Your body is a temple, and what you put inside of it should be sacred, or as healthy as possible. Adhering to a good, nutritious diet and avoiding foods and behaviors that can negatively impact your health (like smoking and consuming excessive sugar and alcohol) will go a long way in preserving your well-being. But it’s not only what you put into your body that’s important—so is what you take out.
Detoxifying is a critical process that eliminates toxins, germs, and other dangerous particles that, over time, can lead to unwanted symptoms and possible health issues. While the liver is in charge of this internal cleanse, sometimes it can use a little help, which is where food detoxes come in.
While some are more rigorous than others (really, who wants to drink cayenne pepper and lemon water for a week?), a great way to jumpstart your body’s deep cleanse is through detox smoothies. With great tasting ingredients, substantial fiber and protein, and a whole host of nutrients, smoothies are a great way to drink up something good while expelling the bad stuff out.
When a detox can help
The human body is pretty intuitive and provides noticeable signals when something is off. When toxic buildup happens, you may notice a physical reaction that could be your cue to start on a dietary detox. Some common signs include:
- Joint pain
- Trouble thinking
- Mood swings
- Migraine headaches
- Poor memory
- Depressed states
While many of these feelings can be normal to some degree, if they become persistent issues and your doctor can’t identify an illness that might be causing them, a detox could be helpful.
Detox smoothies use natural components to help promote a flushing of the body, helping purge the toxins that can accumulate within the gut, intestine, liver, and other organs, usually due to the many preservatives, flavor enhancers, colorings, and other chemicals that find their way into our food.
The following are a series of ingredients and recipes that can target different systems, from cleaning out the liver to the kidneys and bladder, and ridding heavy metals from the body. As well, there are also ideas for a more general detox smoothie if you are just getting started and want an overall cleanse.
The different types of detox smoothies
Here are some of the most common types of detoxes and the ingredients that can best target the issue.
One of the liver’s primary functions is cleansing the different systems in the body, but sometimes it needs help to get back in balance, too.
Some of the key ingredients you can add to the blender include:
- Lemons, oranges, grapefruit, and limes: The high levels of vitamin C found in citrus fruits makes it easier for the body to synthesize toxic materials. Grapefruit in particular is filled with high levels of antioxidants that can help encourage the detox process along.
- Apples: No matter your favorite type, all apples contain pectin and other fibrous compounds that help cleanse the digestive tract and promote better overall digestion, making the liver’s job that much easier.
- Olive oil: Cold press oils like olive oil or flaxseed oil are good for helping to decrease the amount of lipids, or cholesterol, within the body, which works in tandem with the liver’s objective to restore the body back to optimal levels.
- Beets: The betanin pigments found in beets have been shown to help boost liver functionality and therefore provide better detox results.
- Spinach: Leafy green vegetables like spinach are all filled with chlorophylls that have the ability to help neutralize heavy metals and further filter toxins out of the body. Spinach leaves also fit into smoothies easily since they’re virtually flavor-free.
With that information in mind, here are some beneficial smoothie and juice recipes for liver detoxing.
If you ever wanted to know what it feels like to be a vampire, drink up this blood red juice. It gets its color from beets, blood oranges, and pomegranate juice, which together offer a good dose of vitamin C and those helpful pigment compounds.
You won’t have any issue getting all your greens in the morning with this vibrant recipe. Combining spinach, kale, and avocado, along with banana and strawberries, this thicker-than-usual smoothie works great in a bowl with various toppings like goji berries and flaxseed that offer even more detox benefits. Swap out your cereal every morning and reap the rewards that come with it.
Beets are the star here, too, used for years in Ayurvedic medicine for their liver-cleansing properties. To make this bowl more palatable, the recipe adds in pineapple, blueberries, ginger, and coconut water.
Kidney and bladder detox
Keeping your kidneys and bladder healthy is important to help ensure that you don’t develop bothersome urinary tract infections or, even more painful kidney stones. Two whole foods in particular target these two organs:
- Grapefruit: Another win for grapefruit. This superfood has high levels of vitamin C and loads of antioxidants that help flush out that toxins that can linger in the urinary tract and lead to further problems if left unmanaged.
- Cranberries: One of the more common suggestions for dealing with UTIs is taking a good dose of cranberries of cranberry juice; doing so helps prevent bacteria from sticking to urinary tract walls.
To make a smoothie that can help detox the kidney and bladder, start with a basic recipe and add in lots of these two fruits.
Follow this guide to creating your own customized drink (with choice of milk base, protein add-on, and flavor fillers), and then add a good handful of cranberries, grapefruit, and other citrus fruits to get the best cleanse.
Heavy metal detox
Whether you’re a fan of heavy metal or not, compounds like aluminum, lead, and mercury can build up in the body just from regular, everyday contact. While some concentration is normal, if the levels are too high in the bloodstream it can lead to chronic issues involving the respiratory and central nervous systems. But there are certain plant foods that can break down the metal residues and get you back to a better balance:
- Spinach: As mentioned above, spinach and other leafy greens can help to neutralize heavy metals and facilitate easier removal of them from the bloodstream.
- Spirulina: This natural algae is also effective at drawing out heavy metals. Just mixing a couple teaspoons of spirulina powder into the blender is all you need to have effective results.
- Blueberries: In particular, wild blueberries can help promote better brain function and keep you safe from neurological distress brought on by metal toxicity. These berries have phytonutrients that help with the detoxification process, too.
When you want to counteract metals in your system, these two recipes fit the bill:
Not only does this smoothie taste good, but it does good, too. It combines antioxidant-filled blueberries and lycopene-heavy watermelon, which not only help detox but also promote the growth of collagen that leads to beautiful skin.
Berries are a big part of this concoction, too. This drink is actually five layers in one—raspberry-beet, chia pudding, mixed berry mash, blueberry-spinach, and strawberry maca. Combining so many different tastes and textures provides both a satisfying meal and a good headstart on cleansing.
More generalized detox
If you’re unsure of just where to start, mix and match any of the above ingredients for a foolproof way to purify your body. Here are a few more ideas for ingredients you can throw into the blender for more impact:
- Watermelon: Low in calories, filled with hydration, and packed with vitamins, watermelon is the very definition of restorative. It also delivers potassium and magnesium, two key minerals in any good detox plan.
- Cucumber: This vegetable helps deliver polyphenol compounds and acts as a diuretic, which can help stimulate urination—one of the most effective ways to flush toxins out of the body.
- Lemon: Like other citrus fruits, the high ascorbic acid content in lemons helps detoxify your body, while also improving overall digestion. Additionally, the high levels of vitamin C ensure that you get a good overall health boost in the process.
- Strawberries: These tasty berries are filled with anti-inflammatory compounds as well as flavonoids that can lower the risk of numerous diseases. Adding them into smoothies helps boost vitamin content and promotes better pH balance.
For a more general detox, try these two smoothie recipes:
Lemon, basil, and cucumber provide the primary foundation, while the aloe vera acts as a strong diuretic to release the lingering toxins.
Combining mint, cucumber, lime, and green apples, this smoothie delivers a refreshing way to recharge the body, especially after a big meal.