermarket, or at specialty stores like Organic Foods and Cafe , Down to Earth Organic Food. Alternatively, you can take the simple approach, and book yourself a juice cleanse with Detox Delight and they’ll have all your organic cold pressed juices delivered fresh to your doorstep!
That said it’s always best to seek expert advice before embarking on any sort of detox or dietary regime. It’s probably best to limit certain foods as well, like dairy, gluten, processed sugars, soy, caffeine, alcohol or red meat that can encourage the growth of bad bacteria in your gut and torpedo your efforts to detoxify. After all you want to feel better, not worse!