Life can be toxic. From contaminants in food and water to noxious chemicals in cleaning and hygiene products, toxins abound. However, you don’t need questionable cleansing supplements or liquid fasts to cleanse your body from the inside out. Fresh, whole, ripe fruits and vegetables as well as an active, low-stress lifestyle facilitates detox and cleansing more than any product can.
I get a lot of questions from readers and people I meet about detox smoothies. Specifically, they want to know what foods and superfoods they should use and if there is an ultimate detox fruit or green. I’ve actually written an e-book on the subject.
My Detox In 4 Days e-book gives you four seasonal detox programs as well as a “day after” detox program. It gives you an in depth look at what foods are best for cleansing and why. Click here for more information.
Let me give you a little glimpse as to what’s in this books below and why the green smoothie is the best cleansing foods out there.
Why Organic Fruits Help With Detoxification
Fruits are naturally water-rich and full of nutrients, particularly vitamin C. They have a high fiber content, lots of antioxidants and are super easy to digest. These are all must-have qualities in the food you eat when you want to detox. Fruit creates little strain on your body to digest, and that frees up your liver and kidneys (your primary detox organs) to do their job effectively. Fruit is the real deal when it comes to cleansing.
Citrus fruit ranks highly for their cleansing properties. Not only does it help clear your skin, it is among the most water rich fruits which help flush toxins out of your body. The fiber “scrubs” your intestines. Oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes are exceptionally high vitamin C content which also aids in cleansing.
Why Organic Greens Help With Detoxification
Leafy greens are rich in chlorophyll, a plant compound in all green vegetables that some experts believe help purify the blood and cleanse the body. When you combine the purifying power of greens with the cleansing power of fruit in a green smoothie, you’ve got a natural detox shake that will cleanse and nourish you better than any high-priced detox system on the market.
So which green is the king of cleansing greens? Most experts recommend dandelion greens, claiming that they are particularly useful for cleansing the liver and supporting kidney function.
What Else Cleanses and Detoxifies?
Garlic is a well known detox food. While it might be a bit weird for many of you to blend into a green smoothie, you can add it to freshly-made (and detoxifying) blender soups or you can add it to savory smoothies.
Ginger is also a known detoxifying ingredient. Fresh ginger stimulates your digestive tract and speeds up digestion, which may help move things along quicker. Fresh ginger can be grated into a green smoothie or added to fresh juices.
What To Avoid Putting In A Detox Smoothie
Green smoothies have a lot of flexibility when it comes to making them, but when it comes to detoxification, simple is better. You want to focus on water-rich foods that are high in fiber. That means that you should avoid using any dehydrated and powdered supplements and superfoods as well as too many fats like nuts, seeds and refined oils. Here is a short list of what you should avoid using in a detox smoothie.
Please note that the below ingredients may be okay to use for those who are not on a detox regimen.
Powdered Superfoods and Supplements: This might seem counter-intuitive but even powdered superfoods have had their water removed, thus decreasing the overall water content of your green smoothie making it less hydrating. When you want a cleansing smoothie, you want only water-rich foods. So skip the powders and supplements, that may have additives in them.
Protein Powders: Protein powders are fractionated and isolated nutrients lacking in water. Many have additives. While a high quality, organic protein powder can help your green smoothie be more satisfying, I recommend skipping all powdered supplements in a detox green smoothie.
Fats: Because fats like nuts, seeds, avocados and coconuts digest slower than fresh fruits and greens, I recommend that you leave them out of green smoothies made specifically for detox. I also recommend that you not eat fats before or with your green smoothie to avoid gas and bloating.
Refined Oils: For the same reason you shouldn’t use nuts and seeds in your detox smoothies, you should steer clear of using any refined oils as well. This includes flax seed oil, olive oil and coconut oil.
Non-Organic Fruits and Vegetables: This is a no-brainer. You want to detox so don’t add produce that has been sprayed and treated with pesticides, fungicides, waxes and preservatives. Stick with organic 100% while you detox.
Liquids Other Than Fresh Water: Water is the key to cleansing and detoxification. You can juice your own fruit or greens, but don’t use commercial fruit juices as they might have added sugar, flavorings, preservatives and will have been pasteurized.
Dairy: I avoid milk and yogurt at all times, and my feeling is that these foods have no place in a green smoothie. You’ll get plenty of calcium from leafy greens without all the hormones, antibiotics and other potential additives that you’ll get from dairy. I’d even steer clear of raw, organic dairy too.
The Ultimate Detox Smoothie Recipe
Easy Detox Smoothie
- 1 red grapefruit, peeled (use green grapes instead to make sweeter)
- 1 banana, peeled
- 4 cups dandelion greens (or kale), chopped
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (or 1 cup green grapes)
Add all the ingredients except for the greens to your blender and hit the “pulse” button a few times. Next, add the greens and blend on high for 30 seconds or until the smoothie is creamy.
(Nutrition information with coconut milk)
Calories: 367 | Protein: 9g | Carbs: 74g | Fat: 7g | Calcium: 64% | Iron: 7.3g
(Nutrition information with green grapes)
Calories: 411 | Protein: 10g | Carbs: 100g | Fat: 2g | Calcium: 41% | Iron: 7.9g
If the dandelion greens are too bitter, add some kiwi, pineapple or strawberries to further mask the bitterness. Kale is also a great green to use because it’s less bitter than dandelion, and just about as nutritious.
Tracy Russell is the creator of the Green Smoothie Weight Loss Program, the 30-Day Whole Foods Challenge and founder of Incredible Smoothies. She is passionate about helping people improve their health with green smoothies and a whole foods lifestyle.