Winter is the season of holidays and with any good family holiday comes the food. Rich, fattening foods like pumpkin pie, turkey, and creamy soups are a hallmark of the season. For many people, winter is a time to indulge. But it is also a time when toxins flourish in your body, due to the loss of sunshine and ability to exercise outside combined with unhealthy eating habits. As a result, many people experience a loss of energy, weight gain, brain fog, and bloating during the winter months.
A vegetable-based detox is one of the most powerful tools for reducing these symptoms. The perfect detox is a combination of mindful practices and a cleansing, natural diet. Begin by eliminating harmful, toxin-filled foods like soda and junk food. Then, turn to nutritious fruits and vegetables full of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. For maximum effect, choose organic, pesticide-free, seasonal veggies. These five amazing veggies will supercharge your detox and chase away the winter blues.
In recent years, the health community has fallen in love with kale. And for a good reason! This leafy superfood is packed with fiber, yet kale is low calorie with absolutely no fat. The “queen of greens” is also an excellent source of Vitamins K, A, and C, as well as the essential minerals iron and calcium. One final reason to choose kale for your detox is its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Kale is an especially good veggie in a holistic detox for your colon, as its high fiber content quickly moves toxins through the bowels. Enjoy kale raw in a salad, smoothie, or juice like Blake Lively’s fabulous detox juice packed with other healthy greens.
One of the best rules for vegetables is the more colorful, the better. Add some color to your detox with vibrant beets. This sweet root vegetable is a powerful source of many vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C, manganese, iron, phosphorus, and flavonoids. Beets are also full of antioxidants, fiber, and energy-boosting carbohydrates. Raw beets can be eaten on their own, sliced with a little lemon juice, but most people prefer to add them to salads, smoothies, and soup. They can also be roasted for more liver-boosting benefits. Health guru Gwyneth Paltrow especially likes to combine beets with apple, ginger, and carrot in a delicious juice.
#3: Brussel Sprouts
These mini vegetables are one-holiday staple you don’t have to feel guilty about eating. Brussel sprouts are categorized as cruciferous vegetables, along with arugula, cabbage, and others. Cruciferous vegetables should be a staple of any healthy diet, as they are nutritionally dense and may even reduce cancer risk. Brussel sprouts are one of the best vegetable sources of protein and among the top 20 most nutritious foods. They are rich in potassium, vitamin C, folate, vitamin A, vitamin K, manganese, and vitamin B6.
Some may balk at the strong flavor of Brussel sprouts, but when oven-roasted these vegetables become sweet, nutty, and crispy. Add walnuts and cranberries, two more superfoods, for an even healthier dish!
The largest detoxification system in your body is the liver, which filters toxins out of your blood on a daily basis. However, the stress and pollution of modern life can quickly overwhelm the humble liver. Thankfully, vegetables like garlic can stimulate the enzymes in the liver to jump-start the detox process. Garlic has been consumed as a medicinal food for millennia, and for a good reason. It is high in many antioxidants and nutrients including manganese, vitamin C, selenium, and vitamin B6. Plus, the sulfur compounds in garlic are essential for flushing out heavy metal toxins in the system.
When faced with the idea of a vegetable-based diet, many people groan about a lack of flavor. It’s time to bust the myth that detoxes are bland. By incorporating healthy, flavorful spices and veggies like garlic into every meal, you will not only get a flavor boost but reap many health benefits. One of the best ways to eat garlic is adding it to sauteed veggies. Be sure also to try it roasted, which brings out the nutty side of the vegetable.
Broccoli is a powerful vegetable for any detox because it boosts liver function thanks to strong enzymes. It also improves the digestive system with dietary fiber and is associated with a lower risk of colon cancer. Just like its cruciferous cousin the brussel sprout, broccoli is a rich source of vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, and potassium.
Struggling to make broccoli taste better? Try featuring it in soup, like Gwyneth Paltrow’s broccoli and arugula detox soup. You can also add broccoli to fresh pesto for a nutritional sauce.
If you’re looking for a healthy way to banish the winter blues and regain your energy, try cleansing your system with a detox. Clean eating practices using these five seasonal veggies can help revitalize you from the inside out. ‘Tis the season for improving your health!