Top 10 Detox Foods

The Top 10 Detox Foods

And how to easily incorporate them into your life

Is your sophisticated body machine overwhelmed by the junk in your life? Each day you inadvertently come into contact with environmental pollutants, cancer-causing chemicals, plastics, preservatives, and pesticides. This can bombard your body’s defenses. Are these toxins causing you to feel tired and gain weight?
Your intestinal wall is lined with tiny hair-like villi. This is where nutrient absorption happens. These villi provide a receptor site for your lymph (immune) system to filter out wastes. Keeping these villi intact is key to having high energy levels and a healthy weight.
Your intestinal villi can become congested with stress, illness, heavy foods, and hard to digest proteins like casein and gluten. When the villi become clogged, it becomes harder for them to filter out pollutants and chemicals, and impair nutrient absorption as well.
Common signs that the digestive system may need a spring cleaning:
  • Being especially prone to seasonal allergies…
  • Getting sick easily or often…
  • Frequent stomach sensitivity and/or bloating…
  • Sensitivity to foods that contain dairy, wheat or soy… (Many food-intolerance symptoms can be eradicated by strengthening the digestive system and immune system.)
You’ve probably heard of many cleanses. Colon cleansing and herbal regimens can be beneficial, but they can also be costly and uncomfortable. If you pursue those cleansing routes, I recommend seeking the guidance of an experienced professional, such as a naturopath, Ayurvedic doctor or holistic health practitioner.
There are also many wonderful foods that will naturally shore up your immune system, detoxify the organs of your digestive system, and support your body’s ability to heal from within.
Whether your immune system is functioning well or compromised, you can benefit from from the following foods.
Important Note: Strengthening and maintaining the health of your immune system is key to becoming and staying a healthy weight.
As a bonus, regularly including these foods in your diet will provide you with a broad spectrum of beneficial nutrients, including b-vitamins, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, and vitamin C.

Top 10 Detox Foods and Suggested Uses

#1 Dandelion Greens

These mildly bitter greens help cleanse the intestinal villi, and contain an abundance of minerals and phytonutrients. They inhibit inflammation, and their mild diuretic properties aid in liver and kidney flushing.
  • Mix dandelion greens in a salad with thinly shaved beets, fresh ginger and fresh squeezed lemon for a super cleansing salad. Or try this detoxifying green smoothie recipe: 2-3 cups dandelion greens, juice of 1 grapefruit, 1 banana and 1 cup (or more) water.

#2 Sea Vegetables

Ancient man traveled for miles to obtain the medicinal benefits of sea vegetables (also known as seaweed). Sea veggies are rich in minerals and antioxidants that alkalize the blood and strengthen the digestion. Sea vegetables contain virtually all of the minerals found in the ocean; the broadest mineral spectrum in any living plant.
  • If you frequent Japanese restaurants, you may be familiar with sea vegetables like wakame, or nori. Try making your own nori rolled “sandwiches” at home. Kelp noodles can often be found in the grocery store, and are a delicious addition to any bowl of mixed greens. Spirulina is also readily available, high in protein, and is a great addition to green soup.

#3 Ginger

Ginger contains some very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols, which have been studied for their ability to reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis. In herbal medicine, it’s known as a carminative (a substance that promotes the elimination of intestinal gas), and intestinal spasmolytic (a substance that relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract).
  • Ginger can be enjoyed in many ways. Try slicing some pieces into a cup of tea, or with some fresh lemon and apple cider vinegar for a mild cleansing beverage. It’s a great addition to a green smoothie or fresh juice, and its warm spice adds a nice kick to curry dishes and soups.

#4 Fenugreek

Fenugreek contains mucilage, a demulcent (an agent that forms a soothing film over mucus membranes) that can relieve pain and inflammation in the intestines and stomach. Fenugreek also stimulates enzymes that break down glucose molecules, making it an effective sugar regulator as well.
  • Steep fenugreek seeds in hot water with a cinnamon stick and some fresh ginger for a delicious, blood-sugar balancing tea. Fresh fenugreek leaves and sprouts can be eaten raw. Fenugreek spice is warm, and is often found in curry dishes. Other demulcents include: coltsfoot, comfrey, flaxseed and oatmeal.

#5 Apples

Pectin, an important soluble fiber found in apples detoxes metals and food additives from your body, and helps cleanse the villi and the intestinal wall. Apples contain a flavonoid called Phlorizidin, which stimulates bile production aiding the liver in detoxification of waste.
  • Blend apples in your vitamix with water, add some fresh lemon and strain them through cheesecloth to make your own delicious apple juice (or juice them). Add apples to green smoothies, eat them raw with peanut butter, or dice them into a salad.

#6 Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are a fantastic source of fiber, an essential component of healthy digestion. They absorb up to 12 times their own weight in water, and can absorb toxins from your gut wall along with it, carrying them out of your body. Along with fiber, chia is also an excellent source of essential fatty acid, calcium and antioxidants.
  • Try soaking chia in pomegranate juice and berries to make a tasty, antioxidant rich pudding, soak them in your favorite non-dairy milk and infuse it with vanilla extract, nutmeg and cinnamon then add it to a green smoothie for a delicious chai-inspired blend, and look for recipes that use chia as a binder in gluten free baking (like this chia seed strawberry jam).

#7 Beets

Beets are a wonderful source of important minerals, vitamins and nutrients. They contain iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium – all essential for elimination and detox. They also contain vitamins B3, B6, C, and beta carotene, and help thin and stimulate the flow of bile to improve fat metabolism and detoxification.
  • Raw, shaved beets with ginger, lemon and fresh basil is a delicious detox salad. Also enjoy roasted beets by wrapping cleaned beets in foil and roasting at 375 for 40-45 minutes. Beet juice (with a little fresh lemon) and pumpkin or hemp seeds makes an excellent pre-workout blend.

#8 Turmeric

Turmeric contains curcumin, used in Ayurvedic medicine to help decongest the liver, stimulates the gallbladder, and increases bile flow. Bile helps to emulsify fat soluble toxins and is the intestine’s first immune responder against infection. It also helps cleanse the villi of the intestines, allowing them to better absorb nutrients.
  • Turmeric can be combined with onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and used as a seasoning for lentil and rice dishes. It’s an essential component of curry.

#9 Lemon

Lemon helps stimulate the production of calcium carbonate, an enzyme that neutralizes toxins in the body – including uric acid crystals. Lemon stimulates the production of bile, essential for fat emulsification, and the elimination of fat-soluble toxins. Lemons also have antibacterial and antiviral properties, as the low pH in citric acid breaks down the cell membrane of many harmful bacterial strains.
  • Lemon is wonderful squeezed fresh on greens and fruit, can bring out the fresh flavor in a green smoothie or juice, and adds flavor and bonus benefits to a plain glass of water. Have a cup of hot water infused with lemon, fresh mint and ginger to bolster your immune system.

#10 Garlic

Garlic’s naturally sulphuric elements make it a powerful detoxifier. Additionally, it contains a compound called allicin, which gives it potent antiviral, antibacterial and anti-cancer benefits. Eliminating harmful bacteria can help prevent your body from forming toxins. Plus, it’s just delicious.
  • Enjoy garlic in pestos, sautéed with greens, roasted/baked, and as an addition to sauces, stir-fries, dressings and sauces.
Many thanks to the following for their wonderful health resources:
John Douillard at
Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions
Raw Foods Witch: How to Eat Seaweed
Dr. John Dempster: Top 10 Detoxifying Foods
David L. Hoffman, MNIMH Herbal Actions: Demulcent
A native of upstate New York, Bree developed a love of plants and a passion for baking at a young age.
Her parents are avid gardeners who instilled the value of living in harmony with the planet and its creatures, and she worked in her father’s vineyard on the hillside of beautiful Seneca Lake as a teenager.
She pursued her undergrad at Tufts University with a major in Anthropology, and has gone on to pursue a career in structural alignment and holistic health.
She currently teaches cooking classes at Whole Foods in Denver, has created a natural fat loss program called the Body Fuel System (its vegetarian-friendly), and regularly publishes recipes and articles on her popular blog

8 Comment(s)

  1. I am currently in school for fitness training, but I am confussed about which nutritional course to take, I have done extensive research and would like to ask your opinion on what is the best one out there and why from Precision Nutrition to others, and to know that if I take your class will it be a cert.?
    Thanking you in advance and looking forward in hearing from you….

    Twinki | Reply

  2. You can read about the unique benefits of the Vegan Mastery Program here: . One of the many benefits is that you can take an open book exam after each lesson. Once you pass all 50 exams, you earn a Vegan Nutrition Certificate.

    Trevor | Reply

  3. Dandelion greens really are #1 in my book for detoxification. Kudos to Betty Rocker for including these!

    Raederle Phoenix | Reply

  4. Great post. Thanks! Nice to know that we routinely eat at least five of the ten. We'll get those other five going. That is, if we can find fenugreek. :-)

    Adrienne | Reply

  5. Fenugreek is not particularly yummy or easy to figure out what to do with, in my experience, but it is good as part of a sprout blend.  I have purchased a few blends from Sprout People (no affiliation) to get myself into the sprouting groove. Sprouts are an awesome way to get more raw greens into your diet and so healthy!

    angie | Reply

  6. I am glad to see seaweed mentioned as a great detoxing food!  Try to purchase locally harvested seaweeds that are sun dried and have not been processed.  Ocean Harvest Sea Vegetable Company, a Mendocino, CA coast business, tests their seaweeds for radiation from Fukushima as well as heavy metals.  Remember that "organic" does not mean radiation free.
    When you purchase and eat kelp noodles or nori sheets, they are processed with fresh water and lose their mineral content as well as their detoxing effects because the detoxing comes from the "alginates" present in seaweeds.  Alginates are what makes some seaweeds slimy.  Kombu and fucus (bladderwrack) are the best seaweeds for detoxing.  You can also bathe with seaweeds to get the detoxing and mineralizing effects.  You can use kombu and fucus in rice, stews, soups, beans and just about anything that is long cooking.   You can also make a broth out of them and drink throughout the day or use in a smoothie.  I like to flavor the broth with other herbs and am going to try fenugreek!

    Terry | Reply

  7. Is it still fine to get all these conventional rather than organic? I hope these all conventional are still fine because truly one of the worst hindrances and unfair is the hurdle when people have best intent and focus on vegan herbs, veggies, fruits, legumes or grains to consume rather than any animal by-product and are told to get organic when organic is more expensive or at worst when people are unemployed.

    Sam Misra | Reply

  8. When you use Nature’s secret safe products, you will better in a few days’ time.

    In fact, 90% of all cancers are thought to be linked to environmental carcinogens1.

    The actual liver organ is sort of a magnet which attracts all type of junk from
    the body.

    liver cleanse recipe with vinegar | Reply

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