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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

Energize the Summer with a Smoothie Detox

Jun 29, 2017 09:33AM
by Elizabeth McMillan
Summertime is upon us which means it is filled with backyard barbeques, trips to the beach and lots of unplanned caloric intake. Although this is also the time of the year that we are moving around more, showing off more skin, it is also the time of the year that we tend to need a rejuvenation. After a weekend barbecue, it is good to give the body a little detox.

Detoxification is a metabolic process where toxins are changed into less toxic or readily excreted products. This may involve the liver, blood, kidneys, digestive tract and skin; however, it affects the entire body system. Some signs and symptoms that show detoxification is in dire need include: constipation, bloating, gas, fatigue, poor sleep, poor immune function, chronic aches and pains, skin problems, stubborn weight loss, sinus congestion and so many more.

The goals of a detoxification process are to rest the organs, refuel with healthy nutrients, increase elimination and improve circulation. Ideally, we should be engaging in detoxification strategies daily, because we are faced with everyday toxins. Since detoxification is a natural bodily process, it is important increase the consumption of foods that support the detoxification process. It is also important to increase the foods that bind to and help pass toxins out of the body.

Smoothie detoxes allow for maximum nutrient intake while allowing your digestive track to relax and solely focus on absorbing nutrients. By blending foods into a smoothie, the energetic process of breaking the foods down into absorbable units is already done. For example, when we eat a large, robust salad, the stomach must churn the foods so they become completely liquid. In essence, the stomach acts like a high-powered blender, forcing into liquids. Juicing, on the other hand, pulverizes fruits and vegetables to create liquid juice. Unfortunately, juicing removes most of the fibrous matter from the produce, whereas smoothies maintain the fiber. Fiber is essential for detoxification because it helps to bind the toxins and pass them out of the body through the colon.

There are some essential ingredients for smoothie detoxification. Lemons and limes have large amounts of vitamin C and help to balance the acidity of the body. Cilantro and parsley helps to eliminate heavy metals from the body. Fennel flushes water out by its diuretic properties and it helps to activate glutathione, the body’s most powerful antioxidant. Ginger flushes water out of the system by enhancing digestion. Dandelion greens are powerful cleansers to the liver and kidneys. Green tea has lots of antioxidants and helps to protect the liver from damage. Kale, spinach, arugula and other greens provide fibers as well as chlorophyll, a natural detoxificant. Fresh watercress is cleansing and improves circulation. Fruits like berries, pineapples and apples contain antioxidants, fiber and provide a natural sweetness to a smoothie. Beet root helps to engage the liver, decrease inflammation and repair damaged cells. Super foods like chia seeds, flax seeds, spirulina and chlorella help detox heavy metals, proved protein and healthy fats. Finally, avocado helps bind fat soluble toxins with its high content of fiber and monounsaturated fats.

Creating a smoothie from these ingredients is a fantastic way to promote detoxification. Many benefit from doing a three to five-day smoothie cleanse. Cleansing with only smoothies for a few days will not only promote natural detoxifications but it may kick-start weight loss, improve energy, mental clarity, change your taste buds to crave less junk foods, balance your appetite, improve skin and improve immunity. Energize the summer with a smoothie detox.

Elizabeth McMillan, MS, LDN, CNS, is an integrative nutritionist at Rose Wellness, in Oakton, VA. For more information, visit


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