Mean, Clean Cleansing Foods

If you enjoyed a few too many rich dinners, celebratory beverages, decadent desserts…or perhaps all of the above, over the past few months, it may be time for a cleanse!

Now, I’m not suggesting living on water and lemon for the next ten days. But what I am suggesting is introducing some foods into your diet that can help cleansing your body of harmful toxins, detoxify the major organs (i.e., the liver, intestines, and kidneys), and eliminate the toxic buildup of harmful environmental and lifestyle choices—such as smoking, illness, and food additives.

Let food be your purifying medicine with these 8 cleansing foods…


When it comes to good fats, we often reach first for avocados. However, it turns out this creamy, healthy piece of produce actually holds true to a few cleansing powers of its own.  Just one avocado contains adequate nutritional value to help lower your cholesterol, dilate the blood vessels for fresh blood flow, and to ban 30 artery-destroying carcinogens from entering your body—and that’s thanks to a nutrient called glutathione!


Leafy, cruciferous vegetables, like cabbage and kale, are antioxidant powerhouses. It’s true! Both of these nutrient veggies contain critical compounds that assist the liver as it breaks down surplus hormones, facilitates the digestive tracts eradication of damaging toxins, like cigarettes (or second hand smoke), supports liver detox, and combes the intestinal tract of environmental pollutants.


Garlic may prevent a vampire attack, but it also keeps other big baddies away (on your insides) as well. If you feel a flu coming on, you can eat cooked or raw garlic to cleanse the body of bacteria, viruses, and intestinal parasites. Or garlic works wonders in banishing excess build-up of mucus from the respiratory tract, lungs, and sinuses.


Known for their antioxidant supremacy, cranberries not only pack a tart, flavorful punch of vitamins. Eat a handful of fresh or dried berries to cleanse your urinary tract of various viral plights (i.e., they will speed recovery if you have a urinary tract infection or UTI).


I love beets, particularly this time of year when root veggies are sweet and flavorful. Well, winter is prime time to chop, shred, or pickle some of these delicious, blood-purifying beauties into stews, soups, salads, and side dishes!


Yellow or red—take your pick! You can’t go wrong with either hue of pectin-fiber rich grapefruit. Not only does it make a great start to your day, eating grapefruit will help cleanse the blood (by binding to cholesterol), intestines, and liver, eliminating the body of harmful heavy metals and nasty viruses out of the body. Grapefruit is an excellent intestinal and liver detoxifier.


Aside from cranberries, blueberries are a super food of equal note. Beautiful blues have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial benefits, helping prevent nasty bacterial and viral infections and harmful inflammation (mostly in the urinary and intestinal tracts).


A glass of lukewarm water with a squeeze of fresh lemon is the perfect start to your day. Why? Lemon is a powerful liver detoxifier, and a small slice delivers a healthy dose of glutathione first thing in the morning to give the major organ a boost. When you consider the effort your liver makes to eliminate bodily toxins, a daily squeeze of fresh lemon juice to your H20 is a delicious price to pay for good health.

Julie Ching, MS, RDN, CDE

Julie Ching, MS, RDN, CDE

Julie Ching is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator in Los Angeles. She decided to become a Dietitian after traveling through Europe, South America, and Asia and discovered a passion for food. She now works with people of all ages and varying disease states to improve their health. She is passionate about teaching people about nutrition so they can live their best life while still considering their cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.