Trousers feel a little tight? Sick of the sight of mince pies? Perhaps it's time to start thinking about a post-Christmas detox?
PUBLISHED: 10:15 27 December 2014
After the overindulgence of Christmas, we could all do with planning a little detox in the New Year. But if the idea of sipping lemon water and drinking cabbage soup does not appeal to you, don't panic.
Our health expert, sports nutritionist Nikki Edwards, explains how you can incorporate a few choice ingredients into your daily menu to help rid you of the toxins.
Be like Cameron Diaz
I am not going to suggest anything too extreme. Gwyneth Paltrow swears by drinking juice for seven days straight. Beyoncé goes vegan for a month. But are these really realistic for the average woman?
Let’s take a leaf out of Cameron Diaz’s book instead. She once said women should “stop hating their bodies, understand them and take care of them”. She also believes we are what we eat. And I agree. After all, nobody wants to be a donut.
To detox or not to detox?
January is a key time for the diet industry.
In recent years, ‘detox’ has meant cutting out certain foods or drinks from your diet.
Now many professionals believe that our bodies have a perfectly effective system for getting rid of anything we don’t need.
But what if we sense that what’s going in and coming out doesn’t feel quite right?
Given all the studies showing the positive links between nutrition and health, might there be some basis for sometimes cutting out certain foods or indeed introducing others?
What to eat
Certain foods can support the process of detoxifying, by providing vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, essential fatty acids, fibre and other needed nutrients. Here is a list of simple ingredients you can include in your January diet to combat the post-party toxins:
Loaded with anthocyanins, this can help reduce the risk of heart disease, allergies, cancer, and diabetes. Preliminary research indicates that they may also help slow skin ageing by reducing the weakening of skin’s collagen and elastin fibers.
A detox favourite, it contains sulfur-containing compounds that may fight harmful bacteria and yeast in the intestines and boost the body’s ability to detox by increasing production of glutathione, needed to eliminate certain toxins. The sulfur compounds, called allicin, are broken down in the body to allyl sulfides, which may guard against heart disease, certain cancers, arthritis and diabetes.
One of the most potent detox foods, lemons are packed with vitamin C and are thought to help restore the alkaline-acid balance of the body, enabling us to more effectively remove dietary and environmental toxins.
Cabbage has cleansing properties due to their high content of glucosinolates, sulfur-containing compounds that are converted into active forms isothiocyanates and indoles. Isothiocyanates may prevent cancer by promoting the elimination of potential carcinogens from the body.
Wheat and gluten-free, quinoa is a popular detox food and protein powerhouse.
Thought to have potent detoxifying abilities, being packed with chlorophyll, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
These have high vitamin E content so are great for the skin. They’re also rich in magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, iron, folate, and phytochemicals, all of which may help prevent chronic diseases.
A detox superfood, packed with fibre and vitamin C.
A natural anti-inflammatory, ginger also helps ease nausea, improve digestion, and promote detox by speeding the movement of food through the intestines.
10. Green Tea
A good substitute if you are trying to cut back on coffee.