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The “Detoxing” Trend: Fact Versus Fiction

February 17, 2016

detoxing fact vs fiction

When you hear the word ‘detox,’ what comes to mind?

 

Maybe it’s a juice cleanse where you drink only liquids for seven days or a regimented diet that’s designed to rid your body of “toxins.”

 

The concept of detoxing has gotten a bad rap in recent years from all these cleansing fads that promise to cure every condition from acne to low energy. So is there such a thing as detoxing, and does it work?

 

No Magic Bullet

 

You’ve heard the age-old saying: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

 

Drinking nothing but water and cayenne pepper isn’t going to lead to lasting weight loss any more than eating a magic bean! There’s no magic bullet to a heathy lifestyle.

 

There is, however, a method of eating that will enhance our body’s ability to detox itself, boosting o ur energy, clearing up our skin and yes, even promoting weight loss.

 

Phytonutrients

 

Believe it or not, plant-based foods contain thousands of natural chemicals that naturally help protect the plant from fungus, germs, insects and other threats. These natural chemicals are called phytonutrients.

 

Though they’re not essential to human survival the way other nutrients are, phytonutrients are beneficial to us the same way they are to plants. They help ward off disease and keep our bodies functioning at their best; in fact, they’re about as close to a natural magic bullet as you can get!

 

So where can you find these phytonutrients? In plant-based foods with vivid colors, from red to blue to brown and every shade of the rainbow in between.

 

Detoxing: The Natural Way

 

In the phytonutrient world, different colors represent different health benefits. You can take advantage of all of them by incorporating every color into your diet.

 

It’s worth noting that it’s not limited to fruits and vegetables; other plant-based foods like whole grains, legumes and even tea qualify.

 

Let’s take a look at what each of the colors provides and where you can find it.

 

Red

red fruit cherries

Contains lycopene, which helps protect against cancer, and anthocyanins, which protect cells from damage.

 

  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Pink grapefruit
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Red grapes
  • Red peppers
  • Pomegranates
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Red apples
  • Beets

 

Orange and yellow

 

Contains carotenoids, which our bodies convert to Vitamin A to maintain healthy eyes, improve immune system and reduce heart disease risk.

 

  • Yellow apples
  • Peaches
  • Apricots
  • Pears
  • Butternut squash
  • Yellow peppers
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots
  • Pineapple
  • Grapefruit
  • Pumpkin
  • Lemons
  • Mangoes
  • Oranges
  • Sweet corn
  • Sweet potatoes

 

Green

 

Contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which keep eyes healthy, indoles that protect against cancer, and folate, which helps reduce risk of birth defects.

 

  • Green apples
  • Honeydew melon
  • Artichokes
  • Kiwi
  • Asparagus
  • Lettuce
  • Avocados
  • Limes
  • Green beans
  • Green onions
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Green pepper
  • Green cabbage
  • Spinach
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Green grapes

 

Blue and purple

blueberries

Contain anthocyanins, which protect cells from damage and may help reduce risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease.

 

  • Blackberries
  • Purple grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Raisins
  • Eggplant
  • Figs
  • Plums
  • Prunes

 

White

 

Contain allicin, which may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure and may help reduce risk of stomach cancer and heart disease. (Removed potassium)

 

  • Bananas
  • Onions
  • Cauliflower
  • Parsnips
  • Garlic
  • Potatoes
  • Ginger
  • Turnips
  • Jicama
  • Mushrooms

 

In addition to adding a rainbow of colors to your plate, aim to get a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Balance your plate with enough protein and healthy fats in addition to these unrefined high-fiber carbohydrates found in fruits and vegetables.

 

This colorful array of fiber and phytonutrients will cause a natural detoxification process in your body, promoting weight loss and preventing disease.