You need a detox diet. And if you, like me, were a child who waited for thermometers to break so you could play with liquid mercury, consider this a mandate.
Hearing Dr. Robert Roundtree speak at a functional medicine conference at the Miller School of Medicine moved this topic up my priority list.
Functional medicine is a patient-centered approach to care that addresses underlying causes of disease and uses nutrition as an initial approach. According to Roundtree, exposure to low levels of environmental toxins is widespread and increasing. Accepting that, detoxing must also be a lifelong practice.
For most people, special drinks and pills are not necessary. Your liver efficiently takes care of detox when supported by the right foods.
Roundtree’s advice: Eat broccoli. Like other cruciferous vegetables, it contains sulphoraphane, which triggers the liver to produce detoxifying enzymes that block free-radical attack on DNA. Once started, the process cycles and continues to protect for up to four days after the sulphoraphane-containing food is eaten. Other vegetables containing the detox compound are cabbage, brussels sprouts, bok choy, kale, radishes and turnips.
Other delicious detoxers include the anthocyanidins in berries, grapes and beets, the polyphenols in green tea and the resveratrol in red wine. Eating at least five cups of richly colored fruits and vegetables daily will most likely cover your detox needs.
Broccoli sprouts are an easy and tasty way to pack a diet with sulphoraphane. Available at the supermarket, sprouts have 10 to 100 times more sulphoraphane than broccoli. Broccoli sprouts can be added to a salad, sandwich, burger or omelet and slipped into a taco. They also reduce gastritis associated with H. pylori bacteria.
For a steady and fresh supply, try a home sprouter. Everything you need to know is at sproutpeople.org.
Sheah Rarback is a registered dietitian on the faculty of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine.