By Ann Louise Gittleman
Eat your way to living beauty with these six sensational superfoods. Many of the veggies and fruits you already have in your fridge provide a whole foods pharmacy of phytochemicals, minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins. They also help prepare your body for daily cleansing and flush out toxins by supporting your liver — the grand central station which controls hormonal balance.
Here are some of my favorites when it comes to eating your way to beautiful.
1. The Crucifers
Cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, broccoli sprouts (half cup cooked or one cup raw, about the size of a small fist)
Crucifers of all types contain vital phytonutrients such as indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane, which aid the liver in neutralizing chemicals and drugs. For extra sulforaphane, try a few servings of broccoli sprouts on your salads. They are available in most supermarkets and add a zesty, peppery kick to those fresh green leaves.
Consuming at least two daily crucifers also helps to prevent those telltale under-eye circles and vertical lines between your brows — all red flags of a tired and toxic liver.
2. Green Leafy Vegetables And Herbs
Parsley, arugula, kale, watercress, chard, cilantro, beet greens, collards, escarole, dandelion greens, mustard greens (half cup cooked or raw)
The bitter taste of greens like arugula, chard, kale, and escarole stimulates digestive secretions. In Asian medicine, bitter-tasting foods are considered to be especially healthy for the liver.
Chlorophyll-rich greens like kale and parsley are rich in magnesium, which bears the same relationship to the chlorophyll molecule as iron to hemoglobin. As a powerful alkalizer and blood purifier, chlorophyll really helps put a rosy glow on your complexion, even without blush.
Cilantro is a savory herb known in alternative medicine circles for its heavy-metal chelating properties. Use cilantro instead of basil for homemade pesto. Blend about two cups of cilantro, two cloves of garlic, half teaspoon of seaweed gomasio, quarter cup of toasted walnuts, and quarter cup of extra-virgin olive oil. Pulse the cilantro in a food processor until well chopped, then add the garlic, seaweed gomasio, and walnuts. Mix in the olive oil last to make a thick and yummy paste. A couple of teaspoons per day are great on crucifers and leafy greens.
One orange or the juice of half a lemon or lime
Oranges, lemons, and limes are full of vitamin C, perhaps the most liver-loving vitamin of them all. Vitamin C stimulates the production of glutathione — the liver’s premier antioxidant — which is crucial for a successful progression through the two-phase detox process. It also stimulates fresh collagen production for tight and youthful skin.
4. Sulfur-Rich Foods
Garlic (at least one clove, minced), onions (half cup cooked), two eggs, daikon radish (quarter cup sliced, raw or cooked)
The daikon radish is really special. It aids in the digestion and metabolism of fats. That’s why in Asian cuisine, you’re always served a bit of daikon radish. With its crisp texture and somewhat pungent taste, it acts as a diuretic and decongestant.
Eggs are rich in the beautifying sulfur-bearing amino acids. Your liver needs these aminos (also found in whey) to successfully complete phase two of its detox process. And eggs offer the lecithin your liver needs to thin out bile and keep cholesterol in balance. Eat about two egg yolks a day (no jokes, just the yolks) because the yolks are so high in lutein and zeaxanthin, the two key carotenoids found in the eye to keep them clear and bright. They’re terrific for preventing cataracts and Alzheimer’s (I think that there is such an increase in Alzheimer’s because egg consumption over the past two decades has plummeted so drastically).
5. Liver Healers
Artichoke (one small artichoke or four cooked artichoke hearts), asparagus (half cup cooked), beets (half cup cooked or one cup raw), celery (two medium stalks), dandelion root tea (one to two cups), whey (one to two scoops)
Artichokes, especially the hearts, contain powerful antioxidants known as flavonoids that protect the liver’s cells and tissues. They’re essential in fortifying cell membranes to renew and regenerate the integrity of your skin. Artichokes are also good for the secretion of bile, which helps the body better digest and assimilate fats. The artichoke is a close relative of milk thistle — queen of the liver protectors — which offers major defense against free radicals and is especially good for people with compromised immunity or alcohol-related liver problems.
6. GI Movers