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Eat Lots of Fruits and Veggies for a Healthy Daily Detox

Eating lots of Fruits and Veggies throughout the day is a health way to support your body's natural detoxification process.

Dr. Neil Levin

Supporting your body’s detoxification pathways, is truly necessary in today’s society. Based on scientific and medical literature, everyone is toxic. New born babies are contaminated with chemicals.  Umbilical cord blood is contaminated.  An EPA fat tissue survey based on tissue samples of over 30,000 people shows that 100% of us are contaminated.

Toxins exist in every aspect of our lives, from the air we breathe, to the food we eat, to the furniture we sit on to the cars we drive in. It has been estimated that there are currently over 80,000 chemicals currently in use in the United States, and we are exposed to many of them on a daily basis.

These toxins, including heavy metals, chemicals, factory particulates, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) can have drastic negative effects on our health. Animal and human studies have linked exposure to toxins to inflammation, oxidative damage, neurodegeneration, immune system dysfunction, and skeletal degeneration, to name just a few.

Unfortunately, avoiding all these dangerous toxins is next to impossible, as they have permeated all aspects of our lives. However, there is a simple way to support your body’s natural detoxification process – eat more colorful fruits and veggies!  Especially the cruciferous vegetables.

You’ve likely heard the refrain to eat more fruits and vegetables from your parents, doctors, and health experts many times, and for good reason. While colorful fruits and vegetables look great arranged on a plate, there are also powerful compounds at work under the surface that have incredible health and detoxing benefits. These compounds are called phytonutrients, and besides giving foods their colors, they can also support health and detoxification in every part of your body.

Most health authorities recommend that children get at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day while adults should be getting 7-9 servings per day. 

There are thousands of different phytonutrients that support the health of our bodies in so many ways. From cancer protection, to brain function, to anti-inflammatory properties, to tissue regeneration, these fruits and veggies and natures medicine chest.   It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the information about different phytonutrients and their benefits. On a broad scale, simply eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables of different colors ensures that you’ll be reaping the benefits of a host of phytonutrients.

However, you can also tailor your phytonutrient intake to address specific issues or functions. To get you started on your journey into the colorful world of phytonutrients, here are five classes of phytonutrients that are renowned specifically for their detoxing abilities:

1.    Flavonoids: These compounds are found in a spectrum of different foods, including most greens, cilantro, parsley, onions, apples, oranges, and blueberries. In terms of detoxing power, these antioxidants bind to heavy metals in the body, and aid in their removal from the body through urine. They also fight harmful inflammation in the body caused by toxic overload.

To maximize your flavonoid intake, try to eat your fruits and vegetables raw or lightly steamed. Overcooking or processing flavonoid-rich foods drastically reduces the bioavailability of the compounds. Make sure the veggies don’t lose any of their rich colors while steaming.

2.    Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG): This phytonutrient has a list of detox benefits almost as long as its name! EGCG triggers increased production of certain genes and enzymes responsible for POP detoxification, helping the body’s natural systems to clear the body of these dangerous toxins more efficiently. The compound is also a powerful antioxidant and boasts anti-inflammatory activities.

The richest source of EGCG is green tea. The amount of ECGC varies greatly depending on the brand of tea, but a high-quality tea like Teavana Green Tea has around 83 milligrams of ECGC per teaspoon.  To get the most out of your tea, steep your green tea at least 5 minutes to allow for maximum EGCG concentration.

3.    Quercetin: Quercetin is found in citrus fruits, apples, onions, parsley, nuts, tea, and dark berries like blueberries, blackberries, and bilberries. Similar to the other phytonutrients on this list, it is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound and antioxidant that binds to heavy metals to facilitate their removal from the body. Like EGCG, it also boosts the enzymes responsible for POP detoxification.

This compound in particular is generally concentrated in the skin of fruits and vegetables. When relevant, try to include as much of plant’s outer layer in your cooking as you can. Only remove the outer paper-y skin from onions, don’t peel your organic apples.

4.    Curcumin: Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, is one of the most powerful spices for your health. It’s a health superstar, thanks to over 50 healing actions. It’s the most powerful natural anti-inflammatory that I know of.  In addition, curcumin is an antioxidant that binds to heavy metals in the body, fights inflammation from toxins, and increases the production of enzymes responsible for POP detoxification. It has also been shown to have cancer preventative activities in human studies.

Turmeric can be incorporated into your meals in a myriad of ways.  Make a vegetable curry using curry powder and coconut milk, sprinkle turmeric in your salad dressing or on stirfries, or cook it with your eggs in the morning.

5.    Organosulfur compounds: Foods containing organosulfur compounds (or, more simply, sulfur) are generally marked by a pungent aroma and slightly bitter taste. Onion, garlic, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips, and bok choy are all rich sources of organosulfur compounds. These antioxidant-rich phytonutrients reduce inflammation, bind to and aid in the excretion of heavy metals, and boost the production of POP-detoxifying enzymes. Like curcumin, they also defend the body against cancer-causing agents. Uniquely, they also protect the liver and reproductive system from toxic invaders.

Garlic is one of the richest sources of organosulfur compounds. Dicing or smashing garlic is the best way to release these compounds – however, it’s important to let the garlic sit for ten minutes after slicing and before cooking, as heat may inactive the healthy organosulfur compounds.

Incorporating more brightly colored fruits and vegetables into your diet every day is a great way to support and boost your body’s natural detoxification systems, and live a happier, healthier life.

For those of you that find it difficult to consume the proper amount of fruits and veggies, using green fruit and vegetable capsules or a scoop of phytonutrient rich green powders, such as the Organic Juice Cleanse or Triple Greens, which you can find on my website (www.drneillevin.com) as well as all over the internet, can nicely supplement your fruit and vegetable intake.  If you’re a patient feel free to discuss these with me.

A significant portion of this article was taken from: 5 Phytonutrients You Should Be Eating For Everyday Detox by Dr. Deanna Minich ( http://deannaminich.com/) who is a wellness and lifestyle medicine expert