How to Increase Blood Oxygen Levels: Best Supplements, Foods & Herbs

How to Increase Blood Oxygen Levels
Heidi Moretti AuthorHeidi Moretti, MS, RD
Functional Medicine Nutritionist
Herbal Medicine Expert

Iron | Cordyceps | Chlorella | Foods | Breathing | Exercise | Indoor Plants

In this article: learn how to increase blood oxygen levels naturally using supplements, foods, herbs and other evidence based methods.

How to Increase Blood Oxygen Levels With Supplements

Every cell in our body needs oxygen to properly function. As a part of this mechanism, certain vitamins and minerals are required to deliver oxygen to the cells.

Ideally you should get these nutrients from the foods you eat. Some people however, have low levels and may need to take supplements.

1. Make Sure You Get Enough Iron

Iron is a key component of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs throughout the body.

It is important to make sure you meet your daily requirements of Iron from your diet, and take iron supplements if needed. Below are some of the best ways to get iron from your diet, and a few important facts you should know about iron supplements.

Eat Iron Rich Foods

Iron Foods Oxygen

The best iron rich foods include: oysters, chicken liver, beef liver, bison, and beef. Plant-based sources include pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, parsley, spirulina, and spinach.

If you eat a vegan or vegetarian diet, you may want to look more carefully into your iron levels. The research suggests that plant-based sources of iron (nonheme iron) don’t absorb as well as animal sources. One method that can improve the iron absorption, is to eat vitamin C rich foods with foods that contain iron.[1]

Iron Supplements: More is Not Better

Iron Supplements

Despite eating iron-rich foods, some people may still need iron supplements. Risk factors for iron deficiencies include vegan or vegetarian diets, pregnancy, heavy periods, digestive issues, blood loss and certain conditions.

I know this first hand. My iron deficiency went for decades unchecked. Since iron in its storage form (ferritin) is not routinely screened when you go to the doctor, low iron levels may be overlooked.

I remember this very clearly. Being low in iron affected my energy levels to a point that going up the stairs made my tired.

Taking excessive amount of iron from supplements on the other hand, is not a good solution either, as too much iron can cause issues as well. For this reason, if you suspect you have low iron levels, go and see your doctor and have your levels tested. This way you know if you need iron supplements and the right amount for you.

Iron Supplements Side Effects

If you consider taking iron supplements, go for natural sources. Synthetic iron supplements are well known for their side effects, especially digestive issues such as constipation.

A good example of a natural iron supplement is Iron Fuzion made from organic Murraya koenigii leaves (Curry tree).

2. Cordyceps: The Oxygen Mushroom

How to Increase Blood Oxygen Levels Cordyceps Mushroom

I find the evidence on cordyceps medicinal mushroom fascinating. Especially its ability to improve oxygen use in the body.

The research suggests that cordyceps can improve oxygen uptake into tissues, delay fatigue by improving oxygen kinetics and and increase training volume, particularly in endurance athletes.[2,3]

In fact, some researchers believe that cordyceps may also be useful in cases of Hypoxia, a condition where there’s reduced supply of oxygen in the tissues to sustain normal functions.[4]

As with all herbs and medicinal mushrooms, the source matters. If you consider cordyceps, it is best to get yours for an organic source that guarantees it is grown under the bst conditions, including third party testing.
A good example is cordyceps by medicinal foods.

Chlorella,  Chlorophyll & Oxygen

Chlorella,  Chlorophyll & Oxygen

In my top detox foods article, we discussed how this dark green nutritious single-celled algae can bind and help to remove heavy metals from the body.

The connection to oxygen? According to research, it turned out that chlorella can also help to increase oxygen saturations in the blood. A clinical study showed that 4 weeks of chlorella use improved oxygen lung capacity during exercise in young men and women.[5]

I am pretty sure we’ll see more studies in the upcoming years that will further explore the effect of chlorella on oxygen uptake and exercise performance.

Chlorella is also one of the highest natural sources of chlorophyll, the pigment that gives plants their dark green color. Chlorophyll shares many similarities to hemoglobin, the red blood that carries oxygen in the blood.

How to Increase Blood Oxygen Levels with Foods

Diet, I know. Why can’t we just get that magic pill that makes everything right? Well, until that day comes, the foods we eat and avoid still play a key role in every single aspect of our health.

Below are some of the key oxygen boosting foods you can easily introduce into your diet:

Foods That Increase Nitric Oxide

Nitric oxide (NO) is a molecule that is naturally produced by the body, that plays a key role in vasodilation.

Simply put, nitric oxide relaxes the inner muscles of your blood vessels, causing them to widen and increase circulation. Your blood moves freely and can deliver oxygen and nutrients to your whole body more efficiently.

This is a known mechanism that many pre workout supplements target, by using ingredients that increase nitric oxide in the body.

Eating certain foods that are high in dietary nitrates, can help to increase your nitric oxide levels as well. One you eat these foods, your body can convert nitrates into nitric oxide.

Beetroot Juice

Beetroot Juice Oxygen

In addition to its high nitrates content, beetroot is rich in red and yellow pigments called betalains. According to research, betalains can increase nitric oxide availability in the blood and subsequently increase blood flow and oxygen delivery.[6]

Multiple human studies suggest that beetroot juice can increase nitric oxide in the body, promote oxygenation of muscle tissue and support mitochondrial function.[7]

And it doesn’t take long for you to feel the effect. One study that had recreational runners take beetroot juice for 3 days, found it was able to increase maximum oxygen uptake and peak speed.[8]

Other good sources of dietary nitrates include green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, lettuce and arugula.[9]

Raw Cacao & Dark Chocolate

Raw Cacao & Dark Chocolate

If you need a reason to add dark chocolate to your diet, here’s a good one. In addition to their many health benefits, the flavonoids in cacao can also increase nitric oxide in the body in as little as 4 days.[10]

Not all chocolate products are made the same, though.
Chocolate is made from the beans and seeds of the cacao tree. Most of the chocolates you see at the stores are heavily processed and have very little cacao content.

In its natural unprocessed form, raw cacao is a very good source of minerals, antioxidants, and other health promoting nutrients. So for best results, look for raw organic cacao.
A good example is raw chocolate lover bar.

Another easy option is to add raw cacao powder to your smoothies, nut milks or pre workout shakes. For an example of a homemade raw cacao recipe, see: Low Carb Chocolate Mousse.

Avoid Processed Carbs

Processed carbs create more carbon dioxide and as a result, less oxygen is available. These unhealthy food options can also lead to the infamous sugar crashes and make you feel tired and fatigued.

How to Increase Blood Oxygen Levels With Lifestyle

Lifestyle can play a big role in your blood oxygen levels. The more you can stay active and have a healthy lifestyle, the better your body will use oxygen. As they say, use it or lose it.

Here are a few evidence based methods you can do to increase oxygen:

Exercise & Oxygen Levels

Exercise & Oxygen

When you exercise, your lungs bring more oxygen into the body. This is essential in order to provide energy and remove carbon dioxide, the waste product created when you produce energy. The heart then pumps the oxygen to the muscles to support the exercise.[11]

And we are talking about a lot of oxygen. Depending on the exercise, the increase in oxygen levels can be 100-fold higher than resting values in the contracting skeletal muscle.[12]

With that said, the best exercise to increase blood oxygen levels may be different according to your fitness levels and personal preferences. Choose an activity that you love that you can easily incorporate in your daily routine so it is sustainable. If you have a medical condition, always speak with your doctor before.

Does Deep Breathing Increase Oxygen Blood?

Deep Breathing Increase Oxygen Blood

Looking for a safe and effective way to increase blood oxygen levels that doesn’t require you to eat, drink or even exercise?

Now I am not trying to encourage people not to be active, but the evidence on deep breathing potential benefits to our health and life is truly remarkable.

According to research, slow deep breathing techniques such as ones you may see in traditional yoga practice, can improve oxygen saturation in the blood, lower blood pressure, and even reduce anxiety.[13]

And here’s the big difference compared to exercise. Both exercise and deep breathing can increase blood oxygen levels. With deep breathing, however, you increase your oxygen saturation but not your heart rate.

Indoor Plants to Increase Indoor Oxygen

Indoor Plants to Increase Indoor Oxygen

Plants have the ability to remove carbon dioxide and return oxygen to the air. That’s basic photosynthesis, I know.
But did you know that certain plants can also remove toxins from the air?

In fact, NASA has done a lot of the research on plants use as a natural air filtration system to support the long-term space habitation.

I personally have at least 5 plants per room in my home. Beautiful and functional! Since each plant can remove different toxins, it is best to grow multiple species of houseplants.

If this is an option you want to explore, here are the top ten most effective indoor plants that purify the air according to research:[14]

(Thank you NASA!)

  • Areca palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens)
  • Lady palm (Rhapis excelsa)
  • Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea erumpens)
  • Rubber plant (Ficus elastica)
  • Dracaena (Dracaena deremensis ‘Janet Craig’)
  • English ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Dwarf date palm (Phoenix roebelenii)
  • Ficus (Ficus maclellandii ‘alii’)
  • Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata bostoniensis)
  • Peace lily (spathiphyllum wallisii).

Herbs for Energy: Natural Clean Boost without Stimulants

Herbs for Energy
Heidi Moretti AuthorHeidi Moretti, MS, RD
Functional Medicine Nutritionist
Herbal Medicine Expert

Ginseng | Korean Ginseng | Ashwagandha | Maca | Rhodiola | Schisandra | Peppermint | Recipes

When seeking natural herbs for energy to fuel my day, I like to think beyond coffee. Don’t get me wrong. Coffee has its benefits and can offer a quick boost. The problem is that ongoing caffeine use takes its toll on our body’s sleep-wake cycle.

Eventually we end up feeling stressed out, exhausted and fatigued. Then we need to drink more coffee. It’s that famous caffeine vicious cycle so many people fall into.

Time to take a deeper dive into one of my favorite topics: natural herbs that promotes clean energy that lasts. No caffeine, no jitters, no crashes.

Adaptogenic Herbs for Energy

The herbs I’m going to mention here are adaptogenic herbs, meaning they can naturally help the body adapt to stress.

Adaptogenic herbs regulate energy in the body and improve the cellular energy transfer. Simply put, they allow the body better utilize oxygen, glucose, lipids and proteins to provide us with a steady supply of energy.[1]

The amount of research on these herbs is very impressive. It’s exciting how natural herbs have so much to offer to improve our energy, quality of life, health and wellbeing.

Last thing before we get started: while all the herbs I will mention are found to be both safe and effective, as with any nutritional changes, always check before use with your healthcare provider.

The King of Herbs for Energy: Ginseng

Best Herbs for Energy

I’m so impressed by ginseng health potential, I think it deserves a separate article, one article for each benefit. And there are many of them.

To summarize the evidence, ginseng has a long traditional use with thousands of studies that evaluated its different capabilities. In this article, we’ll focus on its benefits for energy, physical, and mental performance.

Traditional use:
Known as a general tonic, ginseng has been used to boost physical performance, enhance sexual function, encourage general vitality, and promote longevity.

Modern science:
According to research, ginseng and its active constituents, ginsenosides, can increase energy production and improve physical and mental performance. In In addition. ginseng has been extensively studied for its ability to promote healthy immune system function, support central nervous system health, control diabetes, and even benefit neurological disorders.[2]

The Three Types of Ginseng You Need to Know

Best Herbs for Energy Ginseng

Ginseng is a powerhouse herb for energy. Most people who try ginseng really love how it improves energy, stamina, and mental performance.

And the best part? Ginseng doesn’t have any caffeine. It won’t disrupt your sleep. In fact, according to some studies, ginseng can actually improve sleep.

In this article I will discuss the three most popular types of ginseng and their pronteital benefits for energy. All types are so common, chances are you see them under different names every day:

  • Korean Ginseng also known as asian ginseng, red ginseng, or panax ginseng
  • Ashwagandha also known as indian ginseng
  • Maca also known as peruvian ginseng.

While all these types are known to support energy, each have additional different capabilities. You can try each type by itself, or combine them together, as they tend to complement each other.

Ginseng Fuzion which includes all the three types of ginseng is a great example. The liquid drops make it really easy to use, so you can add it to your water, teas or other drinks while on the go.

See the recipes section in the end of the article for some easy to do recipes. No blender is required.

One more thing. Make sure to give ginseng some time to work. As in any natural herbs for energy, not everyone responds the same or need the same serving size. Start low, see how your body responds, and go from there. Especially if you are trying to reduce your coffee intake.

Korean Ginseng: Herb for Energy & Fatigue

Korean Ginseng Herbs for Energy Fatigue

The most common ginseng type used for energy is korean ginseng, also known as asian ginseng, red ginseng, or panax ginseng.

Several studies found that korean ginseng stimulates energy consumption in skeletal muscle and liver. In fact, due to its potent yet gentle effect on energy, the medical community considers korean ginseng as a promising treatment for fatigue in people with chronic illness.[3,4].

In addition to its ability to increase energy levels and reduce fatigue, ginseng may also support healthy weight loss. According to research, ginseng can promote fat metabolism, regulate blood sugar and reduce appetite.[5]

Ashwagandha: Herb for Energy, Endurance & Stress

Ashwagandha

My personal favorite of the adaptogen herbs is ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) also known as indian ginseng.

I often encourage my clients who battle with stress and fatigue to try this herb as a natural way to support their energy and calm their stress levels. They usually come back and report a resounding love for this wonderful plant.

Ashwagandha is a traditional ayurvedic medicine that has become very popular nowadays as a natural supplement for our stressful lifestyle.
Most people who try ashwagandha like its balancing effects. It can relax you and at the same time give you energy.

Due to its potential as a natural herb for energy, ashwagandha is a well studied herb as well. Several studies found that ashwagandha can improve endurance, cardiorespiratory fitness and sense of wellbeing. [5,6].

The benefits of ashwagandha go above and beyond energy. Additional human studies showed that ashwagandha was able to normalize the stress hormone cortisol, improve quality of sleep, reduce food cravings, and even strengthen the muscles.[7,8]

You can supplement ashwagandha as a whole root or in an extract form.  I personally like to have ashwagandha powder added to my tea or as a part of my coffee substitute recipes. You can also mix ashwagandha into your smoothies or foods.

Ashwagandha is a very clean and safe herb with very few side effects reported. With that said, there were a few individual cases of hyperthyroid. While it wasn’t clear if these were actually related to its use, it is always best to speak with your doctor before. Especially if you have hyperthyroid concerns.[9]

Maca: Herb for Energy & Mood

Maca Herbs for Energy

Perhaps most popular for its purported sexual enhancing effects, maca (Lepidium meyenii) is also known as a potent herb for energy. I like to combine maca together with ashwagandha due to their synergistic effect.

According to research, maca contains a group of carbohydrate molecules called polysaccharides (MPS1 and MPS2) that have anti-fatigue effects.[10]
A large clinical trial found that red and black maca enhanced energy and increased overall mood and sense of well-being.[11]

Maca is available in both powder or extract form. If you consider using maca powder, make sure it is either boiled or gelatinized for best absorption.

Fun fact about maca: this herb is actually a cruciferous vegetable!

Rhodiola rosea: Herb for Energy & Stress & Brain Function

Rhodiola Herbs for Energy

Any review of the best clean herbs for energy will never be complete without the adaptogen herb Rhodiola rosea. Originating in Russia and cold european climates, rhodiola has long been used to battle stress, reduce fatigue, boost energy and promote mental clarity.

On top of these traditional uses, rhodiola is another example of a natural herb for energy that is extensively studied. And I mean, a lot of studies. Rhodiola truly shines in its ability to boost energy, enhance exercise performance and improve cognitive function. Yes, we are talking about one herb that does all these together.

To give you an idea, here is a quick summary of some of the research:

Boost energy

Rhodiola supports natural energy by increasing AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), an enzyme that plays a role in cellular energy. In clinical studies, Rhodiola was able to effectively reduce fatigue related to stress.[12,13]

Improve exercise performance

Rhodiola rosea was able to improve exercise endurance performance as well as lung capacity in a clinical study. This includes an ability to reduce the perceived effort of exercise, making it seem easier.[14, 15]

In addition to its ability to boost exercise performance, Rhodiola can help the body better adapt to the exercise. Muscles had less damage and less lactate after exercise in male athletes who received Rhodiola.[16]

Improve cognitive function

A meta-analysis of 36 studies found that Rhodiola was able to optimize key neurotransmitters and improve learning and memory function.[17]

Schisandra: Tonic Herb for a Balanced Overall Energy

Schisandra Herbs for Energy

Next on the list of herbs for energy is one of chinese medicine famous tonic herbs, Schisandra. Also known as magnolia berry, this powerful adaptogen herb is recognized by its ability to promote a well balanced energy.

Several studies have suggested that schisandra can improve physical endurance and cognitive/behavioural functions, which can be linked to a general anti-aging potency. In fact, many researchers believe that schisandra can regulate mitochondrial biogenesis. Mitochondria are the parts in our cells responsible for making energy.[18]

In general, schisandra is a great herb to add into your daily routine.  Many people combine it with ashwagandha and rhodiola for a balancing overall effect. While schisandra is considered safe for most people, you may want to avoid if you have reflux, intracranial pressure, or epilepsy.

Fun fact: the name schisandra translates to five-flavor-fruit due to its unusual combination of five flavors.

Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint Essential Oil

If you haven’t noticed how peppermint awakens the senses, you should give it a try.  Simply inhale its aroma and feel how it energizes you almost instantly!

Several studies actually explored the potential of this aromatic herb to boost energy. According to research, peppermint essential oil enhanced exercise performance and improved memory and focus.[19,20,21]

While a little bit of peppermint is good, more is not always better.  You only need to inhale a little bit of the essential oil and see how you feel. While everyone may respond different, if you find that peppermint does give you more energy, then you definitely want to have a small bottle of peppermint in your gym bag!

Peppermint sensitivity can occur in some people, so always use caution.

Herbs for Energy – Recipes

You can combine all these herbs for energy in your water, drinks, teas, smoothies, juices and even meals.

Ginseng Fuzion which I mentioned earlier makes it easy due to its liquid form. Here are some easy recipes you can use while on the go.

Try to mix 1 ml of Ginseng Fuzion with:

  • Pre workout:
    Beet juice or pomegranate juice to enhance exercise performance, increase blood flow and improve focus
  • Cutting down coffee?
    Mix with green tea (hot or cold) to support your body as you reduce your coffee intake
  • Coffee alternatives:
    Mix with chicory root
  • Post workout:
    Mix with coconut water, a vegan protein powder and BCAAs to help balance cortisol levels, hydrate your body and support protein synthesis and recovery
  • Gentle energy during cleansing:
    Cleansing doesn’t mean low energy. Mix Ginseng fuzion with your favorite detox tea.
    See: Candida Tea Recipe for an example of a detox antifungal tea recipe that includes green tea, coconut oil, cinnamon, ginger, and lemon.

Final Thoughts

Adaptogenic herbs offer a safe and effective natural way to power your day, improve your physical and mental performance, and help your body to better adapt to stress.

As in all herbs, the source matters. Make sure to choose reputable brands that stand behind the quality and purity of their herbs. Always check with your doctor before using. If you are pregnant, you should generally avoid herbs, since most herbs weren’t tested on pregnant women.

Vitamins For Liver Health: Evidence-Based Foods, Supplements & Recipes

Vitamins for Liver
Heidi Moretti AuthorHeidi Moretti, MS, RD
Functional Medicine Nutritionist
Detoxification Expert

Vitamin A | Vitamin B12 | Niacin | Vitamin D | Vitamin E | Omega 3 | Recipes

There is a backstory behind my interest in liver health, and more specifically, vitamins for liver health. The numbers of liver disease caused by poor diets are growing by the minute. I see SO many young people with liver disease more than ever before. I believe a lot of these can be avoided with healthy eating.

In this article, I will share with you several key vitamins for liver health, and the best ways to get them from foods, easy to make recipes, and when needed, supplements.

Top Vitamins For Liver Health

Several foods are specifically high in vitamins for liver health, that despite an impressive amount of research, are often missed from our plates. Many people don’t realize that some of these vitamins can go a long way to helping liver function.

Vitamin A & Beta Carotene

Liver Vitamin A & Beta Carotene

I am very excited to start the list of vitamins for liver health with vitamin A. Due to its importance and also since it’s quite easy to get from natural foods.

Both its active (Retinol) and carotene forms are needed, especially since some people can’t effectively convert carotenes into active vitamin A due to genetics. More on that below.

Vitamin A as Retinol

Active vitamin A, or retinol, comes from animal foods like cod liver oil, liver, fish, and meats. Since the liver is the main storage site of vitamin A, one of the best source of vitamin A comes from animal liver.

While eating high quality of animal liver is generally healthy, caution should be taken if you have a history of iron overload or high cholesterol. Always speak with your doctor before starting any new supplements or meal plans.

According to research, vitamin A can effectively reduce fat in the liver and help control inflammation. As in any of the other vitamins for liver health, the benefits don’t stop here. The body needs vitamin A to make hormones and increases immunity signaling that can ramp down inflammation, such as t-regulatory cells.[1,2]

Beta Carotene

β-Carotene is the orange-red pigment you often see in many vegetables and fruits that serve as the precursor for vitamin A. According to research, Beta carotene can protect liver tissues from toxins in the air, such as pollutants and unwanted chemicals.

You should always make sure to get carotene-rich foods on top of retinol, as it has additional functions and benefits.

Carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and winter squash are great ways to get more carotene in your diet.

Other sources of beta carotene include dark leafy greens such as kale, and spinach. You may wonder how come these greens are high in Beta carotene but are not orange or red? Since greens also contain high levels of chlorophyll (the green pigment), the dominant color of the plants ends up as dark green which  “covers” the orange or red pigment.

Problems with Retinol Conversion

Due to genetics, some people can’t effectively convert carotenoids into active vitamin A.[3]

I’m actually one of these people.  Right away I noticed improvements in my health when I started focusing on getting more retinol from my diet.

On that note, unlike beta-caretone (the body uses what is needed, and get rids of the excess), you have to be careful with retinol supplements, as you can overdo it.  It is always best to get it from natural food sources if possible. Make sure to choose cod liver, fish, and meats from clean, preferably wild sources that are low in mercury and heavy metals.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency & Liver Health

Vitamin B12 Liver Health

Vitamin B12 deficiency is something that I am continually encountering because of today’s food trends, poor gut health, and also medications that rob the body of vitamin B12.

Many people don’t realize that vitamin B12 is actually essential for a healthy liver. The research data suggests a connection between low levels of vitamin B12 and non alcoholic fatty liver.

On top of the importance of vitamin b12 to liver health, the body needs vitamin B12 to make red blood cells, protect nerves, and reduce inflammation; a problem in people who have liver damage. In fact, vitamin B12 can suppress the production of inflammatory compounds generated from our immune system called cytokines.[4]

Vitamin B12 Supplements

The most reliable sources of vitamin B12 are animal meats and fish. For this reason, vegans and vegetarians need to take B12 supplements and monitor their levels. The risks of low vitamin B12 levels, however, are not limited to vegans and vegetarians. So it is best to check your levels, and take supplements if needed.

When it comes to B12 supplements, the absorption of natural “active” forms of vitamin B12 such as Adenosylcobalamin and Methylcobalamin is shown to be much more effective than synthetic ones. In fact, one study found that the combination of these forms  was comparable to vitamin B12 injection.[5]

VEGANSAFE B-12 is a good example of a vitamin B12 supplement that uses these two natural active forms of vitamin B12. It is also one of the few vitamin B12 supplements out there that is certified organic.

Niacin (Vitamin B3) & Liver

Niacin (Vitamin B3) Liver

In addition to vitamin B12, it is important to meet all your B vitamins as they can also support liver health.

Niacin or vitamin B3, shines in this regard due to its ability to reduce cholesterol, triglycerides and fatty blood lipids. Studies found that people who eat more niacin rich foods have less liver fat.[6]

Good food sources of niacin include: animal liver (once again), chicken, turkey, and wild fish like wild salmon, and tuna.[7]

Vegetarian sources include portabella mushrooms, avocados, peanuts, rice and potatoes.  If you are vegan or vegetarian, make sure to check the amounts you get from your foods, to make sure you get enough niacin.

Vitamin D3 & Your Liver

Vitamin D Liver

Vitamin D3 is actually a hormone your body makes after sun exposure. Several studies have found a link between low levels of vitamin D3 to liver health. The researchers believe that vitamin D3 can help protect the liver from inflammation, insulin resistance and nonalcoholic fatty liver.[8]

Unfortunately, many people have low vitamin D levels due to our modern lifestyle that encourages working indoors, and once out, heavy sunscreen use. This is not just a problem in cold climates, and it is usually among the first vitamins checked in standard blood tests.

While the body primarily make vitamin D3 after sun exposure, you can still get some amounts from fatty fish such as wild salmon, and some types of mushrooms, depending on their growing conditions.

Vitamin D3 supplements are often taken considering how common vitamin D deficiency is. You should work with your doctor to test your levels and determine the vitamin D3 dose you need.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E Liver

Do you know that over 90 percent of Americans don’t get enough vitamin E from their diet?  For most people, this should be a super simple fix.  Just add in some of the following, one or more servings per day: avocados, raw almonds or sunflower seeds, and olive oil. Also try some clean source of almond milk for a vitamin E boost.

The researchers found that Vitamin E helps protect the liver cells due to its strong antioxidant effect. Also here, your body needs vitamin E for many other functions.

Omega 3 Fats & Liver Health

Omega 3 Fats & Liver Health

While not vitamins, omega 3 fats are a critical component for liver health, especially in reducing inflammation and fats in the liver.[9]

Wild fish are the most concentrated way to increase omega 3 fats in your diets, especially their long-chain DHA and EPA.

Make sure to choose small wild-caught fish from clean areas, such as wild alaskan salmon, to avoid high mercury content. Farmed fish are usually raised on a diet that is not intended for fish (such as corn), and as such, many health experts do not consider them as a healthy option.

For vegans, good sources of omega 3 include chia seeds, flaxseed and hemp seeds. Plant sources of Omega 3, however, have a low conversion rate to DHA & EPA. So if you follow a vegan or a vegetarian diet, you may want to take omega 3 supplement from algae oil.

Recipes to Support Nutrients & Vitamins for Liver Health

It’s easy to put together meals that support liver detox and maintain a healthy liver.  Below are some easy options. A major benefits of eating whole foods, is that they support your entire body.

Try to sit in the sun while enjoying the following recipes to soak up some liver healthy vitamin D.

Liver Health Salad Recipe

Liver Health Salad Recipe

Servings: 1 people
Author: Heidi Moretti, MS, RD

Ingredients

  • ½ cup fresh raw carrots, grated (beta carotene)
  • 2 cups organic spinach (beta carotene)
  • 1 medium avocado, sliced (vitamin E)
  • 1 oz raw sunflower seeds (vitamin E)
  • 3 oz wild alaskan salmon, grilled, or baked (niacin, vitamin B12, Vitamin D, omega 3 )
  • 1 cup broccoli, whole pieces, raw or lightly steamed (vitamin C, antioxidants that support liver health)
  • 5 small fresh cherry tomatoes optional

Dressing

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin (vitamin E)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Himalayan salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Combine all the ingredients on your plate.
  • Add Himalayan salt and pepper to taste.

Vegan Options:

  • Instead of the salmon, sprinkle on 2 tbsp of nutritional yeast and 1 ounces hemps seeds (omega 3).
  • Make sure to supplement vitamin B12 and vitamin D3

Liver Health Salad Recipe Nutritional Label

Liver Health Salad Recipe Nutrition Label

Bonus: Liver Health Guacamole

Liver Health Guacamole

So many dishes are served with processed bread or crackers. There are many healthy alternatives, however, that also include some of the key vitamins for liver health.

Use fresh carrots, celery or sweet potato slices instead of processed crackers using yummy liver friendly appetizers, and a healthy guacamole as a dip.

If you are a Guacamole fan, make sure to try the Detox Healthy Guacamole Recipe.

Read Next

Liver Detox Supplements & Herbs:  Learn about unique nutrients and herbs that have powerful natural liver detoxification properties.

Heavy Metal Detox Smoothie: Powerful Recipe For The Best Cleanse

heavy metal detox Smoothie
Heidi Moretti AuthorHeidi Moretti, MS, RD
Functional Medicine Nutritionist
Detoxification Expert

Recipe | Nutrition Label | Research

Heavy metals are good if they are rock bands, but they have no place in our bodies!  All kidding aside, I am often surprised at how little the medical community speaks about heavy metals, because over the course of a lifetime, they can take a toll on the cardiovascular system, brain, nervous system, digestive tract, skin health, and liver function.

When I was in graduate school, the idea of mercury was obscure, and we only thought that people who ate swordfish had to worry about it.  Today, the concern for heavy metal toxicity has grown because of pollution in the oceans, in the air, and in the soils has grown exponentially across the globe.

In this article, I will share with you several evidence-based healthy, simple, natural and safe steps we can all take to begin to gently remove heavy metals from our body.

Heavy Metal Detox Smoothie Recipe

Below is my favorite heavy metal detox smoothie recipe, using a combination of foods and herbs known for their heavy metal detox abilities, such as moringa, chlorella, cilantro, probiotic foods, and selenium-rich foods.

I will also discuss the research behind the ingredients I use including different options to help you tailor the smoothie recipe to your own preferences.

heavy metal detox Smoothie
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Heavy Metal Detox Smoothie Recipe

My favorite heavy metal detox smoothie recipe, using a combination of foods and herbs known for their heavy metal detox abilities, such as moringa, chlorella, cilantro, probiotic foods, and selenium-rich foods.
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Breakfast, Heavy Metal Detox Smoothie
Cuisine: American, Indian
Keyword: Heavy Metal Detox Smoothie
Servings: 1 people
Calories: 530kcal
Author: Heidi Moretti, MS, RD

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup wild blueberries
  • 2 cups almond milk unsweetened, plain
  • 1 ml moringa drops
  • 2 nuts brazil nuts
  • ½-2 grams Chlorella around 5-10 capsules, start with the lowest serving size
  • 1 ounce cilantro
  • 2 whole kiwi
  • 1 ounce chia seeds
  • 1 medium banana optional
  • 8 fl oz kombucha optional

Instructions

  • Soak chia seeds in two cup of almond milk overnight, store in the refrigerator
  • Blend all the ingredients together until smooth.
  • Add 1 ml moringa drops
  • Drink in the morning on an empty stomach

Nutrition

Calories: 530kcal

Other options I often do:

  • Simply mix chlorella into my kombucha drink
  • Add chlorella and cilantro in my other smoothies recipes.

Related Recipes: Overnight colon cleanse
Related Supplements: Organic selenium,  Zeotrex, Moringa extract drops.

Heavy Metal Detox Smoothie Nutrition Label

Heavy Metal Detox Smoothie Nutrition Label

Heavy Metal Detox Ingredients: Summary of Research

Below is a summary of the ingredients used in the recipe, and their main benefits for heavy metal detox.

  • Wild blueberries: (Anthocyanin)
    Are rich in anthocyanin (purple pigment) known to protect the body from heavy metals, including neuroprotective benefits.
  • Moringa:
    Different parts of the moringa plant are reported to have the ability to remove heavy metals from the body, and to reduce their oxidative stress.[1]
    Moringa extract drops make it easier to use in smoothies and juices.
  • Brazil nut:  (Selenium)
    One brazil nut (5 grams) provides over 150% of your daily value of selenium, an important mineral known to bind and detox heavy metals in the body.
  • Chlorella:
    Has the ability to bind to heavy metals, and is also a concentrated source of nutrients, including chlorophyll, another potent natural detoxifier.
  • Cilantro:
    Known ability to bind to heavy metals.
  • Chia seeds: (Fiber)
    Very high in fiber to help eliminate heavy metals and promote healthy bowel movements.
  • Kombucha: (probiotics)
    Probiotic many healing benefits also includes detox heavy metals (see research section below). I know this may sound like a strange combination, but kombucha actually taste good in this smoothie!
  • Almond milk: (Vitamin E)
    Rich in vitamin E, which may help chelate lead.[2]
  • Kiwi: (Vitamin C)
    Rich in vitamin C, which also may chelate lead, by itself or with vitamin E.[3]
  • Banana: (Fiber, taste)
    Added due to its fiber content, and also to improve flavor and creaminess.

Chlorella for Heavy Metal Detox

Chlorella for Heavy Metal Detox

Chlorella is a powerful single-celled algae shown in studies to bind to toxins and heavy metals in water, and also inside our body.

According to research, chlorella acts like a sponge to heavy metals such as mercury and can “soak them up” so they can be eliminated with the stool.

In fact, several studies found that chlorella can bind to heavy metals in people who have silver fillings.  It may even remove mercury from nerve tissue by eliminating this harmful substance through the bowel movements and urine.  The benefits of chlorella aren’t just for mercury either; some evidence suggests it may be helpful in removing other dangerous heavy metals like cadmium from the body.

Not only does chlorella bind with toxic metals, it also provides healthy nutrients for the body like iron, chlorophyll, and protein. As a natural way to improve health, there isn’t much to lose by adding some chlorella into your daily life to gently help the body remove unwanted metals.

I use a daily dose of chlorella, at about 1 -3 tsp per day in my smoothie.  A little bit goes a long way!  Start with ½-1 tsp per day and work your way up.  If you add too much, you may experience some digestive side effects or a healing crisis. Remember, detox is all about restoring balance. It’s not a sprint, but rather a part of an ongoing healthy lifestyle.

Cilantro’s Powerful Effects Against Heavy Metals

Cilantro’s Powerful Effects Against Heavy Metals

Another easy step anyone can do to help the body clear heavy metals is to eat cilantro regularly.  This relative of parsley has the ability to safely remove heavy metals from the body too.

While we only have about a dozen case reports where cilantro has been used for heavy metal toxicity, all these cases showed impressive improvements.  The case reports even visualized a reduction in heavy metal content in the body by observing MRI’s. Animal studies also show that cilantro can safely remove lead from the body.

It is still not clear how exactly cilantro works to detox heavy metals, but since it’s safe and also delicious, this is an easy add-in to your daily meals.  In fact, I’m going to buy some more for dinner tonight!

A great way to have cilantro is to chop it up and add it to salads, add fresh cilantro as a condiment to soups, make a cilantro pesto, and add to your green smoothies.

Zinc & Selenium for Heavy Metal Detox

Zinc & Selenium for Heavy Metal Detox

Both zinc and selenium are essential minerals that can also naturally bind to heavy metals and safely remove them from the body.

Unfortunately, with selenium, our soils content affects how much selenium our food will have.  For example, the region I live in is very low in selenium, so if I am to eat local foods, I better consider taking selenium supplements routinely. People who work in agriculture are very aware of this because their livestock will die without enough selenium. For humans, an average daily dose of selenium is around 100-200 mcg.

The required amount of zinc per day varies, depending on your body size, the form it comes in your diet, and more.  For example, zinc in plant foods is poorly absorbed, while it is well absorbed from fish and meats. Also, many medications make zinc absorption poor, such as stomach medications, blood pressure pills and others.  In these cases, it is important to consider zinc supplementation. On average, a normal daily amount of zinc is around 10-15 mg.

As in many essential minerals, more is not always better. So no need to get overboard with zinc and selenium. Try to get your daily supply from whole foods such as oysters, wild salmon, and brazil nuts, and consider supplementation if needed.

Probiotic Foods & Heavy Metals

Probiotic Foods & Heavy Metals

Did you know that fermented foods like kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir, and kimchi can help remove heavy metals from the body too?

According to research, certain type of bacteria found in these foods have the ability to bind to toxic metals in the gut, so they can be eliminated with the stool.

I love fermented foods and won’t go a day without them in my diet.  I feel that anyone struggling with heavy metal toxicity symptoms should do the same.

While you can supplement probiotics too, the complexity of fermented foods supports many aspects of digestive health and provides healthy polyamines for the body. The only caution I would give here is to people who are sensitive to tyramines or need to avoid tyramines.

Heavy Metal Detox Smoothie – How Often?

All the ingredients in this heavy metal detox smoothie support your body in a natural, safe, and gente way. You can drink it regularly, as a part of a healthy lifestyle to promote health and well-being.

Liver Detox Supplements & Herbs: Best Evidence Based Natural Options

Liver Detox Supplements Herbs
Heidi Moretti AuthorHeidi Moretti, MS, RD
Functional Medicine Nutritionist
Detoxification Expert

Glutathione | NAC | Milk thistle | Dandelion | Chanca Piedra | Turmeric

In our last article, we talked about the top detox foods that can help enhance your body’s natural toxin filters organs. But what about detox supplements?

The science which I am about to share, is actually very exciting. There are unique nutrients and herbs shown in many studies to have powerful natural detoxification properties, some, can even help the body to repair damaged tissues.

On that note, detox supplements are extremely popular, but not all of them are effective or even safe. Something to consider before you go to Walmart and have your cart loaded with dozens of cleansing shakes and detox pills.

In this supplements detox review, we will focus on the primary organ of detoxification, the liver. Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter, so you also get the next articles which will cover other key body systems and detox supplements for the kidneys, colon, heavy metals, candida yeast, parasites and others.

My Top Liver Detox Supplements (Evidence-Based)

Top Liver Detox Supplements

The liver converts toxic substances into harmless elements or makes sure they are released in the bowels so they can be eliminated throughout bowel movements. Certain detox supplements and herbs are shown to support these liver functions including the regeneration of new liver cells.

Important: before you go into cellular or liver detox, always make sure your gut is working properly, so that the released toxins will be eliminated by your digestive system effectively and will not reabsorbed back into the circulation. This can be achieved by a healthy diet and several supplements or herbs.

To learn more, see: gut cleanse.

Here are the top detox supplements that are supported by science to help cleanse your liver:

Glutathione (GSH)

Glutathione for Liver Detox Supplements

Glutathione is one of the most potent antioxidants and cellular detoxifier found in virtually every cell in the body. Specifically to its detox affect, Glutathione has the ability to bind to water-soluble toxins, so they are marked or targeted to be removed by the body.[1]

Due to its key role in detoxification, the science on Glutathione is extremely extensive. According to the research, glutathione can help neutralize toxins known as persistent organic pollutants, or POPs, such as dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), lindane, DDT.[2]

Some evidence even suggests that Glutathione can help reduce liver damage due to alcohol.[3]

N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)

Another liver detoxification superstar, NAC is an amino acid used by the body to make Glutathione. NAC has long been used as a detoxification therapy for acetaminophen toxicity (Tylenol).[4]

In case you are wondering why you should be taking the precursor to Glutathione, rather than Glutathione itself, here’s why:

According to research, oral supplementation of Glutathione alone does not adequately restore GSH levels. It is rapidly broken down by the liver and intestines. Oral NAC administration however, was shown to increase cysteine levels, ultimately leading to increases in Glutathione.

Even more, due to its acetylated form, NAC can effectively penetrate the blood–brain barrier and raise brain Glutathione, which may provide neuroprotective benefits.[5]

Not surprisingly, you can see many liver detox supplements protocols that combine both NAC and Glutathione.

Use of NAC in Prevention of Hangover Symptoms

Use of NAC in Prevention of Hangover Symptoms

Due to its potency as a natural liver detox supplement, NAC has gained a reputation as a home remedy for hangover prevention, with an abundant research data to support its effectiveness.[6,7]

With that being said, I would personally be very careful regarding this use, as it may lead to you drinking more alcohol.

These hangover signs occur for a reason. It’s your body’s way of telling you, “hey, I have had enough of this toxic drink.” You feel really bad and hopefully next time, your brain will remind you that. So you drink less.

I rather you taking NAC or other detox supplements to promote your over health, rather than supporting unhealthy lifestyle choices. It’s like smoking and taking antioxidants to correct the damage.

Liver Detox Herbs

Along with glutathione and NAC, there are several herbs well studied for their potent natural liver detoxification effect:

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum)

Milk thistle Liver Detox Herbs

Milk thistle is a beautiful purple thistle in the Asteraceae family of plants. This plant is well-known in the detox community as being an important herb to include in any liver detox or liver support protocol.

The evidence of the use of milk thistle for liver health takes us back over 2000 years ago across several cultures around the world. The Greco Romans were using milk thistle for both gallbladder and liver problems. Fast forward to the 19th century, early research done by German scientists already demonstrated milk thistle health benefits.

Most of the modern research on milk thistle focus on its active components collectively known as silymarin. Several studies have found that silymarin may act as a toxin blockade agent by inhibiting binding of toxins to the liver cell membrane receptors.

Due to its antioxidant effect, silymarin was also shown to reduce free radical production and lipid peroxidation as well.

Multiple studies found that silymarin reduced liver injury caused by acetaminophen, carbon tetrachloride, radiation, iron overload, alcohol, and other toxins.

The research also show promise in using silymarin as a natural alternative for alcoholic liver disease, acute and chronic viral hepatitis and toxin-induced liver diseases.[8]

As in any medicinal use of a natural ingredient, much more studies are needed until a final approach will be formalized by the medical community. Still, when it comes to natural supplements and liver detox herbs, milk thistle is one of the most studied option, that also show the most promise.

Fun fact: Some research suggests that milk thistle derived extract can be helpful to neutralize poisoning from death cap mushrooms by reducing liver damage.[9]

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Dandelion liver cleanse herbs

A great compliment to milk thistle that may also help reduce toxins in the liver and restore healthy liver tissue, is a temperate climate flowering weed called dandelion.

Traditional use of dandelion for liver health goes back to Arabia in the 10th century, where it was used to treat several liver complaints, and as a diuretic, nausea and vomiting conditions in India and Europe.

Dandelion is also extensively studied. According to research, dandelion may help protect the liver by reducing several inflammatory compounds stimulating glutathione production, and increasing antioxidant enzymes in the liver as well, including superoxide dismutase, and catalase. [10,11,12]

Even more interesting, when dandelion was given to mice exposed to a toxin called carbon tetrachloride, dandelion was shown to have a protective effect and also promoted healing of the liver tissues.[13]

How to Use Dandelion to Detox Your Liver

Depending where you live, you may see fresh dandelion leaves and even dry roots in your local store.

Many people find the flavor of dandelion greens bitter, so adding olive oil and lemon can help improve the taste of the dandelion greens. You can also may a detox tea with the leaves or the roots. Add a bit of honey or stevia to improve taste.

Dandelion is also highly available in liver detox supplements and herbal formulas, usually with milk thistle and other liver cleansing herbs.
A good example can be found here.

Always make sure to use organic dandelion to make sure it isn’t sprayed with chemicals.

Chanca Piedra (Phyllanthus niruri)

Liver Cleansing Herbs Chanca Piedra

With a long traditional use for liver and kidney health that is also backed up by science, this exotic tropical plant is a very popular natural option that may benefit most liver detox programs.

Also here, the science is very promising. According to research, Chanca Piedra can support normal liver function by regulating fibrosis, LDL cholesterol, insulin and arterial plaque.[14]

In fact, some studies even evaluated Chanca Piedra as a natural alternative for the treatment of hepatitis B and viral hepatitis.[15,16,17,18]

Similarly to the milk thistle research, no conclusive finding or recommendations were made by the medical community.
Still enough evidence however, to consider Chanca Piedra as a natural safe option for your liver detox supplements stack.

Fun fact: due to its long traditional use to treat and prevent kidney stone, Chanca piedra is well known as “stonebreaker”. Most natural kidney detox supplements have it as one of the main ingredients. Will cover it in more details in our next article on kidney cleanse.

Turmeric rhizome (Curcuma longa rhizome)

turmeric and curcumin

While most known for its ability to help with joint pain and inflammation, turmeric has a long traditional use for detoxification purposes, that is also backed up by science.

The science on turmeric and liver health is quite fascinating and has shown to be very promising. According to research, curcumin, the active component in turmeric, can improve liver enzymes and reduce liver injury from various toxins, even with patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver.[19,20,21]

The data suggests it is turmeric’s potent antioxidants effect that can help to suppress oxidative stress in the liver. Many researchers see turmeric and curcumin as potential therapeutic antioxidant agents for the treatment of various liver disease.

Of course, we’ll have to see much more studies before the medical community will have any recommendation regarding the use of turmeric for liver health. In the meanwhile, as a natural alternative, turmeric and curcumin are definitely one of the most powerful natural liver detox supplements and herbs.

Fun fact: Turmeric has been used traditionally to neutralize snake venom, including the deadly King Cobra, potent detoxification, indeed.[22]

How to Use Turmeric to Detox your Liver

Adding turmeric to spice your meals or shakes is a great way to enjoy some of his health benefits, although a common issue with turmeric and curcumin, is they have a poor absorption and bioavailability in the body. A known traditional remedy to address these that is also backed up by science is to consume turmeric with black pepper or fats.

In fact, according to research, piperine, the major active component of black pepper can increase the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000%[23].

Another popular option shown to enhance the absorption of curcumin, is to combine it together with phospholipids. Both options are commonly seen in many turmeric and curcumin supplements.

Summary

As you can see, there are several liver detox supplements and herbs that can help support healthy liver function, reduce liver fats, increase antioxidants, and even heal liver tissue.

While these all shown to be very effective, you will get much more benefits if you follow a healthy diet. A good example is my article on the Best 8 Detox Foods.

As with any natural program, make sure to check with your healthcare provider because you use these supplements and herbs, especially since some of these can interfere with medications.

Read Next

Detox Foods: 8 Most Powerful Options For The Best Body Cleanse

Detox Foods
Heidi Moretti AuthorHeidi Moretti, MS, RD
Functional Medicine Nutritionist
Detoxification Expert

Broccoli Sprouts | Protein | Lemon | Cilantro | Garlic | Apples | Chlorella | Turmeric

In this article, I will share with you 8 powerful foods with unique natural properties in them that are backed up by science to help your body detox naturally, effectively and safely.

We all know that we need foods to nourish our body, repair and rebuild damaged tissues. The detox foods I am about to share with you, have both: nourishment and toxins elimination.

On that note, very often people get excited with detox diets and cleansing, and perhaps think less about eating well. I want to remind you that for a healthy body, it is essential to find that balance between detoxification and nourishment.

Related posts:

Is It Necessary to Detox Your Body?

Detox Foods how to detox your body

“We live in a modern world where new chemicals and toxins are being introduced all the time. Then the combination of those chemicals is making new chemicals that we’ve never seen before. Our bodies do not always identify these new toxins correctly or know how to effectively get rid of them”.

Dr. Jennifer Kessmann, MD, 
Functional Medicine Approach to Biotransformation

Never before were we exposed to so many potential toxins in our environment. These toxins may come from:

  • Air pollution
  • Foods such as processed foods, herbicides and pesticides in fruits and vegetables
  • Water
  • Common beverages that often contain various chemicals such as artificial sweeteners
  • Skin care products
  • Homes (cleaning products, pest control products, toxic mold growth).

How to Detox Your Body?

How to detox your body with foods
Toxins can enter the body through air, skin, food and water. Your body naturally releases toxins through the sweat, urine and stool. There are natural ways to strengthen and support these natural filtration systems and organs of elimination in the body to optimize health:

  • Liver:
    Converts toxic substances into harmless substances or makes sure they are released in the bowels so they can be eliminated throughout normal bowel movements.
  • Digestive System:
    Essential for eliminating toxins and waste through the stool.
  • Kidneys:
    Filter water soluble toxins so they can be eliminated through the urine.
  • Lymphatic system:
    Helps remove toxins from the interstitial fluid in between the cells.
  • Skin:
    Eliminates certain toxins through sweat

The Top 8 Detox Foods (Evidence Based)

Here are the top detox foods that are backed by science to help support your body’s natural filtration systems:

1: Broccoli Sprouts, My Favorite Detox Superfood

Broccoli Sprouts Detox Foods

Broccoli sprouts are not the same as a head of broccoli.  They are the sprouted seeds of broccoli that have 10-100 times the amount of cancer-fighting compounds compared to regular broccoli.[1]
As a functional nutritionist that works with many clients with toxicity issues, Broccoli sprouts are one of my favorite foods to support detoxification.

Here are a few reasons why you should consider eating Broccoli sprouts to help detox your body:

  • Broccoli sprouts can help clear air pollutant toxins from the body:[2]
    This was shown even in a population of people heavily exposed to excessive air pollutants! A Chinese study had 291 people consume broccoli sprouts or placebo for 12 weeks. The researchers found that the broccoli sprouts group had 61% less benzene and 23% less acrolein in their blood than the placebo group. Benzene and acrolein are both air pollutant toxins that can increase the risk of cancer.
  • Broccoli sprouts may promote enzyme production that protect against certain chemical carcinogens:[3]
    While you may get these cancer protection abilities from eating broccoli, research suggests that broccoli sprouts are much more effective.
  • Broccoli sprouts are packed with nutrients:
    In addition to these impressive toxins removal properties, several studies suggest that broccoli sprouts are much more concentrated compared to the mature broccoli. Even when eating small amounts, you will be getting much more.

How to Eat Broccoli Sprouts When Detoxing

Always eat broccoli sprouts raw; avoid cooking to prevent destroying the sulforaphane and other compounds.

While some people find that broccoli sprouts taste bitter, adding them in the following ways can help reduce the bitter taste.  I like to add a mustard vinaigrette to balance the flavors. You can add fresh raw broccoli sprouts to salads, blend into your morning smoothie, or add as a condiment to any dish.

2: Protein: A Forgotten Detox Pillar

protein detox foods

Many people make the mistake of following a juice or vegetable fast for a cleanse for several weeks and as a result, do not eat enough protein  Your body needs enough amino acids as they play a key role in the repair process including your muscles, skin, hair and other tissues.

You may be wondering then, why I consider protein as a detox food. Certain amino acids are also essential to support your detox pathways in the body. If you go too low, you may be at a risk for impaired detoxification.

For example, protein is the building block of the master antioxidant in the body known as glutathione. Glutathione is well known for its ability to reduce damage from toxic chemicals in the body. In fact, many researchers consider it as one of most potent natural detox agents in the body.[4]

How to Get Enough Protein During Your Detox Plan

Make sure to include healthy proteins each time you eat.  This can include grass-fed beef, wild game, organic eggs, spirulina, chlorella, poultry, nuts, and seeds. Caveat: many toxins are found in commercial animal proteins and fish, so choose organic and clean sources.

No need to get overboard, just make sure you eat enough. Your body’s protein needs depend on your age, health, weight, the amount of exercise you do, and other factors. A general rule of thumb is to eat around 60-100 grams of protein foods for an average weight person.

3: Lemon Detox

Lemon Detox

I am a big fan of the traditional Ayurvedic medicine practice of drinking warm water with lemon in the morning on an empty stomach to promote healthy digestion. Besides the long traditional use, the cleansing and detoxifying effect of lemon has actually been studied and suggested by multiple studies.

To summarize the key evidence, the nutrients in lemon can help:

Liver & Kidney Cleanse:
The research data suggests that lemon and lime juices can prevent kidney stone formation due to their high citric acid content. Citrate has the ability to bind with urinary calcium and calcium oxalate crystals which may help to prevent crystal growth.[5,6]

As for the liver cleansing benefits of lemon juice, the data suggests that lemon juice can regulate elevated levels of serum ALT and AST liver enzymes as well to balance triacylglycerol and lipid peroxidation in the liver.[7]

Protect the digestive tract:
Limonene, one of the main antioxidants found in lemons, was shown in one study to restore and protect the stomach lining from toxins, including alcohol and ibuprofen.[8]

How to Use Lemons When Detoxing

I always like to bring fresh lemon slices to the table to squeeze onto vegetables, meats, and fish just before serving. Most of my clients are excited when their digestion improves with using lemons.

You can also add fresh squeezed lemon juice to your water in the morning.  For an extra healthy morning tonic drink, add a tablespoon of raw unpasteurized apple cider vinegar to the water.  Lemons can be added to just about any food to make them healthier and tastier: add to stir-fry dishes, stews, soups, salads, baked chicken, and more.

4: Cilantro: The Detox Herb You Have to Know

Cilantro The Detox Herb You Have to Know

Cilantro is a nutritious herb that can be very helpful as a natural way to remove excess heavy metals and help detoxify the body. These detox benefits  include:

Chelation:
According to research, Cilantro is able to bind, or chelate heavy metals, such as lead, in the digestive tract.[8] People with mercury toxicity were able to safely remove mercury from their bodies by taking cilantro capsules. The removal of mercury was actually observed through imaging called a SPECT scan.

Kidney detoxification:
Another toxic heavy metal, arsenic, may be reduced in your body by cilantro. Over an 8 week period, cilantro leaf given to mice was found helped with kidney detoxification by by removing arsenic from the kidneys.[9]

Antifungal actions:
According to research, this fresh herb has natural antifungal properties, which may be useful as a part of your candida cleanse.[10]

How to Use Cilantro

Cilantro is a delicious herb that you can add to many dishes, such as salsa, tacos, stews, soups, smoothies, and more. You can use cilantro to make a pesto that can be added as a topping at the table. Combine it with avocado to make a healthy guacamole.

5: Garlic, Raw Detox Power

Garlic: Raw Detox Power

It’s hard to think about parasite cleansing without mentioning one of nature’s most potent natural antibiotic, antifungal and antimicrobial detox foods, Garlic. Since the days of ancient healing systems such as the traditional Chinese medicine and ayurvedic medicine, to our modern days with multiple studies that backed up the detoxification power of garlic, this little allium vegetable can increase your body’s ability to detox in multiple ways, here’s a summary of some of the key evidence:

Parasite cleanse:
Several animal studies found that Garlic was able to eradicate parasites, including cryptosporidium, nematodes, and trematodes.[11,12,13,14]
This may happen by reducing trypanothione reductase, a vital compound for survival of parasites. The studies also found that garlic also supported healing and repair of intestinal function in these infected animals.

Liver detoxification:[15] According to research, eating garlic activates the Nrf2 gene, which plays a key role in detoxification and stimulate the production of both phase I and II liver enzymes. This gene also plays a key role in the body’s antioxidant stress response, which is also helpful when you detox and release toxins.

Candida and mold cleanse:
A clinical study of 40 patients with candida-related denture stomatitis in the mouth showed that garlic was as effective as antifungal nystatin medication at treating candida oral infection.[16]
Due to its potent antifungal properties, many fungi are sensitive to garlic, including Candida, Cryptococcus, Aspergillus, and Trichosporon. Garlic works to reduce the growth, oxygen supply, and stickiness of these molds in the body.[17]

On that note, before you chew garlic in your mouth to eradicate oral thrush, an important disclaimer: the research used garlic extract and did not have people hold garlic in their mouth. There are various reports of cases where prolong use of garlic inside the mouth caused oral damage, including a burn inside the mouth as a result of a topical application of crushed raw garlic.[18]

How to Use Garlic When Detoxing

You can add garlic to just about ANY lunch or dinner recipe to enhance the flavor and health of the food!

According to research, fresh raw garlic is more potent than cooked or boiled garlic[19], and is higher in bioactive components.[20]. Allicin becomes available when you cut, crush or chew the garlic, but is highly unstable, and may change quickly.[21] For this reason, try to eat garlic shortly after you crush it.

Popular dishes using a lot of garlic include marinara sauce, poultry, Asian stir-fries, pesto, hummus, and more.  Fresh garlic is extra potent in salad dressings, hummus, pesto, spreads, and more. Garlic’s pungent smell on you for a day or so is well worth the health benefits you will receive.

6: Apple, Detox Food Rockstar

Apple: Detox foods Rockstar

Apples have long been known as potent gut cleansing and liver detox foods. In traditional medicine, raw apples have been used for their cooling and astringent properties, to aid heartburn, prevent gallstones, and support liver health.

Research is catching up, here’s a q quick summary of some of the key evidence on the detox power of apples:

Heavy metal cleanse:
Pectin, a naturally occurring fiber found in Apples was able to reduce the blood levels of the toxic radioactive metal cesium 63% more than placebo in 67 children exposed to radiation in the Chernobyl nuclear accident.[22]

Further studies actually found that pectin was able to bind to heavy metal and therefore, the researchers concluded that pectin may offer a natural way to remove heavy metals from the body.[23,24]

Liver Cleanse:
The science on apples and liver health has shown to be very promising. Several studies suggested that the polyphenols and antioxidants in apples can protect the liver from damage due to toxins and prevent fat accumulation that may lead to fatty liver.[25,26,27].

In his book “The Amazing Liver Cleanse”, Andreas Moritz mentioned another naturally occurring detoxifying ingredient in apples, malic acid. According to Andreas:

“Malic acid in apple juice does exceptionally well in dissolving some of the stagnant bile and making the stones softer…The malic acid in the apple juice softens the gallstones and makes their passage through the bile ducts easy.”

Andreas Moritz, The Amazing Liver Cleanse

Amazing liver cleanse indeed! While there are no studies that tested these exact claims, the research data does suggest that cloudy apple juice (juice with the pulp) can regulate various liver enzymes, and therefore may protect the liver from damage.[28]

Digestive and gut cleanse:
Another reason many health professionals (including myself) are exciting about apples, has to do with the way apples can benefit your digestive health, with the research data keeps growing. Here are a few findings:

  • Apple polyphenol can prevent damage of toxins to the stomach lining.[29]
  • Quercetin in apples may reduce a colon damaging compound called nitrite.[30]
  • Malic acid, found in apples, increases saliva production, which is an important part of digestion.[31]
  • Apples may improve the microbiome and increase a gut healing nutrient called butyrate.[32]

How to Use Apples When Detoxing

Eat fresh organic raw apples, always with the skin, with cinnamon, mix raw unpasteurized apple cider vinegar in water, or use apple cider vinegar, lemon and olive oil to make a delicious detoxifying salad dressing.

Personally, I find that eating a fresh apple every day truly does make my digestive tract feel cleansed.  If you prefer to drink apple juice, choose cloudy over clear. According to research, it has four times more the concentration of polyphenols than the clear juice.[33]. And as always with fruit juices, watch the sugar content.

7: Chlorella, Heavy Metal Detox Powerhouse

Chlorella Heavy Metal Detox Powerhouse

When I talk about detox, I always emphasize both nourishment and cleansing.

Chlorella, a single cell green editable algae that has a long history of use as food and medicine, is perhaps the perfect example of such detox food. As a food source, the nutritional profile of Chlorella is truly exceptional, with unique and diverse composition of nutrients including proteins, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, polysaccharides, vitamins and minerals.[34]

As for its detox potential, multiple studies that evaluated cholera’s natural chelation properties, found that chlorella can enhance the elimination of toxic heavy metals from the body.[35,36] One study even found that Chlorella can help to reduce mercury levels in people who have amalgam dental fillings.[37]

Chlorella may also help remove other heavy metals like cadmium and lead from absorbing into the body and reduce radiation damage to the body.[38]

How to Use Chlorella When Detoxing

Because chlorella has a hard cell wall that humans cannot digest, make sure to get the broken cell wall chlorella for best results. Always find a clean source to make sure it is grown in a pure environment.  Chlorella is available in powder form or in capsules. You can add it to your morning smoothie or shake, or mix in your salad, kombucha or all-natural pudding.

Detox Reaction/Healing Crisis Alert:
Chlorella is a very concentrated source of nutrients with potent detoxification properties, so always go slow and follow the recommended serving size. If you have heavy metals concerns, chlorella can be a very powerful tool that can remove these toxins, so it is always best to consult with your doctor during this process.

8: Turmeric, A Golden Detox Food Miracle

Turmeric, A Golden Detox Food Miracle

The use of turmeric in Ayurvedic medicine dates back 4000 years where it was used to reduce the effects of poisoning from foods.  In Sanskrit, an ancient Indo-European language of India, turmeric has over 50 names![39]. Turmeric’s traditional uses include strengthening energy, reducing gas, treating worms, improving digestion, menstruation tonic, dissolving gallstones, reducing arthritis, and more. Turmeric is no stranger to health benefits according to research as well. In fact, It is one of the most studied natural food in the world. Here are some of the key findings regarding turmeric’s detox effects:

Digestive cleanse:
Turmeric was shown to improve gut microbiome diversity and reduce gut inflammation, which helps to support the gut cleanse natural processes.[40]. Even more, Turmeric may also help with digestive cleansing by decreasing damaging compounds, including NFkB, IL6, and tumor necrosis factor.[41].

Liver cleanse: In a meta-analysis of 4 clinical studies, turmeric improved liver enzymes in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.[42]. The researchers found that Turmeric can help upregulate phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification enzymes in the liver, as well as Nrf2 gene, a potent transcription factor involved in detoxification in the body.[43].

How to Use Turmeric

When using turmeric as part of the spices in their foods, many of my clients are very pleased with the improvements of how they feel.

As a flavorful spice, use turmeric in you curries, meat dishes, soups, stir-fries, and more. You can add powdered turmeric to your smoothies and baked items as well. Turmeric may also combine well with lemon water for a cleansing boost in the morning.

A common issue with turmeric is its poor bioavailability in the body. A known traditional remedy to address this, is to consume turmeric with black pepper. According to research, piperine, the major active component of black pepper can increase the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000%[44].

A relative of turmeric, ginger, is also a great add-in to help any of your meals become healthier.

Summary

Eating foods for detoxifying your body is a great natural way to support your health.

As a part of the process, it is also important to become aware of your daily exposure to toxins and chemicals, and minimize this as much as possible.

Make sure to also avoid or minimize inflammatory foods such as processed foods, gluten, and dairy, and others. If you have a history of digestive issues, you may want to consider an elimination diet to determine which foods you may be sensitive to. This is best done under the supervision of a functional medicine doctor or a functional nutritionist, but you can always start to experiment yourself by eating healthy, eliminate inflaming foods, and see how you feel.

Keep in mind, eating these detox foods may be helpful to promote overall good health, but is not meant to treat illnesses. If you have any medical concern, make sure to speak with your physician or healthcare provider.