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Detoxify Your Diet this holiday season—for radiant skin and health

The holiday season is often a time of over indulgence in food and drink. In keeping with the spirit of abundance and celebration, many of us throw moderation and good nutritional sense out the window. Unfortunately, we can begin to look tired and bloated as a consequence.

The good news is that Mother Nature supplies us with a bounty of naturally detoxifying foods. These foods help the body eliminate environmental and dietary toxins while also supporting the normal function of critical organs - the health of which are manifest on our skin. In fact, one of the most pronounced and gratifying effects of eating these foods is the newfound radiance skin takes on. Here are some of my favorite detoxifying foods:

Green foods
Green foods are powerful detoxifying agents and can help counter the negative effects of alcohol. 'Green foods' include a range of plant based delicacies such as young barely grass, blue green algae, wheatgrass, kale, spinach, spirulina, alfalfa, chard, arugula and other organic leafy greens.

Recent research now suggests that the oxidation product of alcohol, acetaldehyde, may be responsible for cancer and other health problems related to alcohol consumption. Since acetaldehyde accumulates in the gut during drinking, it may be possible to breakdown the acetaldehyde by consuming certain drinks or food.

Tip: Enjoy young barley grass juice. It has a high concentration of a unique bioflavanoid called glycosylisovitexin or GIV that helps to prevent acetaldehyde accumulation caused by alcohol consumption.

Curcumin is another super detoxifying agent to help combat excessive consumption of sugar and alcohol. It is the substance that gives the spice turmeric its distinctive yellow color. Curcumin stops the changes caused by excessive alcohol consumption that lead to liver damage.

Protecting the liver is critical because one of its functions is to detoxify the dangerous chemicals in our environment, food chain, air and water.

Tip: Mix 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric with a little water and take it like a shot. This amazing spice will lower blood sugar and provide superior anti-oxidant protection.

Watercress contains a powerhouse of nutrients and has been used as a tonic since ancient times to cleanse the blood and liver of toxins and promote an overall feeling of good health. It has been used in a variety of ways, including enhancing stamina and ridding the body of excess fluids; it is also a great antioxidant. My studies of watercress have shown that it helps with many health issues including reducing DNA damage, inhibiting the invasive potential of breast cancer cells, increasing lutein levels for improved eye health and improving gene expression of cell protective antioxidant enzymes. Because it is also a low calorie vegetable, it helps with weight management.

Tip: Add chopped watercress to your daily diet - it is an excellent addition to omelets, salads and soups.

Foods to Avoid on the Detox Plan
Above all, avoid starchy, sugary foods and beverages as well as those containing high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which will 'super size' you in no time. This 'frankenfood' increases the appetite and converts to fat more rapidly than any other sugar. These foods not only promote weight gain, they will give you dull, wrinkled and sagging skin. Foods that contain high levels of unhealthy fats should also be avoided as they place a burden on the liver.

Avoid the following foods, which promote toxic substances in the body:

  • All foods that are cooked at high heats
  • Foods cooked at low heats for long periods with no liquid
  • Charbroiled or roasted meats (browned poultry skin is a significant source of advanced glycation end products - AGEs - which accelerate aging)
  • Fried foods
  • Prepackaged baked goods that are deep brown in color – this will usually signify the addition of sugars or caramel coloring, making them a source of exogenous AGEs
  • All forms of soda

Soda is dangerous for several reasons, including excessive sugar content or - even worse - high fructose corn syrup. In fact, almost every bottle or can of soda on the market is now made with high fructose corn syrup, which increases the appetite and promotes obesity to a far greater degree than cane sugar. A great many sodas also contain caramel coloring, many also contain sodium benzoate—a popular preservative that can react with ascorbic acid to form the cancer-causing chemical benzene.

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