Digestion : 5 Tasty Foods with a Powerful Detox Punch

By Radha Marcum
Organic Connections Senior Editor

I grew up in an era when "healthy" was synonymous with "bland." Thankfully, that paradigm has shifted in recent years with health-conscious chefs leading the way. If you're craving lighter foods post-holidays but don't want to sacrifice big flavor, try these awesome fresh ingredients. Slim on calories, these foods improve digestion and boost the liver's detoxification process.

1. Bok choy. An exotic relative of broccoli and cauliflower, bok choy contains abundant phytonutrients, such as sulforaphane, in its sturdy leaves, which help the liver process pesticides, chemicals and other impurities. How to cook: Steam lightly or sauté with ginger and garlic, which also have detoxifying properties, and serve over brown rice.

2. Nori. Like other sea vegetables, nori is high in trace minerals, which protect the body from radiation and prevent heavy-metal buildup. To reap nori's benefits without extra salt and calories, look for large dried nori rather than nori snacks that have been baked or fried with oil and heavily salted. How to eat: Sprinkle on top of sautes and soup, or make an impromptu roll with avocado.

3. Shallots. High in sulfur compounds, which help the liver to create free-radical neutralizing glutathione, shallots add pungent flavor to soups, stir-fries and salads. How to prepare: Blend with equal parts olive oil and vinegar for a salad dressing. Or sprinkle minced shallot over kale leaves that have been chopped and massaged lightly with avocado or olive oil.

4. Artichokes. Compounds in artichokes called cynarin and silymarin have been shown to support the liver. They also help prevent gallstones. How to prepare: Steam artichokes and serve with warm lemon and garlic-infused olive oil.

5. Blueberries. Antioxidant pigments that give blueberries their deep hue help the liver neutralize free radicals. Plant compounds in blueberries may also protect the liver from cancer. Blueberries are among the top 20 pesticide-containing produce items, so choose organic when possible. How to eat: Add fresh or frozen to yogurt, oatmeal or smoothies. Avoid blueberry products with added sugars.

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