4 Detox Diet Essentials for a Healthy Body
Do you feel that detox diets can benefit your body but the labyrinth of information available on the internet is making your head hurt? Don’t worry. Your body is very good at cleaning itself from the inside as long as it gets adequate amounts of the right nutrients. So you don’t need to commit to some complex detoxification plan just yet. Read on as we talk about the four detox diet essentials for a healthy body that are easy to follow!
1. Essential Nutrients Are Important For Your Detox Meal Plan!
There are some nutrients that are absolutely essential and cannot be produced by the body. They also have very distinct and well-understood roles in protecting and maintaining the body. You have to obtain these nutrients from the foods you eat.
- Essential amino acids: There are 9 essential amino acids which you must include in your diet as we can’t make them on our own. They not only detox the body but also strengthens our immunity. Foods rich in essential amino acids are – meat, poultry, eggs, soy products, dairy and fish.
- Essential fatty acids: The body does not produce essential fatty acids (EFAs) and thus should be present in the foods you eat. Your body can make most of the fats the body needs from the diet, excepting EFAs. The two EFAs are – alpha-linolenic acid which is an omega 3 fatty acid and linoleic acid which is an omega 6 fatty acids. Fats are important for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) which are essential for detoxification. It also fights inflammation which can prevent the circulation of important nutrients in the body. Some sources of EFAs are- nuts, seeds, oils, avocados, and fish.
- Minerals: Your body requires 15 different minerals to function properly. For any detoxification your body requires energy. Minerals nourish your adrenals and thyroid gland – the chief organs of energy production. Additionally, mineral deficiencies can block your detoxification pathways. Our body needs some minerals in smaller amounts such as trace elements compared to other minerals. You can get all these minerals from a variety of vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts.
- Vitamins: There are 14 essential vitamins required by our body. Eating different vegetables, fruits, meat, dairy, grains and nuts can provide with all the essential vitamins required by your body to support healthy detoxification.
2. Add Antioxidants To Aid The Detoxification Process.
Antioxidants are absolutely critical in the process of detoxification. These compounds keep oxidation under control within the body. Oxidation is a natural process of the body that produces free radicals as a by-product. As a result, it can damage the cells of your body if there is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects through neutralization by antioxidants.
Identifying fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants is very simple. So, the next time you go grocery shopping just choose colourful vegetables and fruits. The rainbow of fruits and vegetables contains different antioxidants in each colour which are an important part of any detox diet.
Let’s have a look at these different colours and how the antioxidants they contain help in detoxification.
There are plenty of red vegetables and fruits that you can have, which provides you with many healthy antioxidants. Some of the common red foods are – red kidney beans, strawberries, red grapes, cherries, beets, red apples, raspberries and tomatoes. Tomatoes contain a potent antioxidant called lycopene that is known for contributing to the health of the prostate gland in men. It also has anti-inflammatory and chemotherapeutic effects on the heart and nervous system as well as some forms of cancer.
Another specific antioxidant present in red fruits is resveratrol, which has been shown to decrease the growth of cancer cells, keep nerve cells healthy and decrease the risk of heart diseases by maintaining blood vessels.
Blue and Purple
Blue and purple coloured vegetables are less common than red and green coloured vegetables but they are equally rich in some powerful antioxidants. Some common blue and purple fruits and vegetables are – blueberries, brinjals, plums and prunes. Blueberries are often considered a “superfood” due to its rich antioxidant and vitamin content. So, make sure you add some of these in your detox diet!
Orange and Yellow
Orange and yellow coloured foods contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant known for its protective benefits against eye diseases. Beta-carotene converts to form vitamin A in the body that has several health benefits. It has antioxidant properties which help protect the body against the damaging effects of free radicals. Some common beta-carotene rich sources include carrots, oranges, lemons, peaches, pumpkins and winter squash.
Green vegetables make up a large part of our food production and should be an important part of your diet too. There is an array of green vegetables that you can choose to add to your daily diet. They are a rich source of different nutrients as well as antioxidants, which provides us with several health benefits.
Some common green vegetables are spinach, cabbage, brussels sprouts, peas, turnip greens and broccoli. Broccoli especially is a great detox diet must-have as it contains an antioxidant called sulforaphane, which helps the body get rid of toxins, supports the immune system and also slows down tumour growth.
3. Prepare Your Food The Right Way For A Healthy Detox Diet.
The preparation of your food has a great impact on its nutritional qualities. Processing foods with chemicals or cooking foods inappropriately decrease its beneficial qualities and can also add toxins to the foods. Hence, it is useful to get plenty of raw foods in your detox diet, particularly vegetables. However, eating raw vegetables can be difficult for most of us as we prefer cooking our foods.
But cooking your food using the right cooking techniques can also be of immense help.
- Frying: Pan frying or shallow frying is better than deep frying. Avoid deep frying your foods as much as possible.
- Pressure Cooking: Pressure cooking reduces the antioxidant content of foods the most as compared to other cooking methods. If you want to get most of the antioxidants present in your food then avoid pressure cooking.
- Boiling: The more time you boil your food, the more nutrients it loses. So, boil your food for shorter time periods to prevent excess nutrient loss.
- Baking: It is a good option of cooking without compromising much on the nutritional content of the food. However, be careful of overcooking as you may lose out on some essential nutrients.
- Steaming: It is the best way of cooking especially for vegetables. It’s easy, quick and delicious, and maintains most of the nutritive value of vegetables.
Not all foods lose their nutritive value in cooking. Some antioxidants such as lycopene in tomatoes and beta-carotene in carrots increase when cooked. Other examples include spinach, cabbage, mushrooms, peppers and many other vegetables that provide more antioxidants when cooked.
4. Add Spices To Your Detox Meal Plan!
People usually assume that eating healthy means eating food that tastes bland. But, that’s not the case. There is a wide variety of herbs and spices that you can add to your detox diets to make it more flavourful as well as nourishing. Spices have more antioxidants than vegetables and fruits. Some examples of herbs and spices that are rich in antioxidant properties and offer several health benefits are ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, coriander, oregano, parsley, saffron and cinnamon.
Thus, the key to healthy detoxification is to eat foods that are fresh and natural and not laden with a variety of different preservatives. Avoid eating processed, packaged and junk foods as much as possible. There’s nothing better than eating fresh vegetables and fruits as they are a natural source and also different antioxidants. Most importantly, drink plenty of water as it aids in the process of cleansing your liver. Besides the detox diet, also participate in some form of physical activities to fasten your process of detoxification.