Did you enjoy trying burdock root in my Liver Lover’s Gomashio recipe from my previous blog post? It’s good isn’t it? And dare I say that it will get your bile flowing, which helps clean out all of those environmental toxins you are exposed to every day; improving your energy and hormones.
In my other previous blogs in this series, I have discussed how adding cruciferous veggies and leafy greens, as well as adding dandelion greens, to your daily diet can also help you naturally detox your body.
Today I will continue with the 4th food in my series on 5 natural cleansing foods.
Unlike burdock root, which many of you may not have ever heard of, this next food is something that is likely already on the top of your list for all its many health benefits.
The amazing Avocado!
Avocado in our diet is healthy for so many reasons, and although you might not initially think of it as a cleansing food, it really is a powerful detoxifier.
Avocados contain a nutrient called “glutathione”; a powerful antioxidant enzyme that is used by your liver to improve phase 2 detoxification reactions.
What does that mean?
Well, your body goes through 3 natural phases of detoxification. At a very high level,
- Phase 1 transforms the toxins (environmental pollutants, chemicals in everyday skincare products, excess hormones in your body, and more) into a chemical that can be metabolized more easily by phase 2 enzymes.
- In phase 2, enzymes attach to the toxin and transform it into a more water-soluble substance. This is where glutathione comes in. It increases the activity of phase 2 detoxification, making phase 3 (the transport of the toxins out of the cells, to be excreted out of the body) more successful.
Glutathione – so vital in Phase 2 Detoxification as well as overall cell health – is particularly important for detoxification of synthetic chemicals, for blocking at least thirty different carcinogens and for increasing the activity of the most important aspect of liver detoxification, something called the phase 2 cytochrome P450 system.
And glutathione is also vital to many other functions in the body, including immune function, pulmonary health, bowel health, carbohydrate metabolism, cognitive health, eye health and cardiovascular health!
The liver is the largest reservoir for glutathione in the body. And people can negatively affect their liver health – resulting in lower amounts of glutathione – through poor diet and poor lifestyle decisions (alcohol, smoking, etc.), as well as through everyday toxin exposure.
And many people are (genetically) deficient in glutathione levels!
According to the human genome project research, glutathione levels tend to be low due to genetics in almost 50% of the population due to a single nucleotide polymorphism (an alteration in a gene). The enzyme glutathione-S-transferase, responsible for making glutathione, is missing or deficient in close to 50% of the population.
So eating avocados can help with increasing glutathione levels in the body, which will improve your body’s ability to detox.
If you want to understand the phases of detoxification a bit more, check out this previous blog which has a very good, detailed discussion relating to it. This earlier blog also talks in much more depth about hormones, and how hormonal imbalance can occur if your body isn’t detoxing itself adequately.
In particular there is a good discussion on Xenoestrogens. These nasty inhibitors of estrogen compete with your body’s real estrogen. You may have heavy metal exposure due to composite dental fillings, or you may have been exposed to other toxins in the air or your environment. And the xenoestrogens that form bind to your estrogen sites (meaning, the real estrogen can’t!).
If your liver detoxification isn’t working well, what happens is that estrogenic wastes; which are supposed to be detoxified and eliminated, often end up recirculating. So then you don’t have good (real!) estrogen doing what it is supposed to be doing, and you now have toxic byproducts of the xenoestrogens. You may develop problems with your menstrual cycles, early menopause, or if entering menopause, you may have problems with hot flashes. You may also have problems with bone development because of these false “poisonous” estrogens.
So hopefully you are seeing how important strong liver detoxification is in correcting hormonal imbalances!
Avocados also contain xanthophylls; clinical studies suggest that xanthophylls may have antioxidant and DNA protective effects with possible healthy aging protective effects as well.
Avocados come into season in the spring. I try to buy organic when they are available. I love guacamole, but also use avocado as a substitute for butter or oil in my favorite baked goods as well as for summertime picnic sandwiches (instead of mayo). It is fantastic.
Unlike typical fruit, avocados contain very low sugar content (only about 0.2 g sugar per one-half fruit). They are high in fat, but it’s healthy fat (monounsaturated); as long as you eat in moderation. At least eight avocado cardiovascular health clinical studies have found consistent associations between the consumption of avocado with positive heart healthy effects and lower cholesterol.
As I thought about today’s recipe, I was feeling a bit sluggish and weighed down…so I immediately went to a favorite standby for a light meal, my Cucumber, Tomato, and Avocado Salad.
I hope you will enjoy it, and try adding your own favorite herbs and other touches.
So we’re almost done. The final of my 5 favorite natural cleansing foods will be discussed in my next blog.
Can you guess what it might be? I’ll give you a hint…it’s a spice!
With love and appreciation,
Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo