Cleansing: What foods are good?

Detox has been an ‘it’ word in the health and wellness scene since the time that the first detox juices hit the retail market. But like what our naturopath contributor, Sabine, mentioned in her article, detoxing with food is not just a fad and we have also found many ways to cleanse since then. Our other nutritionist, Rene, talked about what type of cleanses you can consider, I want to tell you what type of foods are best for your cleanse. Although our bodies are equipped with detoxification organs like the liver, kidneys, and the gut, and they all work together to transform the toxins in our bodies and eliminate them from our system, there are certain foods that we can eat that can help in making these detoxification pathways more efficient and favourably balancing them. 

The toxins in our bodies undergo two detoxification pathways before it is excreted. The first phase uses enzymes to transform the toxins into a form that is more reactive to prepare it for phase two. In phase two, molecules are attached to the biotransformed toxins to make them water-soluble and non-toxic before they are excreted from our bodies through the bile, urine, or the skin. There are some foods that help support just one specific pathway while there are others that help support both. 

There are quite a number of foods that contain nutrients that support the Phase 1 detoxification pathway. It will come as no surprise that most of them are vegetables and fruits – cruciferous vegetables like arugula, broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese broccoli, choy sum, collard greens, kale; and quercetin-containing fruits like apple and blueberries. Herbs and spices like rosemary, garlic, turmeric, and curry powder are also included in the list. Not to mention, teas like green tea, black tea, and Rooibos tea and seafood like salmon and shrimp, and also algae.

The list of foods that supports the Phase 2 detoxification pathway is also populated by vegetables like spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, watercress, asparagus, mustard greens, leeks, and artichokes; fruits like prunes, apricots and peaches; legumes like lentils, peas, mung beans, white beans, nuts like walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, pistachios, peanuts, and pine nuts; seeds like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds; grains like quinoa and oats; herbs and spices like ginger, parsley,  

Dietary fibre is also equally important as it helps to flush these toxins out of our system. 

This detox soup recipe that I am sharing with you is rich in detox-supporting ingredients like broccoli, spinach, and sunflower seeds that support both phases of our detoxification pathways and two fibre-rich ingredients, flax seeds and carrots that help in adding bulk to our stool and will aid in the elimination of toxins. Best of all, it tastes just like how a warm, comforting soup should and it’s very nutritious too. Try it soon! ☺

Green Detox Soup

Makes 6-8 bowls


1 onion, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped

1 turnip, peeled and finely chopped

2 celery stalks, finely diced

1 cup mushrooms, chopped

2 cups broccoli florets, chop into smaller pieces

3 cups homemade vegetable broth or store-bought low sodium vegetable broth

1 cup of tightly packed detoxifying greens (I used a combination of kale, spinach, and bokchoy for mine)

½ lemon, juice only

1 tsp coconut oil

3 Tbsp ground flax seeds

salt and pepper to taste

Toasted sunflower seeds and about ¼ cup of coconut cream to garnish


1. In a soup pot, heat the coconut oil, then add the onion, garlic, carrot, turnip, celery, mushrooms, and broccoli. Cook over low heat for five minutes, stirring frequently.

2. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.

3. Once the mixture is boiling, cover the pot with a lid. Make sure that the liquid is enough to cover the vegetables. If not, add a little more broth. Let it simmer for 5-7 minutes, until the vegetables are tender but not mushy.

4. Stir in the greens, lemon juice, and ground flax seeds. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Transfer the soup into the blender. It might not all fit, so do it in 2-3 batches depending on the size of your blender.

6. Blend until smooth and creamy in consistency.

7. Top with coconut cream and toasted sunflower seeds and serve warm. (I loved the nutty taste of the sunflower seeds on the soup so my tip is to sprinkle liberally. )



Hodges, R. E., & Minich, D. M. (2015). Modulation of metabolic detoxification pathways using foods and food-derived components: A scientific review with clinical application. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, 2015, 760689.

Metabolic detoxification. (n.d.). Retrieved from


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