By Rachel Berman, RD – Director of Nutrition, CalorieCount.com
Spring time is here and your spring cleaning may already be well under way. This year, in addition to tackling your closet and cleaning underneath the couch, focus on ‘detox’-ing to spring clean your health. No, I’m not talking about expensive drinks and celebrity cleanses which can be harmful to our bodies with short-lived results. These are marketing gimmicks to get you to shell out money for something you will have to do time and time again. By making changes to your diet, you can naturally ‘detox’ with healthy foods. Add these foods on a regular basis to optimize your health and feel your best inside and out.
Leafy Greens such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale contain cancer fighting compounds called glucosinolates. They are also a great source of calcium which is important for muscle contraction and therefore, can improve the ‘spring in your step.’ Frozen veggies can often be even more nutritious than fresh since they are frozen at the peak of ripeness. Try always keeping a bag in your freezer for quick and easy addition to meals.
Citrus Fruits are loaded with soluble fiber. This type of fiber increases the amount of healthy bacteria in your colon to help flush out toxins from your system. They are also loaded with immune boosting nutrients and antioxidants such as vitamin C, which can improve the health of your skin. Choose the whole fruits, not juices, to get the maximum fiber benefit and improve satiation.
Garlic not only tastes and smells good, but it also has powerful antibiotic, antiviral, and antiseptic properties. It can protect our bodies against cell damage that comes from air pollution, cigarette smoke, radiation, and UV light that contributes to aging, cancer, and heart disease. Season your poultry and fish with garlic to add tons of flavor on few calories.
Green Tea has high amounts of antioxidants called catechins that have been researched for their disease fighting capabilities including protecting the health of our liver. One of the liver’s main functions is to process and remove toxins from our body so its health is important for any ‘detox’ process. Don’t want a hot beverage now that the weather is warmer? Try adding ice for a refreshing afternoon pick-me-up.