Ten foods to help you detox

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It was fun while it lasted, but if all the rich food and alcohol of Christmas is starting to weigh heavy in your tummy, it's time to give your body a break. Give it a bit of extra help with these detox-boosting foods.

These marvellous roots are something of a detox wonder, containing a heady mix of phytochemicals and minerals that help to fight infection, purify the blood and cleanse your liver. Plus they'll boost the cells' intake of oxygen, help to lower your blood pressure and boost your energy.

Well known for its antibiotic properties, garlic's detox power is in a naturally occurring chemical called allicin. This reacts with the blood to create a bacteria and virus-fighting product within the body. To get the full benefit, add it as a raw ingredient.

This sweet treat contains a digestive enzyme called bromelain, which not only improves your digestion (much needed after the excess of Christmas), but aids the cleansing of the colon into the bargain.

The reason avocados make the list is that they are high in glutathione, a powerful antioxidant whose levels can be depleted thanks to poor diet, pollution, stress, toxins and infections. And since it is high in monounsaturated fats, it'll help to keep those cholesterol levels under control too.

Containing an impressive 166mg of glutathione per serving, this power-packed leafy green is an antioxidant with an extra hit of iron for energy. The downside is all that goodness simply disappears if you cook it, so add it au naturel to a salad.

Your body will thank you for a healthy dose of artichoke. It contains both silymarin and cynarin - the former is an antioxidant that aids the liver in processing toxins, while the latter is an acid that supports the liver's ability to break down all those fatty Xmas foods by increasing the production of bile.

Apples contain the flavonoid phlorizidin, which is believed to stimulate bile production, allowing the liver to remove toxins. Pectin, the soluble fibre found in apples, can also help to rid your body of metals and food additives. Remember to go organic to avoid taking on pesticide residues though.

Something of an anti-bacterial star of the food world, basil is also full of antioxidants that help to protect the liver. Its active ingredients are terpenoids, which aid kidney function and digestion, and it acts as a diuretic to help get rid of any remaining toxins.

Goji berries
One of the more recent additions to the 'superfood' ranks, goji berries are now widely available in health food shops and supermarkets, so grab a bag and get a serious hit of vitamin C to help remove waste, and beta-carotene for improved liver function.

By now you may well need something to help settle an overwhelmed tummy, and ginger is just the job. Since it aids proper liver function, it's great if you've overdone it with the booze over Christmas, so add it to food and drink to help you recover.

Do you detox after Christmas? What tips do you have for others looking to feel healthier into the New Year? Leave your comments below...
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