Ruth Clark: A great time for cleansing

  • Ruth Clark

Published: 9/30/2022 12:03:03 PM

It’s that time of year again when the seasons start changing.

As we adapt, we change up our T-shirts for sweaters and choose warm lattes to ward off the chill. Fall is also a great time to think about detoxification and cleansing our systems. Just as the trees shrug off their leaves every year in the fall so that they can have healthy growth in the spring, we need to do the same to reduce our toxin burden and support our inner pathways to “clean house.”

Feeling sluggish? Then it is perfect time to start. You can take this on as a formal detoxification program or just start adding certain foods to gently help you move in that direction.

Six favorite foods for healthy detox

1. Greens such as kale, collards and mustard greens are a great source of sulfur, which supports detoxification. They are also very nutrient-dense, as are Swiss chard and spinach, which are loaded with vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as thiamin, folate, calcium, iron and magnesium – the list goes on! Greens are also a great detox choice because they are rich in chlorophyll to bind toxins. These veggies are also highly available right now locally.

2. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, arugula, Brussels sprouts and bokchoy boost liver-detoxifying enzymes. These veggies are also high in fiber, which acts like a broom to sweep out the colon by stimulating natural elimination. You may also want to consider adding powdered mustard seeds to cooked broccoli to increase formation of one of the major detox compounds from cruciferous vegetables, sulforaphane. Broccoli, and other foods as part of a personalized nutrition plan, provide glutathione support.

3. Sprouts assist in kidney and liver function, which are key organs in the elimination of toxins. They are filled with many of the great benefits found in the seeds they are sprouted from and are healthier because the process of sprouting brings out many enzymes. Enzymes are vital to proper digestion. This helps detoxification and elimination.

Fresh broccoli sprouts, for example, are superstars and more potent than whole broccoli. Some of the latest research into this "super food" suggests that broccoli sprouts may help detox certain very toxic pollutants.

4. Cilantro is a great source of flavonoids, which bind to heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury, lead and cadmium in the body and aid in the removal from the body through urine. Cooking cilantro helps to optimize its ability to bind toxins. These flavonoids also fight harmful inflammation caused by toxic overload.

Some people don’t love the taste of cilantro because they have a gene that creates a soapy flavor, but if you like the taste, you get to benefit from this detox powerhouse. You can use cilantro as you would sprouts, but you can also add it to soups like black bean, guacamole and rice.

5. Other herbs and spices, such as chives, rosemary, turmeric, ginger and parsley that you use in cooking can help with detox, as well. Turmeric and rosemary are especially great when cooking to offset the formation of unhealthy compounds (e.g., heterocyclic amines) that form in the presence of heat.

6. Berries are a source of polyphenolic compounds. Great sources include raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, grape and blackberry because the red, purple and blue color of berries is due to the pigment, anthocyanin (a powerful polyphenol). Polyphenols are known for their ability to boost digestion and brain health, as well as protect against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and even genetic material from ionizing radiation. 

There is lots you can do to help protect yourself with the addition of some simple foods. Some “detoxification” or “cleanse” programs can be unsafe and falsely advertised, so caution is warranted. If you are interested in a more-structured, safe detoxification program, please join me for my online Rejuvenation Jump Start program, which starts on Oct. 12. You can learn more at

Ruth Clark, author of the best-selling book “Cool the Fire: Curb Inflammation and Balance Hormones,” is a registered dietitian nutritionist with a master’s in public health and over 35 years of experience. She lives in Sharon and her practice is 100 percent virtual. Clark specializes in midlife and older women who are struggling with weight, mood and fatigue to regain their energy and vitality. You can reach her at

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