Spring time is full of new life, beautiful sunshine, and tons of detox foods that bounce into life this season. Many of us think about detox as dieting, but in all reality, detoxing is a natural process given to us by some of nature’s foods each season, with springtime being one of the best. Here are 9 wonderful detox foods you’ll find in nature and in stores this spring. I highly recommend trying them however you can to feel renewed, energized and clean. The more you eat, the better you’ll feel and you’ll be in your best shape ever for summer time.
Leeks, which are part of the onion family, are one of the best detox foods out there. Similar to green onions, leeks are full of detoxifying properties. For starters, they help flush water weight off of your body, which helps to relieve bloating. Next, they are full of sulfur, which is a detoxifying agent to the liver. Our liver is the filter for our entire body, including our blood stream. Our liver is also our fat burning organ and when our liver is filled with toxins, it can’t burn fat efficiently. Sulfur-rich foods, such as foods in the onion and garlic family, burn fat and increase detoxification. Leeks are also delicious! They are wonderful chopped onto salads, added to soups, and can be used in side dishes and entrees just like you would use onions or green onions.
One of my favorite foods is asparagus. Asparagus is truly a powerful detoxifying food. It has natural diuretic properties which flush toxins and water weight from the body. It is also a natural prebiotic, which means it feeds the good bacteria in your body. This process detoxifies your system by keeping your immune system in shape and your digestive system balanced. Asparagus is a delicious food that I like to enjoy chopped onto salads, or grilled with a little black pepper and lemon juice for a zesty taste. Asparagus is also rich in B vitamins which help to energize you, aid in nervous system functions, and protect your body from harmful agents and toxins. Try some asparagus with your favorite entrée, or try it grilled as a fun snack.
Kale is a hot food item right now, with good reason. Kale is known as a popular superfood, but it is also a great detox food. I love finding fresh kale in the spring time when it tastes the best. Kale is rich in magnesium, a natural mineral with tons of detoxifying properties. Kale is delicious in salads, tossed in a smoothie, or even steamed as a side item. It is also extremely filling and satisfying. Kale is one leafy green to learn to like if you don’t love it already. Kale is recognized as an alkaline food that neutralizes high acidity levels in the blood, and pushes harmful concentrations of uric acid out of your body. When uric acids builds up from acidic foods in our body, such as sugar, caffeine and processed foods, our detox organs are shut down and we feel crappy, gain weight and look tired all the time. If you’re new to eating detox foods, kale is a great place to start.
Papaya is one of my favorite fruits. It has a tropical heritage and is well known for high levels of potassium and fiber. Papaya is another food great for flushing out toxins and giving you a flat belly. It is also rich in an enzyme that helps digest food easier. I love to eat it anytime my tummy feels less than its best or when my stomach needs some digestion assistance. It is rich in Vitamins A and C, along with fiber to cleanse out your digestive tract naturally. Look for papayas that are free of bruises and are not soft and mushy. They should be bright greenish in color and firm to the touch. There are two main types of papayas to choose from, one being the Hawaiian variety, which are smaller and are pear-shaped, or Caribbean and Asian papayas, which are both long and large. Papayas are great in smoothies and I especially love them first thing in the morning for a ton of energy and great digestion.
One of my favorite detox foods for spring is avocados. I eat them all year round but when they are in season in the spring time, I find they taste better and are more available. Avocados are rich in fiber, chlorophyll, B vitamins, magnesium, Vitamin C and potassium. All of these nutrients help your body flush out toxins, and nourish your cells on a deep level. Do not fear the fats in avocados. They actually enhance detoxification because their fats help your good cholesterol push the bad fats out of your body. A good detox needs fat from healthy sources. Avocados are fruits that are easily digested, have no sugar and will aid detox by nourishing the body. It is great chopped onto salads, tossed in a smoothie for a milkshake- like consistency, and also great made into a healthy guacamole dip. It makes a perfect substitute to butter as well.
If you’re intimidated by these thorny veggies, don’t be! Artichokes can be your best friend when you detox, which by the way, we should all be doing year round in a healthy way. Detox is not about dieting; it is more about rejuvenating our bodies by nourishing it properly to remove the bad stuff we are faced with daily. Artichokes are a rich source of fiber, and prebiotics, which feed the good bacteria in your body to help remove the wastes we accumulate. You can even buy them canned and still reap the benefits. Just rinse them thoroughly to wash off all the salt. Artichokes can be cooked in the oven for an easy side dish or snack. Just cut an inch off the top and cut the stem off too. Wrap the choke in foil and cook on 350 degrees for 50 minutes. When you remove it, pull back the outer leaves until you get to the heart. Season it with a little lemon juice, a bit of olive oil and some cracked black pepper. Artichokes cleanse and nourish the digestive tract, and they lower your blood pressure. I definitely recommend adding them to your shopping list this spring!
7. Swiss Chard
Swiss chard is one of my favorite greens. It is large like kale, but slightly sweeter. It is rich in nutrients and detoxifying properties. It is full of Vitamin A and C, along with fiber. Swiss chard is full of phytonutrients which nourish our cells to remove waste and aid in detox. Chard is also rich in B vitamins, minerals and chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the bright green color found in plant foods and is the number one ingredient your detox should include. If it comes from nature and it’s green, it’s rich in chlorophyll. Leafy greens like Swiss chard are the best place to start to find this nutrient. I recommend sauteing some chard instead of eating it raw if you’re new to eating it. I like using it in green smoothies, shredded as a base for salads, or made into wraps, since the leaves are large and make for the perfect wrap instead of bread. Best of all, Swiss Chard is beautiful and can be found with bright green, pink, orange, yellow and even red stems. Rainbow chard is a version of Swiss chard available in the spring, and I always love using this beautiful food in my meals. It just makes eating so much fun, you forget you’re eating a detox food!
Raspberries are my all- time favorite berry. Many people think of strawberries as a spring time fruit. Strawberries are great, but are often laced with pesticides, and the organic ones can be a bit pricey. I like to buy frozen raspberries, which are harvested in the spring and frozen, which helps retain their nutrients better. Organic raspberries are inexpensive and available all year frozen, but can also be found fresh in the spring if you like them better that way. Raspberries are rich in fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Vitamin K. They are also a powerful beauty food! Their tiny seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, a natural skin protection factor (SPF). Toss some frozen organic raspberries in your next smoothie or try fresh ones in your oatmeal or yogurt. You’ll get a delicious treat, high in nutrients to give your food a delicious, sweet twist.
I saved possibly the most powerful spring detox food for last. Cilantro is a well known ingredient in Mexican dishes, but we should all be eating it however we can, not just in salsa! Cilantro is one of the best spring detox foods because it removes wastes and heavy metals from the liver and blood stream. It is an herb and offers such a wonderful twist when chopped into salads, tossed in a green smoothie, or used as a condiment. I like to cook eggs with it as well for a seriously delicious, detox breakfast. Cilantro is one of many leafy greens that work with your liver to create the bile that it needs to start to the detoxification process. Try incorporating everything from fresh herbs like cilantro, basil, and parsley to greens like arugula, romaine, mustard, turnip, bok choy, spinach, and dandelion greens. Juicing is also a great way to get your greens in at breakfast for your spring detox.
When diving into a detox diet, don’t deprive your body of nutrients. With these 9 spring detox foods, you can feed your body, and also cleanse and nourish it simultaneously. Have you ever done a healthy detox diet ? Share your experiences so we can all learn how to do it the right, healthy way!