"The best time to do a detox is in the spring. During the dark and chilly days of winter, the tendency is to be less active and many of us also tend to eat more in order to deal with the harsher climate. So by the time the first green shoots start to sprout and reach towards the sun, we are also ready to shake off the lethargy of the wintry months and prime ourselves for renewal."
-excerpt from Happy Foods by Karen Wang Diggs
Yes, it's time for detox, and the good news is that the best and safest way to rid your body of toxins is through food. That's right. No starvation regimes. No water only for days. No bitter herbs that necessitate being within two feet of a bathroom.
Eating good food that supplies ample liver-supportive nutrients and fibers is the optimal way to do a cleanse that will truly help to excrete toxins from your cells and not deplete your body or exhaust your immune system.
So, how exactly does sauerkraut assist our bodies to be rid of stored up toxins? Well, one major way is through a natural compound known as indole-3-carbinol, which is found in cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. However, when you cook these vegetables, indole-3-carbinol degrades, along with vitamins. So that is where sauerkraut comes in to save the day and your detox! When fermented, vital nutrients are retained AND the formation of lactobacilli strains (probiotics) boosts digestion, so that it helps you to absorb more of the indole-3-carbinol as well as vitamins and minerals.
And for those of us who are really geeky, I would like to share this:
The above illustration is taken from Oregon State University's Linus Pauling Institute's website. It shows the breakdown of glucobrassicin into indole-3-carbinol (I3C).
Because I3C helps the liver to filter out toxins and excess estrogen, it is also being studied for the prevention of cancer.
Right! Ready to jump into a detox but don't know exactly how to start?
Start with adding sauerkraut (or other lacto-fermented vegetables) to your meals, at least for lunch and dinner.
We will dive deeper into a gentle, food-based detox in Part Two.
Let's Ferment a Better World, together!
Karen and Team ChouAmi