6 Simple Dietary Swaps For Natural Detoxification

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6 Simple Dietary Swaps For Natural Detoxificationinfographic © herbshealthhappiness.com. lemon water photo © lbordeafeliciea – fotolia.com

The detoxification movement has risen in popularity over the recent years, with “detox” diets and drinks seemingly everywhere. However, how exactly does detoxification work? Does a “detox” meal or flush really provide significant health benefits? One of the methods of detoxification involves the modification of a person’s diet in order to get rid of the toxins that have built up over time. When done correctly, detoxification diets are widely regarded as able to improve your health greatly. [1]

Try swapping the following items out from your diet, including their healthier alternatives – and note the results!

1: Coffee To Water

Making this first switch can be a difficult one. According to John’s Hopkins, coffee – or rather, caffeine – is the “most commonly used mood-altering drug in the world”. Coffee is the biggest culprit when it comes to caffeine intake in our diet but caffeine can also be found in chocolate, tea, and soft drinks (a.k.a. caffeinated beverages). Coffee can cause anxiety, sleep disturbances, and physical symptoms like tremors and tachycardia (fast heartbeat) – a sense of “false energy”. [2]

Instead of coffee, opt to drink water instead! Without enough water, we start to suffer severe electrolyte imbalances and toxin build-up that affects the natural homeostasis among our body systems. Substituting water for coffee and other caffeinated beverages can help the body in its natural detoxification process. [3]

2: Soft drinks And Alcohol To Fruit Juices

Soft drinks and alcohol contain nothing but empty calories and hyperglycemia-causing sugar. Not only do soft drinks have dangerously high caffeine content, they are also laden with sugar – and not just any sugar. Sugar from colas and other carbonated drinks is artificial sugar, meaning it is manufactured in a lab and is harder to be absorbed by the body. These kinds of drinks increase a person’s risk for metabolic disorders like diabetes. Alcohol, on the other hand, is one of the leading causes of liver dysfunction – with moderate and high alcohol consumption being linked to an increased risk for liver cancer and eventual death. [4][5]

Fruit and vegetable juices are an excellent drink substitute, being a great source of much-needed vitamins and minerals. Studies have found that fruit juices, specifically 100% fruit juice (not the sugary, artificial kind, but fresh juice) has high nutritional value that can improve cardiovascular health and even help you lose weight. Vegetable juices perform the same way, helping reduce hypertension and assist the body with natural weight loss and detoxification. [6][7]

3: Sugar To Brown Rice Syrup

Table sugar is not natural and is so ubiquitous that is not often remember that it is infect a highly abnormal food, compared to what our bodies are evolutionarily designed to eat. Naturally occurring sugar comes from fruits and vegetables while your typical table sugar is artificial, manufactured solely to provide sweetness with zero nutritional value. In fact, SSBs or sugar-sweetened beverages have been associated with the development of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Instead of using table sugar, use brown rice syrup instead! Brown rice syrup has a relatively high glycemic index of 98, meaning it functions like table sugar but because it is naturally occurring, it is readily absorbed by the body instead of contributing to adiposity and weight gain. [8][9][10]

4: Salt To Sea Vegetables

Salt is a leading contributor to hypertension and cardiovascular disease. This is because salt causes water retention in the blood vessels (“where salt goes, water follows”), raising the body’s blood pressure. Hypertension is dangerous because it increases the pressure the heart needs to overcome in order to pump blood to the rest of the body. It can also cause venous and arterial leaks when the pressure tears the delicate tissues of the blood vessels, leading to a stroke or heart attack. [11]

Instead of salt, turn to sea vegetables instead to get your sodium fix. Vegetables like seaweed that come from the sea also have adequate amounts of sodium but their benefits (high vitamin and mineral content) are miles ahead of table salt. Intake of sea vegetables has been linked with a decreased risk for pancreatic cancer, which can be attributed to its high sulfate polysaccharide content (SP). SPs are known be anticoagulant, antiviral, antioxidative, and anticancer — all of which can help fight against chronic diseases and promote detoxification. [12][13]

5: Meat To Whole Grains

While completely cutting meat from your life will probably do more harm than food (our body still needs the protein!), it can be good to substitute meat with whole grains several meals a week to detoxify your body. High consumption of meat has been linked with a variety of cancer, namely cancer that affects the colon. [14]

Whole grains are an excellent source of dietary fiber – a great way to cleanse or detoxify the body by regulating bowel movement. Studies have found that dietary fiber is associated with a decreased risk for chronic disease, which can be linked to better protein metabolism (since high protein intake contributes or is associated with cancer). Whole grains have also been linked to a reduction in systemic inflammation (seen in various chronic diseases) and improvement in lipid metabolism through alterations in the gut microorganisms. [15][16]

6: Dairy To Almond And Rice Milk

For people who suffer from lactose intolerance (or simply want to substitute dairy products with something healthier), rice and almond milk can be a great alternative. Milk is a good way to get calcium into your diet but it has a rather high saturated fat content. While the SF content of milk still needs to be studied (some studies find SF from milk beneficial), saturated fat has been found to contribute to chronic heart and metabolic diseases. [17]

Instead of milk, why not opt for almond or rice milk instead? Almond milk is a good source of protein and is a natural way to manage lactose-intolerance without compromising on nutritional content. A study has also found that almonds help manage lipid levels and vascular dysfunction, suggesting a protective measure against metabolic and cardiac disease. Rice milk can also be another milk substitute, but one that must be used with caution. Different studies have found that rice milk in the diet of children can cause malnutrition, so substitution should be done cautiously. However, a study on rice milk from Jasmine rice was found to have significant antioxidant capabilities, suggesting that it can be used to fight chronic disease and promote detoxification. [18][19][20] For best results, make your own from organic almonds or rice. See our tutorial here: How To Make Your Own Almond, Nut, Rice and Seed Milks


[1] Cline, J. (2015). Nutritional aspects of detoxification in clinical practice. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26026145

[2] Johns Hopkins Medicine. Caffeine Dependence. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/psychiatry/research/bpru/docs/caffeine_dependence_fact_sheet.pdf

[3] US Geological Survey. The water in you. https://water.usgs.gov/edu/propertyyou.html

[4] Greenwood, D., et. al. (2014). Association between sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened soft drinks and type 2 diabetes: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24932880

[5] Persson, E., et. al. (2013). Alcohol consumption, folate intake, hepatocellular carcinoma, and liver disease mortality. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23307533

[6] Clemens, R., et. al. (2015). Squeezing Fact from Fiction about 100% Fruit Juice. https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4352186/

[7] Shenoy, S., et. al. (2010). Weight loss in individuals with metabolic syndrome given DASH diet counseling when provided a low sodium vegetable juice: a randomized controlled trial. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20178625

[8] Teshima, N., et. al. (2015). Effects of sugar-sweetened beverage intake on the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus in subjects with impaired glucose tolerance: the Mihama diabetes prevention study. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25994135

[9] Malik, V. & Hu, F. (2015). Fructose and Cardiometabolic Health: What the Evidence From Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tells Us. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26429086

[10] The University of Sydney. Organic Rice Syrup/Rice Malt Syrup. https://glycemicindex.com/foodSearch.php?num=2648&ak=detail

[11] Cleveland Clinic (2015). If You Have High Blood Pressure, Salt Still Matters. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/06/if-you-have-high-blood-pressure-salt-still-matters/

[12] Kim, S. & Li, Y. (2011). Medicinal benefits of sulfated polysaccharides from sea vegetables. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22054963

[13] Shigihara, M., et. al. (2014). Consumption of fruits, vegetables, and seaweeds (sea vegetables) and pancreatic cancer risk: the Ohsaki Cohort Study. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24522236

[14] Steck, S., et. al. (2014). Nucleotide excision repair gene polymorphisms, meat intake and colon cancer risk. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24607854

[15] Ross, A. (2014). The Nutrition Society Summer Meeting 2014, University of Glasgow. 14–17 July 2014. https://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=9871633&fileId=S0029665114001542

[16] Walter, J., et. al. (2013). Holobiont nutrition. https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3744518/

[17] Hammad, S., Pu, S. & Jones, P. (2016). Current Evidence Supporting the Link Between Dietary Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26719191

[18] Jamshed, H. & Gilani, A. (2014). Almonds inhibit dyslipidemia and vascular dysfunction in rats through multiple pathways. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25332475

[19] Salpietro, C., et. al. (2005). The almond milk: a new approach to the management of cow-milk allergy/intolerance in infants. https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/16172596

[20] Sirirat, D. & Jelena, P. (2010). Bacterial inhibition and antioxidant activity of kefir produced from Thai jasmine rice milk. https://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/20113139033

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