There is a lot of hype about doing a “cleanse” or “detox” every so often to rid your body of unwanted chemicals or waste products, but is it really necessary? Can you be healthy without doing a 10 day juice cleanse, or month long sugar detox? Absolutely! As much as supplement companies, diet books, and weight loss programs want you to believe they are necessary, your body actually has its very own detoxing system that does a much better job than any supplement ever could! There are, however certain green salad recipes that can help support these detoxification pathways and that’s what we are going to talk about today!
Liver health is key
Your liver is your body’s own detox powerhouse and works hard to keep your body running at its optimal level. It doesn’t just filter unwanted substances (like drugs and alcohol) from your blood, it does much more! Your liver is responsible for creating bile which helps your body metabolize and absorb fats and some fat soluble vitamins like vitamin K. Without vitamin K your body cannot create clotting factors for healthy blood and healing. Your liver is also responsible for storing carbohydrates to use when your energy is low or you have been without food for a long period of time. It is one of the most important organs for maintaining a normal blood sugar which is essential for feeling energized and free of cravings throughout the day. The liver also stores vitamins and minerals such as A, D, E, K, B12, iron, and copper for when your body needs them, again nutrients that are important for feeling your best.
Look after your kidneys
Your kidneys are two amazing organs that process over 200 quarts of blood each day. They filter out toxins and wastes from the blood and excrete them as urine. They are also in charge of regulating the pH balance of your body, maintain a proper fluid level, electrolyte balance, and even help to maintain a healthy blood pressure. Excess minerals, hormones, ammonia, urea and other waste products are all filtered out and removed from the tissues of the body. It’s very important to keep these organs healthy so the body can be cleansed of these unwanted chemicals and bi-products by drinking plenty of clean water and supporting the kidneys with healthy phytonutrients.
The power of green leafy vegetables
There’s one food that is often overlooked and under-consumed, but crucial for healthy liver and kidney function! Green leafy vegetables (or GLVs as we lovingly refer to them in the nutrition world) are by far the best thing you can eat to help your body in its natural detoxification. GLVs support your body by supplying powerful plant compounds and enzymes needed for detoxing processes. Green vegetables not only contain a lot of vitamins and minerals, but also the pigment: chlorophyll, necessary for photosynthesis. Chlorophyll aids the liver by neutralizing heavy metals, chemicals, and pesticides. GLVs also stimulate the creation and flow of bile, enabling the liver to perform all its digestion-enhancing processes. GLVs are a one of the best sources of Vitamin K, which was mentioned above as being necessary for healthy blood clotting and healing.
Don’t miss out on these amazing nutrients, eat more greens! And not just kale, try eating more spinach, bok choy, Swiss chard, collard greens, beet greens, even romaine lettuce is very nutrient dense without being overly strong or bitter in flavor. Arugula, red leaf, dandelion greens, and mustard greens are a little more bitter, but are delicious when dressed the right way or mixed with milder greens. Eat more cruciferous veggies like cabbage, Brussel sprouts, and broccoli which are also high in vitamin C! Even herbs like parsley, cilantro, and mint have beneficial nutrients for the liver, eat plenty of them as well. Mention beets
GLVs are most nutritious when eaten raw, or lightly steamed and since they contain many fat soluble nutrients (including powerful chlorophyll) its best to eat them with a source of fat! Avoid boiling your greens, as this tends to create the most nutrient losses. Winter is the perfect season to try steamed greens or adding them to everything from soups to pizza! Eating these delicious greens in whole food form is much more filling and nutritious than participating in expensive cleanses and buying supplements.
Try these nutrient dense recipes to support your body’s natural detoxification systems the healthy way!