|Heidi Moretti, MS, RD|
Functional Medicine Nutritionist
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 Recipe
- 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
- 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
Other options I often do:
- Simply mix chlorella into my kombucha drink
- Add chlorella and cilantro in my other smoothies recipes.
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.
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.
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.
Has the ability to bind to heavy metals, and is also a concentrated source of nutrients, including chlorophyll, another potent natural detoxifier.
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.
- Kiwi: (Vitamin C)
Rich in vitamin C, which also may chelate lead, by itself or with vitamin E.
- Banana: (Fiber, taste)
Added due to its fiber content, and also to improve flavor and creaminess.
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
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
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
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.