Best Foods For Detox – My Top 5

Curious about the best foods for detox? Whether you realize it or not, your body is constantly working on detoxifying itself. Your liver, kidneys, digestive tract, and even your lungs and skin work tirelessly every day to protect against the toxic insults of the world around you. And with the growing chemical exposure that we’re hit with these days, its job isn’t getting any easier.

As your body works to shield you against these toxins, it goes through a few different phases to liberate and ultimately eliminate toxins from your system. These phases of detoxification require a range of nutrients that support the release of toxins from your tissues. Without proper nutrition, your detox processes can get backed up and become sluggish. 

One of the most effective ways you can assist your organs of detoxification in their daily battle, and prevent a toxic backup, is through food.

While it’s true that a diet rich in whole foods is a terrific way to nourish your body, if we’re talking specifically about detox, there are a handful of superstar foods that can make a significant impact on your body’s cleansing process.

Below is my list of the best detox foods to include in your diet.

Best Detox Foods – My Top 5

#1 Broccoli Sprouts

If you’re looking to add liver-loving detox foods to your diet, there is none more potent or powerful than broccoli sprouts. 

Broccoli sprouts, or sprouts in general, come from seeds that have been germinated to produce young plants. These young plants are packed full of nutrients, and can provide a myriad of health benefits to your body. 

Broccoli sprouts, in particular, are excellent for detoxification. This is due to their rich supply of sulforaphane (SFN) — a compound that plays a number of roles in supporting your body’s detoxification processes. 

Some crucial aspects of detox that broccoli sprouts support include:

Phase Two Detoxification

SFN is especially useful in promoting phase two detoxification, which converts toxins into water-soluble compounds that can be eliminated from your body. This vital step allows neutralized toxic compounds to be liberated, allowing your body to release them for good[1]. 

Oxidative Stress

During phase one detox, your body naturally produces reactive oxygen species (ROS). The problem is, these ROS can sometimes be more damaging than the toxins themselves. SFN acts as an antioxidant, combating the ROS and oxidative stress produced during this phase[1].

Genes For Detoxification

SFN turns on genes that help your body protect and rid itself from toxic insults. The nrf2 pathway, also known as transcription factor nrf2, upregulates over 500 genes — most of which are cytoprotective (protect your cells). The nrf2 pathway increases detoxification of toxic heavy metals, as well as compounds like pesticides, plastics, and pollutants[1]. 

Glutathione Production

Glutathione is one of the most powerful antioxidants in your body. It plays a role in both phase one and phase two liver detox by helping to neutralize toxins as well as eliminate them from your body[2]. 

As you can see, broccoli sprouts help to support your detoxification processes on multiple levels. Therefore, getting these young veggies into your diet is one of the most beneficial steps you can take to rid your body of toxic overload. 

For this reason, you want to make sure you’re getting broccoli sprouts in often and in substantial quantities as well. Unfortunately, many grocery stores don’t carry broccoli sprouts, and those that do tend to mark them up quite a bit. 

That’s why I put together a Daily Detox supplement. This powdered formula is packed with ingredients (including broccoli sprouts) that support your detoxification processes for optimal removal of toxins. You can take Daily Detox every day to stay on top of your detox needs and prevent build-up and toxic overload. 

#2 Garlic

Although it’s well-known for its immune-enhancing properties, the benefits of garlic go far beyond the immune system[3].

Garlic contains allyl sulfur compounds that enhance the enzymes responsible for phase two detoxification. These enzyme systems help to metabolize and break down foreign chemicals in your body. Without phase two enzymes, the neutralized toxins in your tissues would be left in limbo, unable to be removed from your system[4][5].

In addition to its phase two enzyme activation, what makes garlic such an incredible detoxification food is its ability to target heavy metals. The allyl sulfur compounds found in garlic specifically help to neutralize and eliminate heavy metals from your body. They act as a chelating agent, attaching to heavy metals and pulling them out through your bile or bowel movements[6]. 

If you’re unfamiliar with the damage that heavy metals can cause in your body, here is a short list of just a few symptoms associated with heavy metal toxicity:

  • Developmental delay
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Hearing loss
  • Seizures
  • High blood pressure
  • Miscarriages

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg[7]. 

Among the heavy metals that garlic can help eliminate from your body are lead, cadmium, and mercury. 

In fact, research shows that garlic works as well as D-Penicillamine ( a heavy metal detox pharmaceutical) in clearing your body of lead[8]. 

You can add garlic to your diet by incorporating it into any savory dish. Even small amounts of garlic can go a long way. You can also find garlic supplements if you want a more potent dose. 

Interestingly, the active compounds in garlic lay mostly dormant until the bulb is crushed, activating garlic’s healing properties. 

#3 Onions

Onions are one of the most versatile and nutrient-dense detox foods out there. You can add onions (raw or cooked) to soups, salads, casseroles, roasts; you name it. 

Just like garlic, onions activate your body’s phase two detoxification enzymes with their sulfur-containing compounds[9]. However, their liver supportive properties don’t end there. 

As you can imagine, your liver has a big job to do in your body. As the central hub through which all toxic overload is processed, this essential organ needs all the help it can get to stay healthy and functional. Unfortunately, when not taken care of properly, your liver can become overloaded and toxic. The result is a condition known as “hepatotoxicity” which can lead to liver damage.

This is where onions liver-protective properties come in. 

In one study, rats with hepatotoxicity were given onion extracts for 12-weeks. After the intervention, not only were the rat’s biomarkers for liver damage normalized, but the liver tissue itself was healed[10]. 

The liver-protective effects of onions are at least in part due to their antioxidant activity. As your liver works hard to neutralize and detoxify compounds in your body, it often creates conditions for oxidation. The bioactive compounds in onions help fight off oxidative stress and act as protective antioxidants to keep your liver tissue happy and healthy[11]. 

In fact, research shows that as a rich source of vitamin C (a powerful antioxidant), onions may even benefit phase one detoxification by combating the oxidative stress created during this toxin-neutralizing phase[12][13]. 

Need some onion inspiration? Check out my recipe for roasted Cipollini onions here.

#4 Egg Yolks

As I’m sure you’ve picked up on by now, maintaining the health of your liver is of paramount importance for detoxification. 

Egg yolks contain a vitamin-like nutrient called choline, which plays a crucial role in liver function due to its methylation activity. If you’re unfamiliar, methylation is a process by which “methyl groups” are transferred to one chemical compound or another. This can result in the expression of genetic pathways, depending on which chemical compounds are being methylated. 

Put simply; methylation is a way of turning on genes. 

In your liver, choline acts as a methyl donor supplying methyl groups to compounds, which then turn on gene expression for liver health[14].

Research shows that when your body is deprived of choline it can lead to fatty liver disease,  and even liver cell death. This is due to several factors, including oxidation and abnormalities in your cell membranes[15].

Therefore, keeping your choline levels within range is crucial for liver function and optimal detoxification. 

Egg yolks are also high in the mineral selenium, a mineral that helps to detoxify heavy metals from your body — particularly the heavy metal mercury[16]. 

By now, most people are aware of the toxic effects of mercury. You may have even taken steps to decrease your exposure to this heavy metal by taking out amalgam fillings or cutting back on your tuna consumption. 

While these are great steps, mercury can still be found widely in our environment[17]. 

Selenium acts as a mercury magnet in your body. It binds mercury and neutralizes it, allowing your body to eliminate this harmful heavy metal before it gets absorbed and causes any damage[18]. 

The combination of choline plus selenium makes egg yolks a powerful food for detoxification.

Here is a good recipe for Paleo Eggs Benedict to help you get some yolk intake! And remember, like any food, source matters. Check out this guide before buying your eggs!

#5 Ginger

Once you’ve liberated toxins from your tissues, it’s time to get them out. The ways in which your body rids itself of these unwanted compounds include; bowel movements, urine, sweating, and breath. 

If your body fails to eliminate liberated toxins, they’ll continue to roam around in your bloodstream, eventually reincorporating themselves back into your tissues. This makes for unpleasant symptoms and leaves you right back where you started.

Therefore, keeping your elimination systems running smoothly is essential for a complete detox. 

Ginger is a fantastic herb for gut-health. With your bowels being one of your main organs of elimination, this makes ginger a key herb in your detoxification process. It not only provides soothing relief for gas and nausea, but it also enhances gastric emptying. In this way, it allows your bowels to move more smoothly, assisting in the swift removal of toxic build-up in your digestive tract[19][20].

In addition, ginger has a stimulating effect on your blood circulation. Once again, this becomes a big deal when you reach the final elimination stage of detoxification[21]. 

Once liberated, toxins need to move through your bloodstream to one of your organs of elimination. If your blood flow is stagnant, you’ll be stuck circulating those liberated toxins, increasing the chances that they relodge themselves into your tissues.  

By enhancing circulation, ginger helps move those toxic compounds through your body so you can be rid of them once and for all. 

Finally, ginger has the ability to induce sweating. As mentioned above, this is one of your primary pathways for eliminating toxins. By naturally increasing your body temperature, ginger promotes the release of toxins through your skin via your sweat glands[22]. 

People use ginger in a variety of ways for detoxification. You can add ginger to a smoothie, incorporate it into a soup, take a ginger bath, or simply drink ginger tea. I also have a few easy recipes incorporating ginger: this one for fermented carrots and ginger and this one for a flavorful ginger stir fry.

Pulling It All Together

Many people view “detox” or “cleansing” as something they do once a year to get themselves back on track after a holiday or vacation. While these types of cleanses are helpful, the truth is; your body needs help cleansing every single day.

Luckily, nature provides us with a myriad of foods rich in nutrients that support our detoxification processes. This list of the best detox foods is a great place to start if you want to give your liver some extra love daily.

However, for more comprehensive detox support, you may want to try a supplement that contains a broad spectrum of nutrients that can support each phase of detoxification.

I created the Daily Detox supplement precisely for this purpose.

Daily Detox contains a blend of the most well-researched foods for supporting your body’s detoxification processes, and is meant to be used daily as a way to get ahead of toxic overload.

As this article has shown, there are a number of foods that are good for you and your detox. But maybe ginger isn’t your thing. Or maybe too much garlic burns your mouth. Or maybe you just don’t like the taste of eggs or broccoli sprouts!  This is why we spent considerable time formulating Daily Detox to be one of the best-tasting superfood detox formulas in the world today.

It mixes easily with water and has a mild, sweet taste that you’ll come to love. This is key to you consuming it each morning and experiencing all of the life-changing benefits that Daily Detox provides. Learn more about Daily Detox here.

It’s my belief that prevention is the best medicine, so clearing the way for toxins on a daily basis is one of the most crucial steps you can take for the overall health of your body. 

Click here for References+

  1. Mein, Jonathan R., Don R. James, and Shantala Lakkanna. “Induction of phase 2 antioxidant enzymes by broccoli sulforaphane: perspectives in maintaining the antioxidant activity of vitamins A, C, and E.” Frontiers in genetics 3 (2012): 7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3264924/
  2. Ketterer, Brian, Brian Coles, and David J. Meyer. “The role of glutathione in detoxication.” Environmental Health Perspectives 49 (1983): 59-69. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1569131/
  3. Josling, Peter. “Preventing the common cold with a garlic supplement: a double-blind, placebo-controlled survey.” Advances in therapy 18.4 (2001): 189-193. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11697022
  4. Munday, Rex, and Christine M. Munday. “Relative activities of organosulfur compounds derived from onions and garlic in increasing tissue activities of quinone reductase and glutathione transferase in rat tissues.” Nutrition and cancer 40.2 (2001): 205-210. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11962257
  5. Melino, Sm, R. Sabelli, and M. Paci. “Allyl sulfur compounds and cellular detoxification system: effects and perspectives in cancer therapy.” Amino acids 41.1 (2011): 103-112. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20213447
  6. Cha, Chul Whan. “A study on the effect of garlic to the heavy metal poisoning of rat.” J Korean Med Sci 2.4 (1987): 213-224.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3053644/pdf/3268178.pdf
  7. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lead-poisoning/symptoms-causes/syc-20354717
  8. Kianoush, Sina, et al. “Comparison of Therapeutic Effects of Garlic and d‐Penicillamine in Patients with Chronic Occupational Lead Poisoning.” Basic & clinical pharmacology & toxicology 110.5 (2012): 476-481. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22151785
  9. Munday, Rex, and Christine M. Munday. “Relative activities of organosulfur compounds derived from onions and garlic in increasing tissue activities of quinone reductase and glutathione transferase in rat tissues.” Nutrition and cancer 40.2 (2001): 205-210. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11962257
  10. Ozougwa, J. C., and J. E. Eyo. “Hepatoprotective effects of Allium cepa (onion) extracts against paracetamol-induced liver damage in rats.” African Journal of Biotechnology 13.26 (2014). https://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajb/article/view/121067
  11. Chyun, Jong Hee, Hee Jin Park, and Jung-Eun Yim. “Onion peel extracts have hepatoprotective effects and decrease blood levels of LDL cholesterol in liver injuried rats.” (2013): 861-28. https://www.fasebj.org/doi/abs/10.1096/fasebj.27.1_supplement.861.28
  12. Cline, John C. “Nutritional aspects of detoxification in clinical practice.” Altern Ther Health Med 21.3 (2015): 54-62. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/033c/18c84b636747c971adcec6811902350c760f.pdf
  13. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170000/nutrients
  14. Mehedint, Mihai G., and Steven H. Zeisel. “Choline’s role in maintaining liver function: new evidence for epigenetic mechanisms.” Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care 16.3 (2013): 339. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3729018/ 
  15. Corbin, Karen D., and Steven H. Zeisel. “Choline metabolism provides novel insights into non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and its progression.” Current opinion in gastroenterology 28.2 (2012): 159. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3601486/
  16. Nuttall, Kern L., and Fritz S. Allen. “Selenium detoxification of heavy metals: a possible mechanism for the blood plasma.” Inorganica chimica acta 92.3 (1984): 187-189. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0020169300877579
  17. Bernhoft, Robin A. “Mercury toxicity and treatment: a review of the literature.” Journal of environmental and public health 2012 (2012). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3253456/
  18. Sugiura, Yukio, Yoichi Tamai, and Hisashi Tanaka. “Selenium protection against mercury toxicity: high binding affinity of methylmercury by selenium-containing ligands in comparison with sulfur-containing ligands.” Bioinorganic chemistry 9.2 (1978): 167-180. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/698281
  19. Wu, Keng-Liang, et al. “Effects of ginger on gastric emptying and motility in healthy humans.” European journal of gastroenterology & hepatology 20.5 (2008): 436-440. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18403946
  20. Ernst, E., and M. H. Pittler. “Efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials.” British journal of anaesthesia 84.3 (2000): 367-371.https://academic.oup.com/bja/article/84/3/367/264600 
  21. Zadeh, Jalal Bayati, and Nasroallah Moradi Kor. “Physiological and pharmaceutical effects of Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) as a valuable medicinal plant.” European Journal of Experimental Biology 4.1 (2014): 87-90.  https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Nasroallah_Moradi-Kor/publication/268226302_Physiological_and_pharmaceutical_effects_of_Ginger_Zingiber_officinale_Roscoe_as_a_valuable_medicinal_plant/links/5466ea6b0cf2397f7829e78a/Physiological-and-pharmaceutical-effects-of-Ginger-Zingiber-officinale-Roscoe-as-a-valuable-medicinal-plant.pdf
  22. kumar Gupta, Subash, and Anand Sharma. “Medicinal properties of Zingiber officinale Roscoe-A review.” Journal of Pharmacy and Biological Sciences 9.5 (2014): 124-129. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/feb5/1489784d880514c34b4050d13415e0950456.pdf 

in Articles/Detox/Diet

Wendy Myers, FDN-P, is a heavy metals detox expert, functional diagnostic nutritionist and founder of Myersdetox.com. Discover her Myers Detox Protocol and enjoy freedom from fatigue and brain fog with heavy metal detox. Wendy is also the creator of the Mitochondria Detox , the only supplement kit on the market that helps you to remove toxic metals that cause fatigue.