The inside of your body is like the outside of your cat: It needs no help in cleaning itself, and, quite frankly, it doesn’t take too well to your attempts to pitch in. A simple, healthy diet—one that’s high in fiber and low in sugar, preservatives, and unhealthy fats—is all that’s needed to keep your body’s interior as smooth and sleek as the day it rolled off the assembly line.
But that doesn’t mean the occasional boost isn’t helpful, especially when you’ve been overindulging in your bad habits of choice. Here are twelve foods that can help your body recover from an excess of abuse.
It’s a natural diuretic, so asparagus can help relieve bloating and other unpleasant feelings. Its balance of amino acids and minerals may also help to alleviate hangover symptoms, according to a study in the Journal of Food Science.
The superfruits contain two oils, linalool and geranyl acetate, that have been shown to have a positive effect on irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders. In a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers fed twenty-two different fruits to a group of rats that had suffered liver damage. The avocado was the most beneficial in restoring liver function.
Thanks to their potent dose of potassium, bananas can help counterbalance the effects of sodium and reduce water retention. They’re also packed with resistant starch, which helps to feed the healthy bacteria in your gut.
These ruby-red roots contain a type of antioxidant called betalains that help repair and regenerate cells in the liver, your body’s primary detox organ.
The skins of lemons, limes, and other citrus fruit contain an antioxidant d-limonene, which has been shown to help stimulate liver enzymes, according to the World Health Organization.
There might be a reason why collards are often served alongside fried chicken. Nutrients in the greens bind to bile acids in the body, helping to block the buildup of cholesterol in the bloodstream, according to a study in Nutrition Research.
For a mere 5 calories, a teaspoon of mustard can boost metabolism by up to 25 percent for several hours, according to English researchers. Just make sure you’re eating pure mustard, not the sweetened, honey mustard stuff!
In one Japanese study, researchers found that grapefruit can enhance the action of calorie-burning brown fat cells, enhancing the breakdown of fat while reducing appetite. And a second study in the journal Metabolism found that eating half a grapefruit a day can whittle your middle by up to an inch in just six weeks.
One of the few foods that combine fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, kiwi will help bolster your digestive system while reducing inflammation and improving heart health.
A three-week study in the International Journal of Cardiology found that smokers who supplemented with just 2 grams of omega-3s a day—about what you’d get in a 4-ounce serving of sardines—showed marked improvement in the elasticity of their arteries.
The compound curcumin, found in the bright-orange Indian spice turmeric, has been shown to reduce bile duct blockage and scarring in the liver by interfering with chemical reactions involved in the inflammatory process, according to a study in the journal Gut.
A study in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism found that white tea can simultaneously stimulate the breakdown of fat in the body while blocking the formation of new fat cells.
From the book Zero Sugar Diet by David Zinczenko with Stephen Perrine. Copyright © 2016 by David Zinczenko. Published by Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.