Vegetables and detoxification

by Sam Malone

Vegetables and detoxification has long been the subject of debate and discussion. Let’s understand how it works. In the process of converting food into the raw materials and energy, our bodies produce waste products that have to be eliminated. The environment also contains harmful substances that we ingest and must dispose of and the medication we may take to do us good needs to be eliminated from our system. The general term for this process is 'detoxification'. It is a rather complicated and amazingly effective form of defense mechanism which we have developed to help us survive.

Detoxification is carried out by enzymes produced from the information stored in our genes. A number of separate genes are involved.

Detox diet :

Detox diets vary, but they typically direct restriction of the diet to raw vegetables, fruit, water and yoghurt - with strict abstinence of foods like meat, fish, alcohol and stimulants (including tea and coffee). The recommended duration of this regime also varies, but may be prescribed for 7 to 10 days. After a week on such a minimal and limited diet, most folks testify to feeling lighter and less weary. However, these are symptoms of a lack of calories rather than the elimination of toxins from the body.

Detoxification aids :

Beyond the use of simple and restrictive diets, detoxification aids come in the form of herbal supplements and other functional foods. One of the most popular herbal supplements is milk thistle, that's believed to enhance liver regeneration and promote its detoxification function. Some others are listed below.

Cruciferous vegetables :

Cruciferous vegetables include the sub-group Brassicas, so named for their cross-shaped flowers. They promote the removal of toxic substances from the body and include the following:

  1. Broccoli
  2. Brussels sprouts
  3. Cabbage
  4. Cauliflower
  5. Daikon radish
  6. Kale
  7. Kohlrabi
  8. Mustard/chard greens
  9. Parsnips
  10. Rutabagas
  11. Turnips
  12. Watercress.

Some of the benefits of these vegetables are lost in cooking, so it is advisable to follow these practical tips:

  • Have raw vegetables at least three to four times a week.
  • Never overcook. This causes a change in color and releases compounds such as those responsible for the unpleasant smell of overcooked cabbage.
  • Steam vegetables lightly so they retain their color, fibrous structure, nutrient content and health benefits.

Allium vegetables :

Allicin, along with other sulphur-containing chemicals, helps reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. The main chemical that has been isolated in garlic is alliin. When garlic is crushed, alliin combines with the enzyme allinase to produce allicin. Onions behave in a similar manner to garlic, although to a lesser degree. Garlic and onions contain compounds called allyl sulphides which provide them with their distinctive, though not always pleasant smell.

Vegetables in the allium group include:

  1. Spring onions.
  2. Shallots
  3. Onions
  4. Leeks
  5. Garlic
  6. Chives

Try following these practical tips, to derive the maximum benefit of detoxification from the allium group of vegetables:

  • Have two to five cloves of garlic a week. Ideally garlic should be eaten every day with at least one member of the onion family.
  • Have garlic and onions on a daily basis adding them to your food as part of the seasoning and flavoring.
  • Have garlic as a supplement as tablets. There is little use in having garlic oil. It does not contain allicin.

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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