Good news! There’s no need to go on a fancy (not to mention pricey) juice cleanse if you’re looking to boost your health and detoxify your body this summer. All you need is a healthy liver and a hefty dose of some common and nutrient-packed foods! Here’s a list of 8 detoxifying ingredients, ranging from probiotic-rich kimchi to omega-3-packed walnuts.
Also included are recipe suggestions from our Food Monster App and information on the specific health benefits of each food! You’ll soon have more energy and glowing skin–not to mention a super-strength liver capable of filtering out all those nasty toxins.
This spicy, fermented dish, usually made with different vegetables such as Chinese cabbage, originated in Korea thousands of years ago out of the need to store food for long periods of time while preventing decomposition. Preserving vegetables via fermentation allows both the nutrients and flavor to stay intact, making for a delicious dish. Kimchi is rich in gut-friendly bacteria called probiotics, which develop during the fermentation process and improve digestion and overall gut health.
It is also loaded with antioxidants and fiber, making it a truly wonderful detoxifying food to consume on a regular basis–either straight out of the jar or served with other foods. Many brands of kimchi do contain fish sauce, so double-check to make sure you’re getting a vegan-friendly version. For recipe suggestions, try making a Summer Kimchi Sushi Bowl, or make some flavor-packed (and 100% plant-based) Gochujang Kimchi Sausages.
It may not be the most glamorous food on this list, but this aromatic bulb is chock-full of antioxidants and can add a hefty dose of flavor to any recipe. Garlic is one of the oldest horticultural crops and was referenced by both Egyptian and Indian cultures as far back as 5000 years ago. It is a member of the liliaceae family, which includes shallots, leeks, and chives. There is a specific sulfur-containing compound in garlic called Allicin, which has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, and may even help prevent certain types of cancer from developing (though more studies are needed to confirm this claim). Garlic also promotes heart health, making it a spectacular and tasty detoxifying ingredient to add to your summer wishlist!
For recipe suggestions, whip up a creamy batch of Roasted Garlic Hummus, perfect for a party dip, or make some Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Adzuki Beans and Garlic Dressing.
These brilliantly colored root vegetables are not only visually appealing, but also incredibly nutritious, and can be used in a variety of ways. Beet greens have been consumed for thousands of years in places such as Ancient Greece and Rome, and the roots were also used for medicinal purposes. In the mid-1700s, a German chemist discovered that beets contain sucrose, a type of sugar, and today in the U.S., approximately half of all sugar produced comes from beets. However, beets deserve recognition for more than just their unique, earthy sweetness, which some people love and others find extremely distasteful. They assist the body in Phase 2 detoxification, a process that neutralizes toxins and makes them water-soluble so they can be excreted in the urine. Beets are also high in antioxidants and help reduce inflammation in the body.
For recipe ideas, try this tasty Beets and Butternut Squash Bowl with Cheesy Basil Pesto, or make some Icelandic Pickled Beets, perfect to put on top of a hearty veggie burger or vegan grilled cheese sandwich!
This tangy citrus fruit, perhaps best known for its lip-puckering sourness, is jam-packed with nutrients that make it a true superfood in every sense of the word! It is actually a hybrid fruit, a cross between an orange and a fruit called the Pummelo, which was native to Malaysia and Indonesia. It is unclear whether or not the hybridization was intentional or accidental–either way, the grapefruit was created. This fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, and also contains an antioxidant called lycopene, which has anti-tumor properties and fights harmful free radicals in the body.
Grapefruit can also reduce your risk of developing kidney stones, and is perfect for hydration given its high water content. It is important to note that you should not eat grapefruit when taking certain pharmaceutical drugs, as this fruit can negatively interfere with metabolization of the drugs. Always speak to your doctor first! For recipe ideas, try out this Grapefruit and Greens Smoothie, or make a Breakfast Bowl With Oats, Pistachios, and Grapefruit.
This vivid orange-yellow root, closely related to ginger, can be used in both fresh and dried form, and has recently become popular for its anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric has been used for nearly 4,000 years in the Vedic culture in India, for culinary, medicinal, and even religious purposes, and later spread throughout other countries in Asia. It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine (an ancient Indian system of medicine) to cure a variety of ailments including digestive issues and bacterial infections. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and boosts the antioxidant capacity of the body, and may help lower your risk of developing heart disease. It is a flavorful, colorful, and super healthy spice to add to your summer recipes!
This creamy green fruit, perhaps best known for its starring role in guacamole, is a rich and tasty addition to this list. It originated in Mexico, where it was a popular food for the Aztecs, and was later taken to other countries such as Africa, Spain, Australia, and Israel. Avocados come in multiple varieties including Hass, Gwen, Fuerte, and Bacon (Hass is one of the most common varieties in the U.S. and is frequently found in grocery stores). They are rich in fiber, making them a natural detoxifying food, and also contain high levels of two antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, which are beneficial for vision. Avocados are also an excellent source of healthy fats, as well as the fat-soluble vitamin E, giving you smoother and healthier skin and hair.
This infamous green vegetable may not look like a superstar, but its humble exterior belies its nutritional value. Although there is some uncertainty about the exact origins of cabbage, it most likely originated somewhere in Europe over 2,000 years ago, though the early versions of wild cabbage looked very different from the head-like veggies we know today. Cabbage is rich in vitamin C and fiber, making it beneficial for both the immune and digestive systems, and red cabbage contains powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins. Its high water content also contributes to its detoxifying superpowers!
For recipe suggestions, check out this Cabbage Slaw with Creamy Miso Dressing, a unique twist on coleslaw that would be perfect for a summer picnic, or make some colorful Red Lentil Cabbage Soup with Cilantro Oil.
These tasty nuts date back to 7,000 B.C. in Persia, and their scientific name, Juglans Regia, translates to “Jupiter’s Royal acorn” in Latin. Around 4 A.D., the Romans introduced walnuts to other European countries, and today, China is the largest commercial producer of walnuts, with the U.S. taking second place (90% of U.S. walnuts are grown in California). Walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which boost brain health–an interesting fact given that walnuts closely resemble the shape of the cerebral cortex. They also assist the liver in flushing out fat-soluble toxins, with the assistance of two chemicals called arginine and glutathione. Walnuts contain several powerful antioxidants, and can improve heart health, so grab a handful and munch away!
For more tasty suggestions, check out 15 Detoxifying Whole-Food Vegan Recipes That Are Flavorful and Filling. Or, to further improve your health this summer, read up on 7 Vitamins and Minerals You Need in Your Plant-Based Diet for a Productive 2018.
Also, make sure to download the Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly, and detoxifying recipes, and subscribers can gain access to new recipes every day.
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