A Naturopathic Doctor’s Guide to Detox for the New Year
ByKatarina Meister, ND •January 3, 2023
January is an especially good time to cleanse to help offset the seasonal overindulgences and reset for the new year. To get started, here are three ways to start supporting detoxification organs at home:
1: Increase liver-supportive foods.
The primary organ of detoxification is the liver. When the liver is overwhelmed, it has less ability to metabolize hormones, leading to menstrual complaints and PMS. A high total body burden can also shift the metabolism causing the body to hold on to excess weight.
Foods that support the liver decrease oxidative stress, diversify the gut microbiome, balance circulating hormones and bulk stools with insoluble fiber. Examples of liver-supportive foods include leafy greens (spinach, kale, arugula, swiss chard, collard greens, dandelion greens, beet greens) and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, broccoli sprouts, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts).
A 2015 study found that the dietary intake of broccoli sprouts for 2 months significantly decreased serum levels of liver function markers, thereby improving liver function through reduction of oxidative stress. Other liver-supportive foods to help cleanse the body include garlic, onions, beets, radishes, artichoke hearts and herbs such as parsley, cilantro, and turmeric.
2: Ensure optimal bowel movements.
Another important detoxification organ is the gastrointestinal system. A marker of good health and appropriate detoxification is having regular and daily bowel movements. Ideal transit time is within 12-24 hours after ingesting food. Sub-optimal transit time or constipation creates stagnation in the large intestine, permitting toxins to linger for too long and become reabsorbed. This is called autointoxication.
To promote regular bowels, practice 30 minutes of daily movement (yoga, walking, jogging, etc) and increase water and fiber intake. Good sources of fiber to promote healthy bowel movements include ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, kiwis, berries, cruciferous vegetables, and oat bran. If bowel irregularity persists, be sure to ask a naturopathic doctor about potential causes of constipation, such as SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), dysbiosis in your colon (imbalance of bacteria), and/or food sensitivities.
3: Stay adequately hydrated to support your kidneys.
The third most important organ of detoxification are the kidneys, which help to remove excess waste and fluid, along with many other critical functions. The best way to support the kidneys is to first start drinking more water. A good goal to ensure adequate hydration is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day. For example, if you weigh 150lbs, aim for 75 ounces of water each day.
Another supportive measure for the kidneys is dandelion tea. Dandelion is known for its antioxidant activity which helps cleanse the body’s detoxification organs including the liver, skin, and kidneys. Dandelion’s antioxidant activity has also been shown in research to positively change the lipid profiles in an animal study, which suggests that dandelion may also protect against atherosclerosis.
 Kikuchi M, Ushida Y, Shiozawa H, Umeda R, Tsuruya K, Aoki Y, Suganuma H, Nishizaki Y. Sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprout extract improves hepatic abnormalities in male subjects. World J Gastroenterol. 2015 Nov 21;21(43):12457-67. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v21.i43.12457. PMID: 26604653; PMCID: PMC4649129.
 Choi UK, Lee OH, Yim JH, Cho CW, Rhee YK, Lim SI, Kim YC. Hypolipidemic and antioxidant effects of dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) root and leaf on cholesterol-fed rabbits. Int J Mol Sci. 2010 Jan 6;11(1):67-78. doi: 10.3390/ijms11010067. PMID: 20162002; PMCID: PMC2820990.
Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.