We do our best to resist temptation, but somehow the final days of December always leave us feeling bloated and in need of detox support. If you too have enjoyed just a little too much sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and other naughty foods in the past months, you may want to support your liver in a little detox action for the New Year.
The liver has a big job in cleaning out toxins, which are often stored in visceral belly fat. If toxins are not safely ushered out with nutritional help, your body will hold on to fat. Trapped in fat, these toxins are prevented from circulating and creating mayhem in your body. Regular detoxification cleanses fat cells, which can then shrink without fear of releasing damaging chemicals. Yep, as counterintuitive as it may sound, shedding toxins can help you shed some stubborn belly fat over time.
Take a look at 9 of our favorite vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients for supporting a New Year’s detoxification process.
9 Essential Nutrients for a Healthy Detox
1. Alpha Lipoic Acid – a powerful antioxidant that banishes free radicals from cells and helps the body generate vitamin E, vitamin C, and glutathione. Glutathione has been dubbed the “master antioxidant” because of its crucial role in facilitating healthy detoxification!
2. L-Arginine – an amino acid that supports production of immune cells, L-ornithine, L-proline, L-glutamine, glycogen, creatine, and human growth hormone – all of which are essential for proper detoxification. As an added bonus, it helps remove excess ammonia from the body
3. Vitamin E – is said to help prevent the formation of free radicals in the body, thereby protecting the liver from undue stress and damage.
4. Vitamin C – studied extensively by Dr. Linus Pauling, vitamin C has also been shown to support optimal liver function, boost blood flow, and activate enzymes that support detoxification.
5. B Vitamins – B vitamins play a myriad of roles in the body’s major detoxification pathways, including supporting the vascular system in its efforts to pull unwanted particles out of the body and helping regulate cholesterol synthesis in the liver. Interestingly, B vitamins are among the first compounds depleted under stress (or alcohol consumption!).
6. Magnesium – though usually thought of as a muscle supporter and mind relaxer, magnesium is also a natural chelating agent, meaning it can latch onto heavy metals and banish them from your system. This “miracle mineral” is involved in over 600 enzyme reactions and is also known to support healthy insulin function.
7. Chelated Zinc – an essential trace mineral that fights off free radicals and removes toxins like heavy metals out of the bloodstream. As an added bonus, chelated zinc also supports a healthy metabolism and helps regulate blood sugar levels!
8. Chlorophyll – the green pigment responsible for giving plants their color, chlorophyll has the ability to bind to toxins and escort them out of the body. In particular, chlorophyll is thought to cleanse and purify the blood for a healthy cardiovascular system.
9. Milk Thistle – your liver’s top ally! Milk thistle contains silymarin, an active compound thought to boost liver function for optimal detoxification.
In addition to supplementing your diet with the proper micronutrients, you can impact the detoxification process in a big way by consuming healthy whole foods throughout the day.
Focus on foods high in proteins like glutathione, glycine, and cysteine that support the detoxification process such as:
- Cruciferous vegetables (including Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower)
- certain root vegetables like onions, garlic, shallots, and leeks
- Milk Thistle
These foods make our list of the most beneficial detoxers because they are rich in micronutrients and they contain sulphur, glycine, glutathione, and cysteine – all of which support detoxification through a process known as conjugation. During conjugation, the body’s liver cells actually add a compound (i.e. sulphur, glycine etc) to a toxin in the body in order to neutralize it to water-soluble form for easier excretion.
Remember to also drink plenty of water (which plays a huge role in flushing out toxins!) and you’ll be cleansed, fresh, and ready to take on a whole new year!