Vegetables, Nature’s Detoxifiers!

Vegetables help us to detoxify and cleanse ourselves of what makes us old, sick, and tired. They enhance our energy and immunity. If you are serious about looking and staying young but your diet is still filled with fast food, highly processed meats, and endless sweets, listen up! You need to know which vegetables do what and why!

Purple and Red Vegetables

Deeply pigmented plants have important anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties from substances including anthocyanidins. These are a type of complex flavonoid that produce blue, purple or red colors. Purple vegetables help in memory function and promote anti-aging. Most of us can find purple and red vegetables like purple cabbage, radishes, eggplant, and beets in our local supermarket.

Orange, Yellow and Red-Orange Vegetables

Orange, yellow and red-orange foods are rich in carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene. More than 600 carotenoids occur naturally, but carotenes are the most widely known. Carotenes, which destroy free radicals in lipids, enhance immune response and protect cells against UV radiation. Include vegetables like bell peppers, sweet potatoes, carrots, and squash.

Green Vegetables

We’re always told to eat our greens! Well, there’s a reason for that. Green plants contain particularly large amounts of chlorophyll, which is a detoxifier. This is why dark green vegetables can help improve immune function. Foods rich in chlorophyll include chlorella and other blue-green algae, beet greens, bok choy, collards, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens and nettles.

Cruciferous Vegetables

This is another class of vegetables with potent detoxifying abilities, which includes broccoli, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, mustard greens, radishes and turnips.

The secret to keeping yourself looking and feeling healthy is to combat toxins with your food choices. This means keeping your vegetable intake up. Many patients that we see have a very limited vegetable intake.

Quite often a “salad” will consist of about 1 cup of iceberg lettuce, 1 tomato slice, and a couple slices of cucumber, then loaded up with ranch dressing. That is the typical salad one would find at a diner, or most family style restaurants. If you want to really make a difference in your health, you have to expand your tastes and start adding more deeply colored vegetables to your diet regularly.

We recommend choosing organic vegetables as often as possible, as they have the highest amounts of phytonutrients. Organic vegetables also have the least amount of pesticide residue so your body does not have to work as hard to detoxify residues on the vegetable itself. These are small steps that you can take to make a difference in your health. Make it a point in 2007, when you are “cleaning out”, “slimming down,” or “living it up” that you will increase the number and variety of vegetables that you take in. If there are some vegetables listed in this article that you’ve never tried, make it a point to check one or two of them out the next time you’re at the store. Look up a couple new recipes that include these new foods and see what you’ve been missing!