We live in a toxic world. There are a multitude of toxins in the air we breathe, the foods we eat, and toxins even form as a result of natural metabolism. Fortunately the body has the ability to detoxify itself through a variety of ways-skin allowing us to perspire, lungs removing carbon dioxide, kidneys filter the waste from the blood stream, and poop which excretes the residue from the digestive process. But the liver handles most toxins, filtering toxins absorbed through the digestive process-and it needs continual support.
“It can be strongly said that the health of an individual is largely determined by the ability of the body to detoxify.“-Joseph Pizzorno, ND & Michael Murray, ND of Encyclopedia of Natural Health
Depending on how much toxicity has built up in your system you may need a little help to detoxify. Listed below are 101 ways to detoxify your body.
Foods and Herbs
These foods provide properties-vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals- that aid with detoxification. They should be included in your daily intake.
1. Cruciferous vegetables provide nutrients needed for phase 1 and phase 2 of liver detoxification: kale, collard greens, turnip greens, beets and beet greens, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, kohlrabi, broccoli, cauliflower, artichoke, radish, watercress, maca
2. Sulfur-rich foods (garlic, eggs, onions, shallots, leeks) aid in making glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that aids in the removal of toxins from the liver, allowing them to be excreted through bile. Bile is made by the liver and held in the gall bladder and it’s one of the ways the liver eliminates toxins.
3. Un-denatured whey enhances liver detoxification, again by raising glutathione levels.
4. Tumeric is an Indian spice that contains curcumin. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that stimulate the production of bile, moving toxins out of the liver.
5. Ginger contains compounds gingerols and shogaols that promote the movement of food and waste through the intestines.
6. Organic liver (get my favorite liver recipe here) provides nutritional support for the liver, contributing the exact nutrients needed by the liver to fully move toxins through, according to folk wisdom.
7. Chicory root can protect the liver from toxins that come into the system and in removing them without causing damage to the liver.
8. Beets contain betaine, betalains, betacyanin, betanin, and pectin which clean toxins and allow them to be excreted through the bowels.
9. Beet kvass is traditionally a Russian beverage used as a medicinal tonic. Consuming as little as 4 ounces day and night can aid in alkalizing the blood and cleaning the liver.
10. Plantains are known for cleaning out the blood. It is also a diuretic that can aid the kidneys in removing fluid from the body.
11. Fennel can aid in reducing inflammation. It is also used for relieving constipation, which can aid in moving toxins out of the bowels preventing reabsorption.
12. Celery aids in movement of foods through the bowels. It is often used as part of a juice detoxification cleanse.
13. Dandelion root enhances the flow of bile and acts as a liver decongestant. Dandelion can be eaten or made into a tea.
14. Lemon water–1/2 of a lemon or 4-5 drops of lemon essential oil in 16-20 oz of water first thing in the morning before any other food or drink can aid the liver to push toxins through the system.
15. Rosemary helps to deactivate toxins allowing for them to be removed.
Nutrients and Supplements
The liver is our most powerful organ in the removal of toxins from the body. It goes through 2 phases of detoxification, which can be compared to washing a load of laundry. Phase 1 releases the toxins (the dirt from the laundry) and phase 2 provides the nutrients needed for the “rinse cycle” to rinse those toxins to where then need to go to be removed. These nutrients below have many uses, but all aid in providing the liver with the nutrients needed to efficiently get waste out of the body. They can be taken singly or in combination with others. Before starting any nutrient supplementation, consult with your healthcare practitioner.
Aid in phase 1 liver detoxification
18. Pyridoxine (vitamin B6)
20. Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin)
21. Branch chained amino acids
26. Milk thistle/silymarin–prevents liver inflammation, acts as an antioxidant, blocks the effects of harmful liver toxins
Aids in phase 2 liver detoxification
32. Schizandra is a Chinese herb known to protect the liver from toxic substances. It can protect and repair injured liver cells.
34. Red sage
36. Licorice (do not take if you have a history of high blood pressure)
38. Coenzyme Q10
39. Lipoic acid
42. Diatomaceous earth chelates metal toxins from the body.
43. Chorella chelates metal toxins from the body.
46. Bentonite clay
47. Poke root
48. Metabolic cleanses distributed by Thorne MediClear, Metagenics Ultra Clear, Designs for Health Detoxification Support Packets, Xymogen Biotransformation Formula, Biogenesis Bio-Cleanse Powder, Standard Process Purification Kit.
49. Elimination diet works well as a gentle cleanse. It eliminates all potential substances that can cause food sensitivities (dairy, soy, eggs, nuts, gluten, shellfish) for 21 days allowing the body to be “reset.”
50. High fiber diet increases bulk and movement of stool through the intestines for elimination before toxins can get reabsorbed into your body.
51. Fruit and vegetable cleanse encourages you to eat as many as 8-12 cups of fruits and vegetables per day for 7-10 days. They can be in any form, raw, juiced, steamed, grilled, stir-fried. These have nutrients assimilated appropriately to open the detoxification pathways in the body. This cleanse is not for everyone, especially if you have difficulty with blood sugar balance.
52. Liver-gall bladder cleanse flushes out the gall bladder, allowing the liver to efficiently move toxins out through the bile by way of the gall bladder.
53. Epsom salt bath provides the body with magnesium which is absorbed through the skin to initiate movement in the detoxification pathways.
54. Vitamin C flush can be detoxifying and strengthen the immune system. To flush, take vitamin C until your tissues are saturated. Start with powdered mineral ascorbate C and take 1/2 tsp mixed with water or juice. Repeat every 15 minutes, taking 1/2 tsp until you have watery diarrhea. Keep track of how much it takes to get diarrhea and then take 1/2-3/4 of that amount in divided doses daily for maintenance.
55. Skin brushing opens up the pores of the skin. Always brush toward the heart, starting from the feet making long strokes. The skin should be stimulated but not irritated or red after brushing.
56. Low temperature saunas will eliminate fat-soluble chemicals from the body through the storage sites in our tissues through the skin. They are useful for people who have had exposure to pesticides, pharmaceutical drugs, and solvents. The temperature should be 110-120 degrees Fahrenheit fir 30-60 minutes and used 3-5 times per week to get the best results.
57. Cold plunge constricts the blood vessels creating a venous pumping system to flush metabolic waste and toxins out of the body.
58. Sweat lodge are often used in Mexico and with the Native American population. It works in a similar manner as a sauna, allowing the sweat to pull fat-soluble toxins out through the skin. You should take a shower immediately afterwards to wash the toxins away.
59. Steam bath set at a temperature of 110 degrees Fahrenheit will allow for the removal of fat-soluble chemicals through the skin from their hiding places.
60. Clay bath is a good way to remove heavy metals, radiation, and chemicals from the body through the pores of the skin.
61. Colon cleanse, colonics, and enemas removes toxins and feces from the bowels by using special equipment to inject water mixed with herbs or other liquids (coffee enemas are common) allowing it to flush the colon.
62. Lymphatic massage/drainage enhancing lymph movement carries metabolic waste from cells to the bloodstream and then to elimination.
63. Fasting-juice (feast), master cleanse, water-is often used as a religious practice as a way to detoxify your thoughts.
64. Castor oil packs will aid with constipation, allowing intestinal toxins to be moved through the bowels before allowing for reabsorption of toxins. To make the pack put a piece of cotton or flannel cloth the size of your abdomen over a piece of plastic wrap. Drizzle a generous amount of castor oil onto the cotton/flannel. Lie on your back with the castor oil directly onto the skin. Place a heating pad on top of the castor oil to warm it. Lay this way for about 30 minutes. The castor oil will absorb into the skin.
65. Exercise encourages the removal of toxins through the movement of lymph, allowing for sweat, and massaging the bowels to move poop through.
66. Massage will aid in releasing toxins that get caught up in the muscle tissue. Drinking plenty of fluids after a massage will help to eliminate them from the body.
Oops! I didn’t quite get to 101 ways to detoxify your body. Do you have any you can add to the list?
Aiding the body in detoxification is not appropriate for everyone. Before starting any detoxification program, please speak with your healthcare provider.