Your blood is the unsung hero of the body, keeping your organs plied with the nutrients and oxygen they need to function well. But you don’t need a fancy, expensive diet to purify your blood. Since the kidney and the liver cleanse the blood and rid it of toxins, all you need to do is ensure that they’re in good working order. And while you’re at it, maintaining the right balance of sugar, lipids, and minerals in your blood as well as keeping your hemoglobin and iron levels in check would help too. So how do you go about purifying your blood naturally? Here’s a ready reckoner of foods that work like a detox for your blood.
[expert_opinion expertname=’devinburke’ opinion=”Starting each day with a cup of warm lemon water, ginger turmeric tea, or a green juice works wonders for the health of our blood. Green foods such spinach, kale, and bok choy are my personal go-to foods to help purify the blood.”]
The simplest but one of the most effective detoxifiers is plain old water. Since urine is the means through which kidneys flush out toxins from the blood, having sufficient water is your best bet to keep the blood clean. As with a deep cleanse of your home, a proper purification regimen for your blood will require you to incorporate plenty of water into your diet. Staying hydrated can help your kidneys flush out the impurities in the body, aided by the fiber and minerals from all the other blood-purifying foods.1
[pullquote]The standard recommendation for drinking water is 8 glasses of water, each glass measuring 8 oz. But drink as much as you need.[/pullquote]
Ayurveda outlines an ideal way to have water for detox benefits. Keep some warmed water in a copper vessel overnight and drink it next day in the morning when you wake up. The copper cools your liver and the water helps with waste elimination and purification of the blood.2
2. Fresh Fruits
[pullquote]Don’t peel fruits like apples and guava. The peel is a richer source of antioxidants.[/pullquote]
The pectin fiber in the skin of fruits like apples, guavas, plums, and pears is useful for detoxifying the blood. Besides binding with the excess fats in your blood as well as liver, pectin binds with heavy metals and other harmful chemicals or waste in your bloodstream and is then removed. In addition to this, lycopene found in red fruits and glutathione (both antioxidants) are useful for eliminating waste and chemicals.3
Additionally, if you’re a fan of berries, you’re in luck. Studies state that they are high in antioxidants which prevent any damage to the liver such as lesions and fibrosis. They also inhibit the growth of liver cancer cells. So, incorporate options like cranberry and blueberries into your diet to keep your liver healthy.4
[pullquote]Lycopene is found in red fruits like watermelon and pink guava, while apples are a good source of glutathione.[/pullquote]
Alternatively, you could snack on grapes, especially red and purple ones. They contain resveratrol (a plant compound) which, like antioxidants, prevents any damage to the liver and ensures its smooth functioning.
Grapefruit, meanwhile, contains two antioxidants that keep the liver healthy, namely naringenin and naringin. Naringenin improves the liver’s ability to burn fat, while naringin improves its ability to metabolize alcohol and counteract its negative effects.5
[Also Read: How To Increase Blood In Your Body]
3. Green Leafy Vegetables
Not everyone’s a fan of green leafy vegetables. But they can be very good for your blood, considering their abundant nutrient content – vitamins A and C, as well as B vitamins, folate, and iron. The antioxidants in these vegetables help remove harmful free radicals that damage blood cells.6 Choose from kale, spinach, Romaine lettuce, or even mustard greens and Swiss chard.
[pullquote]Not only do leafy greens like spinach supply your blood with iron to help maintain the hemoglobin levels, they also check free radical damage to the blood cells.[/pullquote]
You may also want to try watercress. This delicious alternative helps increase enzymes in the liver that are responsible for detoxification. When you bite into watercress or chop it, it releases glucosinolates – a plant compound primarily present in pungent cruciferous vegetables – which breaks down to form indoles and isothiocyanates, chemical compounds that are known to eliminate carcinogens from the body.7 In one study on the effects of watercress intake on smokers, researchers found that just 170 gm a day resulted in higher levels of carcinogens being expelled in the urine, leaving the blood and body more purified.8
4. Whole Grains
Whole grains are rich in fiber, which is a must-have in your diet if you’d like to rid your system of excess fat, chemicals, and waste. The high fiber content in foods like oats, whole grains, and wheat bran lowers blood cholesterol and glucose levels, cleanses your intestinal tract, eases constipation, and helps your body eliminate waste better.9
Nuts make for a good snack option, especially when you’re trying to eliminate toxins from your blood. They are high in fiber which, as stated earlier, lowers the levels of cholesterol and sugar in the blood. They are also high in vitamin E (an antioxidant) and beneficial monounsaturated fats. Studies state this composition makes nuts beneficial for the liver.
One such study found that eating nuts regularly improved the levels of liver enzymes in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. To add to this, another study found that men who ate fewer nuts had a higher risk of developing the disease as opposed to those who ate large amounts.
6. Cruciferous Vegetables
In ayurveda, cabbage is considered to be a blood purifier. This leafy cruciferous vegetable has antioxidants like vitamins A and C that are good for your liver.13 Additionally, the fiber content in cabbage helps cleanse the digestive tract. It can neutralize chemical compounds like those in cigarette smoke and cleanse your liver too. Cabbage also contains glucosinolates which, as stated earlier, expel carcinogens from the body.14
[pullquote]Cook the cabbage well if you suffer from hypothyroidism. Cooking removes the goiter-causing substances.[/pullquote]
Much like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts contain beneficial chemicals like sulforaphane, indole-3-carbinol, and 1-cyano-2-hydroxy-3-butene (CHB). These block cancer-causing chemicals – such as NNK in cigarette smoke and increase the levels of natural antioxidant enzymes required to kickstart the detoxification process. This is especially important when the body is overloaded with toxins – that’s when the levels of natural antioxidants go down and the detoxification process slows down.15
This “superfood” has gained popularity only recently, but studies have been looking into the health benefits of flaxseeds for a long time now. Animal studies have shown that regular flaxseed consumption improves the functioning of liver and kidney and lowers blood pressure.16 Not to mention, flaxseeds are also high in fiber which manages blood sugar levels and rids the body of toxins. However, since the body can’t digest flaxseeds in their natural form, be sure to buy ground flaxseeds or grind them yourself.
Featuring in most soups and salads, asparagus is a natural diuretic (increases the production of urine) that helps with liver drainage.17 In addition to this, asparagus is a good source of folate, which plays an important role in blood cell formation and growth as well as in the prevention of liver disease.18 Besides this, asparagus is high in fiber, which has already been established as an important factor in getting rid of toxins from the body.
Delicious and versatile, avocado is a chef favorite. And, considering how healthy it is for your liver, it’s no surprise that nutritionists recommend it too. Avocado contains glutathione, an antioxidant which, as stated earlier, helps the liver remove synthetic chemicals from the body.19
10. Olive Oil
There are numerous health benefits of olive oil, one of which happens to be its positive effects on the liver. Studies state that consuming one teaspoon of the oil every day improved the functioning of liver enzymes and lowered fat levels (fat accumulation is a part of the first stage of liver disease) in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It also improved the blood flow in the liver. Besides this, olive oil consumption can also improve blood sugar levels.20 21
Beetroot is a natural source of nitrates and antioxidant betalains which can reduce inflammation and oxidative damage in the liver.22 Several studies conducted on rats show that beetroot juice increases the production of enzymes that naturally detoxify the body.23 However, human studies are still required to fully understand beetroot’s detoxifying potential.
[expert_opinion expertname=’kimberlylackey’ opinion=”The liver, your body’s detoxifying organ, filters your blood to remove any chemicals or toxins that may have ended up in your bloodstream. The amount of toxins we encounter daily, whether external or internal, can be overwhelming and taxing on the liver. Almost everybody could help out their liver by boosting this detox system naturally. Nature has provided us with many blood cleansing remedies to help eliminate toxins from the lymph system, kidneys and liver, ensuring pure untainted blood circulates through our body to the various organs.”]
With celebrities and social media influencers recommending shots of wheatgrass juice in the morning, it might come as no surprise to you that wheatgrass has liver-protecting properties. Studies indicate that it aids in the detoxification of the liver. Wheatgrass is often recommended for blood disorders such as low red blood count or anemia. In addition to this, it is also known to reduce blood sugar levels.24
Garlic is antibacterial spice and can cleanse your system of viruses and parasites that could harm it.25 This pungent food removes excess fat from the blood. In the bargain, it lowers the levels of bad LDL cholesterol and total serum cholesterol in your body.26
[pullquote]Lead is a common toxin lurking in paint and other household objects that pollutes the blood. Garlic can bring down lead levels in your blood by 19%.[/pullquote]
Exposure to toxic metals can pollute your blood and body, causing all manner of problems – from cramps and appetite loss to brain damage. The antioxidants in garlic not only detoxify your body as a whole but can also fight mild-to-moderate lead poisoning. You are often exposed to this metal through lead paints, contaminated dust, among other things.
Garlic can reduce metal levels by as much as 19% and ease toxicity symptoms like headaches. Research has shown that the sulfur compounds in garlic have a therapeutic effect not unlike that of d-penicillamine, which is commonly used to treat lead poisoning. Garlic could, in fact, be a safer option to cleanse your body of the heavy metal.27
Turmeric on its own is a wonderful natural healer that can fight inflammation. It can help treat liver trouble and even keep it functioning optimally. And this is important because the liver and kidneys are the two primary centers for cleansing the blood of impurities and purging them from the body.28
[pullquote]Infuse black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger in a glass of turmeric milk for blood-purifying benefits.[/pullquote]
When this golden spice is combined with milk, its purification powers go up a notch. Turmeric milk figures prominently in liver cleanse diets in ayurveda. One such diet recommends turmeric milk that has been infused with spices like black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, and ginger for 72 hours. This drink is supposed to help your body generate fresh red blood cells besides plying your system with nutrients and acting as a good health tonic.29
[pullquote]Though sweet, jaggery helps detox the blood, but it’s a strict no-no for diabetics.[/pullquote]
A popular ingredient from India, this golden-brown unrefined sugar is also known to be a good blood purifier. Its fiber content helps it cleanse the digestive system, prevent constipation, and expel waste from the body. Because of the high iron content, it can help sort out an iron deficiency and restore hemoglobin levels.30 If you’ve just had a baby, jaggery can help expel clotted blood from the body, acting as a natural cleanse/flush for your blood.31 And in case you are wondering if jaggery is good for diabetics, the answer is no. Try the other foods on this list.
[pullquote]A warm glass of lemon water in the morning can increase glutathione in your body, which helps the liver detox the blood better.[/pullquote]
Warm water with lemon juice is recommended in both ayurveda and naturopathy as a good start-of-day drink to cleanse the blood. As per ayurveda, this helps release the “ama” or toxins in your digestive tract, cleansing your system.32
Research also backs this up. The warm water aids in the breakdown of fat and also eases the load on your kidneys, while the vitamins and minerals in the lemon help the body detox.33
[expert_opinion expertname=’jenniferkanaan’ opinion=”When it comes to detoxifying your blood, lemon water is your number one solution. Have a glass in the morning and increase your consumption of garlic and turmeric along with your favorite dark leafy vegetables. A combination of all of these is a sure guarantee to completely clear your body and blood from accumulated toxins.”]
The vitamin C, in particular, is needed by your body to create glutathione. Your liver then uses this compound to purge your blood of harmful chemicals.34
[Also Read: Benefits of Drinking Honey Lemon Water]
Besides incorporating these blood-purifying foods in your diet, remember to avoid foods that increase cholesterol and triglycerides and foods that increase glucose in the blood.
|↑1||Selby,Anna. Complete Ayurveda Workbook: A practical approach to achieving health and well-being with Ayurveda.Pavilion Books,2012.|
|↑2||Gowans, Shanti. Ayurveda for Health & Well-Being. Jaico Publishing House,2004.|
|↑3||Sharma, B. R., L. Naresh, N. C. Dhuldhoya, S. U. Merchant, and U. C. Merchant. “An overview on pectins.” Times Food Processing Journal 23, no. 2 (2006): 44-51.|
|↑4||Cheshchevik, V. T., E. A. Lapshina, I. K. Dremza, S. V. Zabrodskaya, R. J. Reiter, N. I. Prokopchik, and I. B. Zavodnik. “Rat liver mitochondrial damage under acute or chronic carbon tetrachloride-induced intoxication: protection by melatonin and cranberry flavonoids.” Toxicology and applied pharmacology 261, no. 3 (2012): 271-279.|
|↑5||Madrigal-Santillán, Eduardo, Eduardo Madrigal-Bujaidar, Isela Álvarez-González, María Teresa Sumaya-Martínez, José Gutiérrez-Salinas, Mirandeli Bautista, Ángel Morales-González, Manuel García-Luna y González-Rubio, J. Leopoldo Aguilar-Faisal, and José A. Morales-González. “Review of natural products with hepatoprotective effects.” World Journal of Gastroenterology: WJG 20, no. 40 (2014): 14787.|
|↑6||The Health Benefits of Dark Green Leafy Vegetables, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.|
|↑7||Getahun, Serkadis M., and Fung-Lung Chung. “Conversion of glucosinolates to isothiocyanates in humans after ingestion of cooked watercress.” Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 8, no. 5 (1999): 447-451.|
|↑8||Johnson, Ian T. “Phytochemicals and cancer.” Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 66, no. 02 (2007): 207-215.|
|↑9||Fiber. Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.|
|↑10||Arya, Shalini S., Akshata R. Salve, and S. Chauhan. “Peanuts as functional food: a review.” Journal of food science and technology 53, no. 1 (2016): 31-41.|
|↑11||Gupta, Vikas, Xian-Jun Mah, Maria Carmela Garcia, Christina Antonypillai, and David van der Poorten. “Oily fish, coffee and walnuts: Dietary treatment for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.” World Journal of Gastroenterology: WJG 21, no. 37 (2015): 10621.|
|↑12||Han, Jung Mi, An Na Jo, Seung Min Lee, Hyun Suk Bae, Dae Won Jun, Yong Kyun Cho, Ki Tae Suk et al. “Associations between intakes of individual nutrients or whole food groups and non‐alcoholic fatty liver disease among Korean adults.” Journal of gastroenterology and hepatology 29, no. 6 (2014): 1265-1272.|
|↑13||Tirtha, Swami Sadashiva. The Ayurveda encyclopedia: Natural secrets to healing, prevention, and longevity. Sat Yuga Press, 2007.|
|↑14||Huntington, Ellsworth. “Eat Cabbage to Fight Cancer.”|
|↑15||Percival, Mark. “Phytonutrients and detoxification.” Clinical nutrition insights 5, no. 2 (1997): 1-4.|
|↑16||Al-Bishri, Widad M. “Favorable effects of flaxseed-supplemented diet on liver and kidney functions in hypertensive Wistar rats.” Journal of oleo science 62, no. 9 (2013): 709-715.|
|↑17||Kumar, M. C., A. L. Udupa, K. Sammodavardhana, U. P. Rathnakar, Udapa Shvetha, and G. Prabhath Kodancha. “Acute toxicity and diuretic studies of the roots of Asparagus racemosus Willd in rats.” West Indian Medical Journal 59, no. 1 (2010): 03-06.|
|↑18||Michigan grown asparagus. Michigan State University.|
|↑19||Dreher, Mark L., and Adrienne J. Davenport. “Hass avocado composition and potential health effects.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 53, no. 7 (2013): 738-750.|
|↑20||Sofi, Francesco, Ilaria Giangrandi, Francesca Cesari, Ilaria Corsani, Rosanna Abbate, Gian Franco Gensini, and Alessandro Casini. “Effects of a 1-year dietary intervention with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid-enriched olive oil on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease patients: a preliminary study.” International journal of food sciences and nutrition 61, no. 8 (2010): 792-802.|
|↑21||Nigam, Priyanka, Suryaprakash Bhatt, Anoop Misra, Davinder S. Chadha, Meera Vaidya, Jharna Dasgupta, and Qadar MA Pasha. “Effect of a 6-month intervention with cooking oils containing a high concentration of monounsaturated fatty acids (olive and canola oils) compared with control oil in male Asian Indians with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.” Diabetes technology & therapeutics 16, no. 4 (2014): 255-261.|
|↑22||Clifford, Tom, Glyn Howatson, Daniel J. West, and Emma J. Stevenson. “The potential benefits of red beetroot supplementation in health and disease.” Nutrients 7, no. 4 (2015): 2801-2822.|
|↑23||Vulić, Jelena J., Tatjana N. Ćebović, Jasna M. Čanadanović-Brunet, Gordana S. Ćetković, Vladimir M. Čanadanović, Sonja M. Djilas, and Vesna T. Tumbas Šaponjac. “In vivo and in vitro antioxidant effects of beetroot pomace extracts.” Journal of Functional Foods 6 (2014): 168-175.|
|↑24||Mujoriya, Rajesh, and Ramesh Babu Bodla. “A study on wheat grass and its Nutritional value.” Food Science and Quality Management 2 (2011): 1-8.|
|↑25||Rahman, Mohammad Shafiur. “Allicin and other functional active components in garlic: health benefits and bioavailability.” International Journal of Food Properties 10, no. 2 (2007): 245-268.|
|↑26||Ried, Karin, Catherine Toben, and Peter Fakler. “Effect of garlic on serum lipids: an updated meta-analysis.” Nutrition reviews 71, no. 5 (2013): 282-299.|
|↑27||Kianoush, Sina, Mahdi Balali‐Mood, Seyed Reza Mousavi, Valiollah Moradi, Mahmoud Sadeghi, Bita Dadpour, Omid Rajabi, and Mohammad Taghi Shakeri. “Comparison of Therapeutic Effects of Garlic and d‐Penicillamine in Patients with Chronic Occupational Lead Poisoning.” Basic & clinical pharmacology & toxicology 110, no. 5 (2012): 476-481.|
|↑28||Turmeric. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑29||Khalsa, Karta Purkh Singh, and Michael Tierra. The way of ayurvedic herbs: The most complete guide to natural healing and health with traditional ayurvedic herbalism. Lotus Press, 2008.|
|↑30||Shrivastav, Priyanka, Abhay Kumar Verma, Ramanpreet Walia, Rehana Parveen, and Arun Kumar Singh. “European Journal Of Pharmaceutical And Medical Research.”|
|↑31||Kumbhar, Yogesh Shankar. “Study On Gur (Jaggery) Industry In Kolhapur.” (2016).|
|↑32||9 Ayurvedic Morning Rituals, The Yoga Journal (Aug 28, 2007).|
|↑33||Patel,Suchita, Jinal Patel, Mona Patel, and Prof. Dr. Dhrubo Jyoti Sen.”Say yes to warm to remove harm.”European Journal Of Pharmaceutical And Medical Research 015,2(4):444-460.|
|↑34||Johnston, Carol S., Claudia G. Meyer, and J. C. Srilakshmi. “Vitamin C elevates red blood cell glutathione in healthy adults.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 58, no. 1 (1993): 103-105.|