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Bye, bye toxins!

The holidays, followed by Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day, pack on the pounds or even a best cause belly bloat from all the sugary and starchy foods.

That sluggish, heavy feeling can cause digestive issues as well as slowing down organs such as the liver, which must work much harder.

Lightening the load with cleansing fruits, vegetables and drinks can help the body run more efficiently and help organs do their own regular cleanse.

Detoxing is not torture. The word detox sounds drastic, but really isn’t. It simply means adding foods such as citrus, raw vegetables and beverages to daily meals. This is a way of cleansing the body and possibly losing a few pounds along the way.

Neither of those sound bad.

A grapefruit half before each meal can rev the metabolism. According to “Eat This, Not That,” researchers say grapefruit switches on the fat-burning cells and can even whittle the middle in about six weeks.

Just a word of caution, grapefruit does not work with some medications; so, check with the doctor before trying this detox.

Citrus of all varieties helps purify the body. Citrus fruits are high in the antioxidant de-limonene, which stimulates liver enzymes and causes the liver to rid the body of toxins like it was made to do. Eight glasses of lemon water throughout the day can do the trick.

Real Southern foods such as collard greens, sweet potatoes and beets are good for detoxing, too. Steamed collards, according to the journal “Nutrition Research,” can help lower cholesterol. Sweet potatoes add that glow to the complexion. Beets help detox the liver, too.

Here are just some other foods that help rid the body of toxins, and they don’t taste bad either.

  • Hibiscus tea/white tea/green tea.
  • Wild salmon
  • Turmeric; note: this adds a strong spice, not unlike curry, to smoothies.
  • Spinach
  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Tomatoes
  • Kiwi
  • Nuts
  • Garlic
  • Broccoli sprouts
  • Greens of any kind, not just kale

These foods can be eaten raw, in smoothies and simply steamed or eaten out of hand. A healthy smoothie at breakfast can jumpstart the body.

In a check of Coast bookstores, dozens of books on body detox are helpful, while some are extreme others focus on detoxing naturally with foods.

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