Just as eating unhealthy junk foods repeatedly will cause fat, cholesterol and sugar to build up in your body, making you unhealthy, there are certain healthy foods that will serve to remove toxins from your body.
These foods, often referred to as superfoods or detox foods, often aren’t what you would expect.
Here are a few that aren’t commonly known:
1. Black Beans
Black beans are a well-known vegetarian source of protein. Unlike other commonly consumed sources of protein, such as red meats, though, black beans contain no saturated fats.
As a lean protein source, black beans can provide the building blocks for tissue repair without artery-clogging fats.
Also, the high fiber content makes them a top detoxifier – fiber promotes efficient elimination of wastes, including artificial flavoring chemicals and other toxins, from your bloodstream. Fiber may also help reduce the risk of developing hypoglycemia and diabetes.
A single cup of black beans contains about 15 grams of protein and 28 grams of dietary fiber.
To add more black beans to your diet, try making some black bean chili. If you love red meat and don’t want to make a vegetarian chili, you can simply add a cup or two of black beans to your regular chili recipe.
Black beans and rice are also a great source of protein and fiber. The goal is to get more black beans in your diet while at the same time cutting down on food that is unhealthy for you. Try making a black bean soup that will be full of fiber yet still healthy for you.
Black beans are very versatile and can be added to many recipes. You might have to get used to the texture, but black beans have very little taste if they are unseasoned.
Beets contain a number of natural plant-based chemicals (phytochemicals) that are rare even in other red vegetables, while serving as a natural antioxidant and helping to stabilize blood pH.
Pectin, a type of fiber found in few other foods, may speed the detoxification process. Pectin is thought to bind toxins and prevent them from being reabsorbed into your bloodstream.
Doctors frequently recommend eating beets whole instead of juicing them. Eating beets may promote the greatest intake of pectin.
Fortunately, there are many ways to serve these root vegetables. They can be roasted, baked, or grated and put on salads and other dishes.
Many people prefer to eat pickled beets, but this process sometimes removes the healthy benefits of beets and adds too much sodium to the diet.
Beets can be eaten raw or cooked, and to easily add beets to your diet simply chop them up really small and add them to the top of a green salad. Beets can also be stewed, boiled, or added to any vegetable stir fry.
Juicing beets is also a great way to add more beets to your diet, but this may reduce the amount of fiber you receive eating the beets if they are juiced.
Beets have a pretty strong taste and take some getting used to for those that have never tried them before. The health benefits of beets, which include incredible immune system support, are worth getting to like this root vegetable.
The classic superfood, blueberries contain natural aspirin that is crucial in fighting tissue damage, and has the side effect of serving as a natural and safe pain reliever, especially in cases such as inflammation.
They also have powerful natural antibiotic and antiviral properties. Blueberries are rich in vitamin C, which is necessary for your body to fight infections.
Vitamin C is also an antioxidant – it can destroy free radical cells that can contribute to cancer.
They also provide fiber, which is necessary to regulate your digestive system and prevent excess acid production. Fiber also helps cleanse your blood of toxins that contribute to disease.
Blueberries are easy to get into your diet with a few small changes. If you like pancakes, add some blueberries to them to give your pancakes a wonderful nutritional boost.
Blueberries can be added to oatmeal, cold cereals and smoothies.
We recommend organically grown blueberries for maximum health benefits because it isn’t possible to wash pesticides off of blueberries. Any chemicals used when growing blueberries grow directly into the fruit and can’t be washed off.
Whether fresh or frozen, adding blueberries to your diet will decrease inflammation, improve digestive health and add a considerable amount of fiber to your diet.
If you have young kids, blueberries are a great fruit to introduce to them early in life. They are easy to pack into lunches and kids tend to love the tiny little fruit. Teach your kids to eat healthy too and they will develop great habits over their lifetime.
Avocados sometimes get a bad rap for their high fat content, but because the types of fat they contain are all monosaturated, they are not a primary concern in terms of weight gain and actually promote good health.
A compound called beta-sitosterol, which is found in avocados, may actually help you combat high blood cholesterol and aid in the clearing away of fatty deposits in your arteries.
Potassium, another substance found in abundance in avocados, may also reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure.
Sliced avocado is also another great tasting source of concentrated dietary fiber, with 10 grams a cup.
Avocado is the main ingredient in guacamole, a healthy addition to any diet. Guacamole can be used in a beans and rice dish, or as a dip for vegetables. They even make black bean tortilla chips now, so a few chips and guacamole would be a great snack.
To quickly add avocado to your diet, simply slice a few pieces and add them to the top of a green salad. Avocado adds a great texture to the salad and helps you to feel more full, simply from eating a salad.
We need good fats in our diet, and eating avocado provides the good fats that we need.
In the store, look for avocados that are slightly soft when you try to squeeze them to determine ripeness. If you are eating it that day, look for an avocado that isn’t too hard.
5. Brown Rice
Unlike the much more common substitute – white rice – brown rice contains a high amount of fiber without the chemicals often added to white rice during the bleaching process.
A 1-cup serving of brown rice also contains about 3.5 grams of complex starches, which are healthy metabolism boosters and fat burners.
Conversely, white rice, which a simple starch, can contribute to weight gain. As an added bonus, the high energy density of brown rice means allows you need to eat less before becoming full.
As a result of eating less, you can achieve your weight loss goals more quickly or maintain your current weight more easily.
Brown rice isn’t the most exciting food and it isn’t always easy to introduce it into your diet. With a slightly nutty flavor, brown rice doesn’t easily replace white rice for those who love to eat white rice.
Start with small increments and different types of brown rice to get used to the texture. You may find that you gain a better appreciation for brown rice when you try different brands.
A simply way to add more brown rice to your diet is to try baking it in the oven with a little sea salt. The slow baking process adds to the flavor of the brown rice and softens the texture.
6. Dark Chocolate
Here’s an unexpected one – dark chocolate can actually be healthy!
In very limited quantities, the monounsaturated fats in dark chocolate will boost your metabolism, which can cause you to burn more fats.
Fortunately, its intense flavor translates to smaller serving sizes. Of course, dark chocolate can also help by suppressing cravings form less healthy foods full of sugar and saturated fats.
Gram for gram, dark chocolate contains less sugar and dairy products than white or milk chocolate. Just make sure you are using dark chocolate made from real cacao – some types of chocolate contain artificial flavorings that can be harmful to your body.
Dark chocolate is also a great source of healthy flavonoids, which promote optimal circulation.
Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, potassium, and iron. With a low glycemic index, dark chocolate won’t give you sugar highs and lows like regular milk chocolate does.
Keep in mind that dark chocolate is still chocolate, and it does contain fat. Keep track of calories if you are adding dark chocolate to your diet but still trying to eat healthy.
Not all dark chocolate is created equal. Some bars are blends that are actually closer to milk chocolate than you would think. Opt for chocolate bars that are labeled 100% dark chocolate to gain the maximum health benefits.
Chocolate can be good for you, just remember that moderation is the key.
Eggs have a bad reputation because of their high fat content, but at the same time, they’re abundant sources of protein.
They are typically quite filling – serving eggs as a main breakfast dish leaves less room in your stomach for bacon and fried potatoes.
Eggs also contain “good” cholesterol, which is necessary for proper nervous system function and digestion.
Of course, eating them in excess will still slowly pump you full of saturated fats, which can damage your arteries and promote cardiovascular disease.
Eating eggs in moderation, though, will help you get more than enough good fats and cholesterol to stimulate your metabolism to burn off the rest.
Eggs are an easy source of protein, and when you hard boil eggs, they are an easy snack to take along.
At about 90 calories an egg, you would have to eat a large amount of eggs per day for the calories in eggs to make you gain weight. The biggest thing to remember is that eggs may increase your cholesterol, so if you cholesterol is borderline, look for other sources of healthy protein.
If you need to add more eggs to your diet, but you don’t really care for them, try stirring up a raw egg and adding it to a pot of boiling soup. As you add the egg, stir the soup quickly. The egg will take on a noodle like texture and you will add protein to your soup without even noticing.
Although many people are unaware of the true benefits of lemons, these fruits are exceedingly potent liver detoxifiers.
Lemon pulp is rich in fiber, which can help cleanse the bloodstream of toxins. As an added bonus, like most citrus fruits, they contain very high amounts of vitamin C, which is a nutrient that promotes fast healing and good long term health.
Studies have shown that many vitamins found in lemons are tied to a decreased risk of cancer.
Vitamin C, for example, is considered an antioxidant. It can starve free radicals of the oxygen they need to damage cellular tissue and cause cancerous growth.
So, do we now expect you to start eating lemons as if they are oranges? No, not really, but that would be ideal.
Try drinking fresh squeezed lemonade while at the same time adding as little sugar as possible. Too much sugar can negate the positive effects of eating lemons, so if you make lemonade, lay off the sugar.
Try squeezing some fresh lemon juice on steamed broccoli. The lemon brings out the natural flavors in the broccoli without adding any extra fat. This is a healthy side dish for almost any meal.
If you like tea, lemons can be added to both hot and cold brewed tea. Remember that if you add milk to your hot tea, a good squeeze of lemon will make the milk curdle.
Kale has a bitter taste that makes it unappealing to many people. Combined with its oddly shaped leaves, the taste of this vegetable when consumed raw may seem like enough to offset any health benefits.
When steamed, though, kale’s flavor mellows and its texture softens. You can use it as a garnish for soups, stews and casseroles.
Fiber is among the most abundant nutrients found in kale – adding just a bit to main dishes and side dishes can dramatically improve your body’s ability to eliminate toxins. Kale also contains vitamin K, which is necessary to prevent bruising and support proper blood clotting.
Most people think kale belongs with salad bar decorations and not on our food plate, but kale can taste good when it is prepared correctly.
In addition to kale, other dark leafy green vegetables such as spinach provide some of the same nutritional benefits. If you can’t stomach kale, try steaming some spinach and adding some lemon juice to it.
The darker the leafy green vegetables are, the more vitamins and minerals they contain. This is why iceberg lettuce has little to no nutritional value while dark romaine lettuce is full of vitamins. Always choose darker greens to get the most health benefits from your vegetables.