I love this time of year. The holiday season brings weeks of fun, festivity, and feasting. While it’s an easy time to overindulge – and I’m not one to forgo the extra dessert or glass of mulled wine this time of year – there are ways to balance your increased intake of nutrient-poor carbs and alcohol, as well as support the detoxification process, your body’s way of eliminating toxic substances (like alcohol and sugar).
Everyone knows we should eat more greens. But there are certain greens (and purples and beiges) that pack a little more bang for your buck. I’m talking about cruciferous vegetables. Also called the brassica family of vegetables, these nutrient-dense powerhouses include bok choy, broccoli, brusssels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale and radishes. In addition to being versatile plant foods, they’re packed with nutrients to support the detox process.
Cruciferous veggies are rich in nutrients, including several carotenoids, vitamins C, E, and K, folate, and various minerals. In addition, they contain a group of substances known as glucosinolates, which are sulfur-containing chemicals. These chemicals are responsible for the strong aroma and bitter flavor of cruciferous vegetables. More specific to cleansing, these compounds support both phases of the liver’s detoxification process. Cruciferous veggies also are a good source of fiber, which support the elimination stage of detoxification. So, when you’re enjoying a little too much alcohol or refined carbs, give your liver some love by eating nutrients that will support the detox process.
I’ve provided links to a couple of my go-to recipes featuring cruciferous veggies, but you don’t have to get fancy with incorporating these into your diet. Simply throw a handful of kale into a smoothie, eat some broccoli with hummus (instead of chips), or sub cauliflower rice for actual rice.