The best diet for a detox goes back to natural foods. Out goes junk food, packaged, processed and tinned foods and in comes meals freshly prepared and cooked by you.
Worst Foods for a Detox Diet
The worst foods in a detox diet are meat, dairy, wheat, alcohol and caffeine:
- Meat slows down digestion, clogs up the bowels and helps bacteria to breed in your guts.
- Milk, cheese and other dairy products are acidic to the body, leading to poor cell function and the slowing down of detoxification.
- Wheat is harmful to the lining of the intestines and leads to poor nutrient intake.
- Wheat gluten irritates the gut and can cause bloating, indigestion and constipation.
- Alcohol is toxic to the liver and reduces levels of detoxifying minerals such as zinc and magnesium.
- Caffeine leads to increased levels of toxins in the body.
Processed, packaged and frozen foods are generally high in salt, sugar, bad fats and artificial ingredients. They should definitely be avoided on a detox diet.
- A high salt diet is bad for blood pressure but also slows down cell functioning and the detox process.
- Sugar in the diet increases mood swings, brain fog and energy peaks and troughs.
- Sugar fights against the good bacteria in the gut leading to slower detoxification.
- Bad fats add to the strain on the liver and to your waistline.
- Many artificial ingredients are made from petrochemicals that are toxic to the liver and hard to break down and detoxify.
The best detox foods are vegetables, fruit, whole-grains, beans, nuts and seeds. Vegetables and fruits contain enzymes that help improve digestion and also many nutrients that are strong detoxifying agents. Vegetables, fruits, whole-grains and beans are high in fiber and therefore help toxins out of the body through the bowels. Nuts and seeds are high in fat-soluble vitamins that activate the brain cells and improve overall cell functioning.
All these foods are high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that activate the whole body in its job of pushing out toxins. The general well-being of the body is improved from eating this nutrient-rich diet. The cells, liver and bowels are supported in the detoxification process.
Fish in a Detox Diet
Cold-water fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines contain good fats that reduce inflammation and boost immune functioning. Unfortunately, the oceans and rivers are polluted with heavy metals that end up in the fish we eat. Larger fish such as swordfish, sea bass and tuna are heavily contaminated and are to be avoided altogether in a detox. Smaller fish such as monkfish, salmon and tilapia are okay to eat occasionally during a detox.
Getting the Balance Right
It is important to get the balance right in your detox diet. An extreme change in diet is likely to be unpleasant and also ineffective as a detox. Your liver and bowels must be in a good state to successfully cope with any outpouring of toxins.
If you normally eat a diet that is high in meat, dairy, wheat and processed foods, start out with a moderate change in your habits. Cut out the processed and junk foods completely, but cut down on the worst detox foods. As your body adapts to the new diet, you can gradually reduce the level of bad detox foods.
If your diet is generally a healthy one, based mainly on freshly prepared meals, then you can follow a more restrictive detox diet. Moving towards a vegetarian or vegan diet with minimal wheat, dairy and alcohol is the way to go.