6 Foods for Drainage & Detox

December 28, 2023

Not sure what foods to eat to support your detox? Many foods have detoxifying properties that support the human body to properly drain and detoxify. These foods support liver health, hydration, and digestive health – all key components for drainage and detox. These foods are arugula, aloe vera, chia seeds, cilantro, onion, and dandelion greens. They may not be the most popular of foods, but your body loves them! By the end of this blog post, you will have six total new recipes to choose from to see how you can incorporate these foods into your daily routine. 

arugula leaves
  1. Arugula 

Arugula is a bitter leafy green and its bitterness is actually a good thing!  Our bodies contain receptors for bitter compounds found in our mouth and tongue and along the digestive tract. Bitter receptors promote healthy digestion by increasing digestive juice secretions from the stomach, gallbladder, and pancreas. This will lead to better digestion, less gas and bloating, and better absorption of nutrients.

Arugula also positively supports natural liver detoxification pathways. It is rich in compounds like sulforaphane, indole-3-carbinol, and chlorophyll, which have been associated with promoting detoxification. For example, sulforaphane has been found to help with decreasing cancer cells, helping with live disease, and more!

Tamara’s Tip: Sulforaphane needs to be “activated” by chewing! Don’t skip chewing your food well to get all the benefits of your food!

How to use arugula:

macro photography of aloe vera gel on a plastic container
  1. Aloe vera 

Aloe vera’s inner leaf gel also can help support gastrointestinal health by promoting regular bowel movements and soothing the GI tract (just like it soothes the skin after a sunburn!) There is also some research to suggest that it helps physically remove toxins from the GI tract.

It’s not a surprise that aloe vera also contains antioxidants such as polyphenols, which help neutralize free radicals in the body. Antioxidants mitigate any potential oxidative stress in the gut. The interaction between gut bacteria and these antioxidants helps diversify the gut microbiome, which will continue to support the overall detox and drainage pathways in the digestive tract. 

How to use aloe vera:

fish food inside jar
  1. Chia seeds

These seeds are the definition of “great things come in small packages.” Chia seeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Fiber is a key component in maintaining a healthy digestive system and promoting regular bowel movements. Chia seeds absorb water to form a gel-like consistency. The gel consistency helps to physically remove toxins in the GI tract via the stool. They can also increase hydration.

Chia seeds are also packed with essential nutrients such as magnesium. Magnesium is known to have 300 different bodily functions, and one of them is promoting bowel movements. Magnesium helps to increase the amount of water in the intestines, which helps eliminate waste from the body. 

How to use chia seeds:

green herbs
  1. Cilantro

If you like cilantro, it is one of the easiest foods to incorporate into your diet and is one of the most powerful detoxifiers! Cilantro contains antioxidants, such as quercetin, beta-carotene, and various flavonoids. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals in the body, which will decrease oxidative stress (cell damage). Cilantro also contains anti-inflammatory properties.

Some studies suggest that cilantro has potential heavy metal chelation. This means cilantro may be able to bind to heavy metals in the body and remove them in stool. Chewing or cooking cilantro helps activate its detoxifying properties.

How to use cilantro:

  • Add to rice for tacos, burritos, and taco salads
  • Freeze in ice cube trays with olive oil to use for sauteeing vegetables
  • Cilantro soup recipe: https://www.localhaven.net/blog/2021/4/6/chicken-and-rice-soup-with-lots-of-cilantro

bowl with fresh onions on marble table
  1. Onions

Onions are in the allium family. They are full of sulfur-containing compounds that support the sulfation detox pathways in the liver. The sulfur compound gives onions their distinct taste. Allicin, another compound in onions that gives them their aroma, is a potent antimicrobial compound that can help fight off potentially harmful bacteria.

Onions have also been used for centuries for colds and other minor sicknesses. Some put raw onions in socks overnight, make onion poultice for congestion, or eat a spoonful of chopped onions with garlic and local honey for coughs.

How to use onions:

yellow flowers on the garden
  1. Dandelion greens

Dandelion greens may not be a popular food, but they are one of the best bitter foods to support detox! Dandelion greens act as natural diuretics, which means they may increase urine production. This increases the elimination of excess fluids and waste from the body via the kidneys. Some studies have suggested that dandelion greens may also support liver health and function, which will ensure proper detoxification. 

These greens also contain antioxidants, including beta-carotene and polyphenols, which help to neutralize free radicals in the body. Since dandelion greens are also rich in fiber, both soluble and insoluble, they promote regular bowel movements and aid in the elimination of waste from the body. Along with onions, dandelion greens contain inulin, which is a type of soluble fiber that acts as a prebiotic. Prebiotics feed healthy gut bacteria and promote an overall healthy gut flora. A healthy gut flora means a healthy digestive tract, which means easier and more effective detox and drainage.

How to use dandelion greens:

Which one will you try?

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We work with clients who are dedicated to changing their health. Making dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, and taking supplements are part of the healing journey.