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5 Detox Supporting Fermented Foods:

  1. Yogurt
  2. Kefir
  3. Tempeh
  4. Sauerkraut
  5. Kimchi

Supporting Role:

Keeping the gut healthy is central to overall health, and the probiotic bacteria found in these foods help balance the gastrointestinal tract. “A well-balanced gut microbiome has a wealth of friendly bacteria to keep harmful microorganisms in check,” says Giusti. She adds that a healthy microbial ecosystem also aids in digestion and nutrient generation, metabolism, and absorption; reduces bloating; normalizes bowel movements; and boosts immune function.

Good bacteria may also have the ability to bind to toxins in food and water, such as those from heavy metals. When pregnant women in pollution-fraught Tanzania regularly ate probiotic yogurt during their second and/or third trimesters, they reduced their absorption of mercury by up to 36 percent and arsenic by as much as 78 percent, according to 2014 research from Canada’s Lawson Health Research Institute. (For more on probiotics, visit “Discover Fermented Foods“.)

Good to Know:

The refrigerated section of the supermarket is your best source for probiotic-rich foods — not just yogurt and kefir, but also sauerkraut and pickled vegetables. “Products that are shelf stable have undergone pasteurization and canning processes that will heat the product and kill the beneficial bacteria,” says Giusti.

For more whole foods to support your body’s innate ability to detoxify on a daily basis, see “Everyday Detox: Whole Foods to Support Your Body’s Natural Detoxification Processes” from which this article was excerpted.

Rachel
Rachel Meltzer Warren, MS, RDN

Rachel Meltzer Warren, MS, RDN, is a New York–area nutrition writer, educator, and counselor.

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