Gentle Cleansing Foods
Many of us heartily enjoyed the abundance of rich food and drink available around the holidays and are ready to give our digestive and detoxification systems a little break in January. I recommend gentle cleansing foods and herbs at this time of year that stimulate digestion, absorption and elimination without depleting the vital heat we need to stay warm in winter.
Fresh lemon squeezed in a large glass of room temperature or warm water and sipped before meals stimulates hydrochloric acid production in the stomach and the release of bile from the liver, both of which help to break down and digest food.
Beets are a wonderful root vegetable that have both a nourishing, sustaining quality and a cleansing quality. Beets thin the bile made by the liver and stimulate its release while also providing a very gentle laxative effect. They are rich in the minerals magnesium, potassium and iron and provide a good source of fiber.
Dark leafy greens, particularly the bitter greens such as kale are also capable of stimulating the digestive tract to produce enzymes that break down food, including starch, protein and fat. They are rich in minerals and folic acid and provide much needed color and balance on a winter plate of brown and white foods.