If you’re like many folks as the weather improves you can’t resist doing some spring cleaning. But you want to do more than just dust the shelves and run the vacuum.
With the season change, you suddenly feel like giving your whole house a deeper clean. You want to sweep the dust bunnies from under the bed, vacuum under the sofa cushions and even dust behind the television.
So why treat your house better than your body? Isn’t it time to give it a good spring cleaning too?
But don’t worry; I’m not talking about some extreme detox diet that could end up doing you more harm than good. And I’m not going to suggest you try to choke down some gross green shakes that make you want to gag either.
In fact, all I want you to do is add some simple (and delicious!) detoxifying spring foods to your already healthy diet.
Spring cleaning your BODY with detoxifying foods
Sounds incredibly easy, doesn’t it? That’s because it is.
Clean your system the smart way. Following are six seasonal foods that can help gently detox your body just in time for spring.
1. Dandelion greens:
You know those dandelions that make you want to pull out your hair when they pop up all over your lawn? It’s time to stop thinking of them as weeds. Because it turns out, they’re hiding the secret to a simple spring detox.
Dandelion greens are a top notch detoxifier. In fact, if your garden is chemical free, and your home doesn’t border a freeway, you can literally harvest them from your own backyard. Or you can often find them for sale in Asian markets and health food stores.
You can use dandelion greens raw in a salad. Steep them in hot water to make a tea. Or drop them into soups, stews or stir fries.
Dandelion greens are an often overlooked food source. They’re richer in nutrients than either spinach or kale. And they have a deliciously bitter bite resembling a spicy arugula.
But where they really shine is in their ability to drive toxins out of your body. In traditional Chinese medicine, the greens are used to support liver and kidney health. And packed with potassium they’re used as a natural diuretic so you literally pee out toxins preventing them from building up in your system.
Dandelions are a good source of vitamins C, A and K. And just a half cup of dandelion tea contains more calcium than you would get in a glass of milk.
2. Green peas:
Peas are an excellent source of protein, and fiber. Swap out some heavier proteins, like the meats you’ve been living on all winter long, for some peas.
These little pops of flavor are very digestible, which means they’re the perfect choice when you’re trying to detox your colon and digestive tract. Plus, as a legume peas share all the health benefits of beans, including protection against chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
And packed with powerful antioxidants, green peas can help your body heal after a long winter of abuse.
No vegetable symbolizes the start of spring more than asparagus does. With its lively green color and bright earthy flavor when you dig into your first fresh batch of the year, you know the season has finally arrived.
Asparagus is another natural diuretic. Which means it helps detox your body by making you pee more. It flushes out bacteria like the bugs that lead to UTIs. And it rids your kidneys of any excess calcium, phosphorus, urea and creatinine to help prevent kidney stones from forming.
As a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, it supports your heart. The B vitamins help keep your blood flowing smoothly. And packed with fiber, asparagus is the perfect prebiotic to feed your good gut bugs and rebalance your microbiome.
Move beyond just vegetables on your spring cleaning menu. Certain fruits, such as papaya, can help too.
Papaya is packed with vitamins A and C. The vitamin A helps your heart, lungs and kidneys work properly so they can flush your body of built up toxins. And it boosts your immune system.
Antioxidant vitamin C protects your cells from free radical damage. And it helps your body build fresh new bone, blood vessels, connective tissue and skin.
Plus research published in the Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies found this exotic fruit contains compounds linked to better colon health. And with a healthier colon, it’s far easier for your body to purge itself of toxins.
Pineapples taste good enough to be candy. But it turns out they’re not just a sweet treat, they can help you cleanse your body too.
Pineapples contain a powerful enzyme, called bromelain, which ticks three of the major detox boxes: it helps reduce inflammation, it aids in digestion and it helps break down fat so your body can eliminate it easier.
The key is to get to the bromelain. While pineapple flesh contains a bit of the enzyme, it’s the most concentrated in the parts we don’t normally eat… the stem, skin and core. This is where your blender comes in.
When you cut the pineapple slice off the skin and the core (the tougher part at the inside of the pineapple). Set your core pieces aside and drop the skin into a pot of boiling water. Simmer the skins for a couple of hours until they’re soft. Then dump the skins, cores, and around a cup of water into your heavy duty blender and blend until everything breaks down.
Pour the juice through a strainer to remove any remaining pulp. You’ll be left with a bromelain rich juice you can drink or use in your cooking.
Lemons are the most versatile of all the springtime detox foods. You can add a squeeze of lemon juice to water, salads, sauces, meat, fish, and even other fruits and veggies for a burst of flavor and benefits.
Lemon juice helps smooth digestion allowing your body to absorb more nutrients from the foods you eat. It’s a mild diuretic so it flushes away built up contaminants, reducing bloating. Plus it supports the enzymes in your body, stimulating your liver to help flush out toxins.
It’s been a long, lazy winter. But it’s behind you now. So go ahead and do some deep spring cleaning, in both your home and your body.