Nutrition for spring cleansing

Nutrition for spring cleansing

Have you ever tried to do a detox or cleanse that left you feeling weak and irritable? You might not have had your nutritional basics in place!

Without sufficient key nutrients from foods, the body can’t fully recruit its own pathways of metabolic detoxification. When this happens, our detoxification organs—mainly the liver, kidneys, colon, and skin—can’t do their jobs to the best of their ability.

Compared with doing a three-week crash diet, regularly eating foods rich in nutrients that naturally activate detoxification pathways is far more effective for keeping the body’s toxic burden low and overall well-being high.


More commonly known as metabolic detoxification (or “detox”), biotransformation is the process of converting toxicants from the environment and from the body itself into compounds that can be safely mobilized and excreted from the body.

A properly functioning detoxification system maintains a proper balance of hormones, metabolizes medications, and processes harmful substances from the environment to ensure overall health and well-being. An accumulation of toxins is associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Nutrients for detoxification

Since our regular food choices affect the activity of detoxification pathways to help with toxin biotransformation, they also affect the body’s sensitivity to toxic substances.

  • New research suggests that diets rich in phytonutrients (nutrients from plant-based foods) may offset toxicity from pollutants and reduce disease risks associated with environmental toxicity. Polyphenols are one type of phytonutrient and are particularly high in berries, cloves, cacao, nuts, and vegetables such as artichokes.
  • Cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, have been shown to increase the activity of enzymes used in the detoxification process.
  • Glutathione is the master antioxidant of the liver. Vitamin B6, the minerals selenium and magnesium, and the amino acid cysteine are key building blocks for producing glutathione. For the richest sources of vitamin B6, opt for chickpeas, skipjack tuna, wild salmon, and chicken breast. Pumpkin seeds, almonds, legumes, and leafy greens provide ample magnesium. Cysteine is found in protein-rich animal meats such as pork chops, beef, and chicken breast.

Sleep for detox support

The glymphatic system provides the brain and central nervous system with a deep cleaning of metabolic waste. Impaired glymphatic function has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Since the glymphatic system is most effective during sleep, consider prioritizing sleep as a key pillar for supporting full-body detoxification. Resist binging on your favorite show and instead cultivate a calming bedtime routine to make sure you clock enough hours.

Supplements for detox support

Always ask your health care practitioner before trying a new supplement, to make sure it’s right for you, that it is not contraindicated with any supplements you take or medical conditions you have, etc. Likewise, always check with your health care practitioner before embarking on any cleanse or detox program.

Here are a few supplements that may help support our bodies’ natural detoxification systems.

  • n-acetylcysteine
  • probiotics
  • fiber
  • spirulina
  • milk thistle
  • turmeric
  • ginger
  • whey protein

By Dr. Cassie Irwin, ND

BetsyHealth Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before trying a supplement, especially if you have a medical condition, including being pregnant or nursing, take prescription or over-the-counter medications, or are planning on having surgery.

Article copyright 2024 by Alive Publishing Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Photo by Pixabay:

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