Is Physical Detoxification Possible Through Diet?

From a scientific point of view, detoxification of the body is not necessary. It’s said that our bodies excrete unwanted substances through the intestines, lungs, kidneys, and skin and clean themselves. But is this belief still true today?

Our living conditions have changed a lot in the last few decades; food is poorer in nutrients and more polluted, added stress in everyday life, too little exercise, too little sun and fresh air, as well as exposure to electrosmog and environmental toxins.

In order to counteract these challenges as naturally as possible, in this article we’ll show whether and how physical detoxification through nutrition is possible.

Physical Detoxification Progresses

In order for us to understand the physical detoxification processes, it’s fundamental to get to know the metabolic processes and the workings of the excretory organs.

The metabolic process

How do nutrients arrive in our cells and how are metabolic waste products and pollutants excreted?

Humans consist of an unimaginably large number of approximately 80 trillion cells. We can imagine these as small factories, each following its function. In order to supply them with nutrients and oxygen and to dispose of waste products, it’s important that the metabolic exchange works well.


Supply of cells

All substances classified as “nutrients” by our bodies are absorbed into the bloodstream via the small intestinal mucosa and sent via the portal vein to the liver for inspection. Only then are they transported to the cells via the arteries by being released into the connective tissue via fine capillaries, from where they travel a short final route to the cell.

Disposal of cell waste

Waste products are also released from the cells into the connective tissue and transported through the blood and lymphatic vessels to the excretory organs (kidneys, intestines, lungs, and skin).

  • The lymphatic system – Harmful substances are transported away via the lymphatic vessels and lymphatic organs.
  • The kidneys – Like sewage treatment plants, they tirelessly filter metabolic end products and toxins from the blood and excrete them in the urine.
  • The intestine – The intestinal mucosa is used to separate substances that should not enter the body and to excrete them in the stool.
  • The lungs – Carbon dioxide is disposed of through our breathing, which supports a balanced acid-base balance and detoxification.
  • The skin – Skin can absorb and excrete foreign substances, supporting detoxification through sweating.

Overloading of the excretory organs

These sophisticated processes usually work very reliably. However, if in connection with a constantly unfavorable diet, for example, the excretory organs are overloaded, a disruption of the removal process can be the result. Cell metabolic residues remain in the cell environment and “slag” or deposit in the connective tissue.

Poisoning or self-intoxication of the body

If there is a permanent excess the tissue will eventually become constantly wasted.

This resulting consequences can be:

  • Metabolic exchange is impaired
  • It’s increasingly difficult for nutrients and oxygen to reach the cell
  • Lack of nutrient and oxygen supply and physical complaints become more likely
Dr. Gerson Therapy

Insights from Dr. Max Gerson

Interestingly, Dr. Max Gerson recognized as early as 1930 that humans have strayed from the path of natural nutrition and have therefore lost part of their defense and self-healing powers. The greatest damage comes from the use of artificial fertilizers for fruits and vegetables as well as for livestock feed. This chemical change has a transformative effect on the organs and functions of the human body (1).

However, we can regain the lost defense and self-healing powers by minimizing the intake of toxins and supplying our bodies with as many nutrients as possible through organically grown fruits and vegetables, especially in the form of freshly squeezed juices. The liver should be given special attention. Dr. Gerson realized that freshly squeezed vegetable juices can mobilize so many stored toxins from the tissue that the liver requires special attention and support. He even went so far as to say that the fight against cancer or other serious diseases is decided in the liver.

Limit Poison Intake

In order for a diet that supports detoxification to really make sense, the intake of new toxins or substances that put a strain on our bodies should be avoided as much as possible. Nutrition, water, air, living space, and personal hygiene have a major influence. We’ll look at nutrition in more detail next.


Most of the toxins in our food come from conventional and factory farming. Gluten-containing and highly processed products are also considered to be stressful for our cell metabolism.

Conventional foods

In conventional farming, food is regularly sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides and fertilized with NPK, a fertilizer that contains the main nutrients nitrogen (N), phosphate (P), and potassium (K).

The most commonly used herbicide is glyphosate. It has an antibiotic effect (2), can disrupt the natural functioning of hormones (3), and has been classified as “probably carcinogenic” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Glyphosate can now be detected in the urine of almost everyone.

Factory farming

In factory farming, animals are not kept in a species-appropriate manner. Due to a lack of exercise, sunlight, and natural food, they’re susceptible to disease and require regular treatment with antibiotics and hormones. These medications are stored in fatty tissue and ultimately end up on the consumer’s plate.

  • Meat products are contaminated in many ways, as mentioned, and have an acid-forming and inflammatory effect.
  • Dairy products have an acid and mucus-forming effect. In addition, they contain too many growth hormones, which promote uncontrolled cell growth.

Products containing gluten

Decades of breeding have given grains, especially wheat, an ever-increasing gluten content. While 50 years ago wheat contained just 5% gluten, today it’s up to 50%.

In the human intestine, gluten can lead to adhesions, inflammation of the intestinal mucosa and regression of the intestinal villi, even leading to holes in the intestine, or “leaky gut syndrome”.

Processed foods

Processed foods usually contain too much sugar, trans fats, salt, and many other additives that put a strain on the metabolism and overall do not serve the goal of pure cell nutrition.

  • Sugar provides short-chain carbohydrates but little to no nutrients. Since the body needs vitamin B1 and calcium in particular to metabolize them, their consumption can even have a nutrient-depleting effect in the long term. This promotes degenerative diseases such as diabetes, dementia, obesity, and AD(H)D.
  • Trans fats are created during the industrial hardening of oils, but also when heating and frying vegetable oils at temperatures of around 130 degrees Celsius, or 266 degrees Fahrenheit. Trans fats promote hardening of the arteries and are considered to be harmful to the heart and circulation. All products whose ingredients list contains “hydrogenated fats” should be avoided, especially potato chips, pre-made meals, fast food, and baked goods such as croissants made from puff pastry.
  • According to Dr. Gerson, an essential aspect of effective detoxification is to eliminate sodium from cells and instead saturate them with potassium, which is possible by eating fruits and vegetables. Salt inhibits enzyme production and blocks cell detoxification. Potassium, on the other hand, supports the healthy, aerobic metabolism of the cells.
  • Heavily processed products often present our bodies with a mixture of unnatural substances that do not occur in nature. These include artificial colors and flavors, preservatives, phosphates, and flavor enhancers such as glutamate.
raw food wraps

Support of The Cleaning Processes

In order to support our bodies in their cleansing and elimination processes through everyday nutrition, the diet must be rich in nutrients but at the same time, we shouldn’t be overly stressed about it.

This is exactly what we can achieve if we integrate lots of fresh, organically grown plants into our diet. Vegetables, fruits, and berries contain valuable plant cell water, and have a hydrating and predominantly alkaline-forming effect.

The abundant presence of enzymes, biophotons, fiber, minerals, vitamins, and secondary plant substances supports metabolic processes in the best possible way:

  • Enzymes are involved in all chemical reactions that take place in our bodies. These include, for example, the regeneration of cells or tissue and the elimination of waste materials and toxins, as well as supporting the immune system.
  • Through their weak light stimuli, biophotons support the transfer of information between the cells and have an orderly effect.
  • Secondary plant substances, which – as the name suggests – only occur in the plant kingdom, have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antiviral, and immunomodulatory effects, which means that they can stimulate immune cells.
  • Fiber also only occurs in plants. It activates intestinal peristalsis and serves as food for the intestinal bacteria that are so important for immune defense. A strengthened intestinal flora simultaneously improves the body’s resistance to infections.
  • Natural plant-based foods provide an abundance of minerals and vitamins in a naturally active ingredient structure.
green salad

Activate Detoxification Through Diet

In order to further activate the natural cleansing and detoxification benefits, we recommend incorporating plenty of leafy greens, wild herbs, and sprouts into your diet. You should also stay properly hydrated and keep your consumption of fat and salt low.

Leafy greens

Leafy greens contain the green color pigment, chlorophyll. The special feature of chlorophyll is that it has a similar structure to hemoglobin, our red blood pigment (4). The small difference is that chlorophyll has magnesium as the central ion and hemoglobin has an iron ion. Its positive effect on our health has been confirmed in numerous scientific studies (5).


  • Blood-forming effect
  • Improves oxygen supply
  • Promotes blood circulation and wound healing (6)
  • Provides us with magnesium (7)
  • Blood purifying and therefore detoxifying effect
  • Cleanses the intestines and has a digestive effect
  • Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects (8)

In addition, chlorophyll absorbs light particles (biophotons) and stores them in the green leaves. The best donors of chlorophyll or stores of biophotons are therefore fresh, dark green leaves. If your leafy vegetables wilt due to long storage, the sensitive biophotons are lost. Therefore, leafy greens should be consumed as fresh as possible.

Wild plants

Nettle, groundweed, dandelion, chickweed, and the like have a unique variety of nutrients and provide many times more nutrients than conventional vegetables.

How can this be explained?

Wild plants grow on largely untouched soils that are home to many microorganisms and earthworms. While cultivated vegetables are nurtured and cared for by us, wild plants find their own place in nature and form protective and defensive substances in order to assert themselves.

Wild herbs are extremely rich in:

  • Biophotons
  • Chlorophyll
  • Bitter substances
  • Enzymes
  • Minerals, vitamins, protein
  • Secondary plant substances

We don’t find this abundance of nutrients in organic food and additional nutrients are lost due to long transport routes and storage. Wild herbs on the other hand, usually grow on the doorstep, only need to be collected, and can be eaten promptly.

The abundance of secondary plant substances provides great added value

According to current knowledge, secondary plant substances have a health-promoting influence on a variety of metabolic processes. In the field of phytotherapy (herbal medicine), they’ve long shown many positive results for us humans. The specific preventive and therapeutic effects are being eagerly researched by scientists.

Secondary plant substances work by:

  • Activating metabolism and promoting digestion (9)
  • Lowering blood pressure (10) and cholesterol (11)
  • Antioxidant (12) and antibiotic effects (13)
  • Anti-inflammatory effect (14)
  • Immunomodulating
  • Anticarcinogenic effect (15)
sandwich with sprouts



Sprouts such as mung bean, broccoli, alfalfa sprouts, and many more are another way to enormously expand the nutrient density of our food.

With the help of moisture, oxygen, heat, and light, the enzymes in the seeds are activated, and extensive biochemical processes occur and the seeds become one of the foods richest in vital substances.

  • Water content multiplies.
  • Enzyme activity increases.
  • Phytic acids are largely broken down and minerals bound to the phytic acid are released (16).
  • Lectins (certain anti-feedant substances) are partially broken down (17).
  • The vitamin content increases and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc are bound to enzymes during the germination process and thereby achieve higher bioavailability (18).

ENZYMES are of particular importance. They act like catalysts in our bodies, accelerating biochemical reactions and thus helping to detoxify the body and prevent illness and premature aging. No other food is as rich in enzymes as sprouts.

salad bowl

A diet rich in water, low in fat and salt

All metabolic processes take place in an aqueous environment. As a component of blood, water supplies cells and disposes of metabolic breakdown products. The cells are supplied with oxygen and all important nutrients via the blood. At the same time, waste products are transported via the bloodstream and especially via the lymphatic system to the kidneys for excretion.

Therefore, good hydration through drinking high-quality water and a water-rich plant-based diet is an essential prerequisite for physical detoxification processes. For people who suffer from physical complaints and want to activate their detoxification, green juice is a true healing elixir. It has a comprehensive hydrating effect and is very purifying and detoxifying thanks to its high content of organic mineral compounds, enzymes, and chlorophyll. Intestinal cleansing in the form of enemas can significantly support detoxification.

ginger lemon blast


Further activation can be achieved through occasional periods of fasting. Longer phases without food allow the body to carry out important cleansing and repair processes. This possibility does not exist if the body is constantly busy with digestive activities. After at least 12 hours without eating, the body begins to utilize used and diseased cells, and breakdown products from inflammation and other deposited substances.

The Japanese cell biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi was able to prove this for the first time in 2016, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine. This cell-recycling process is called autophagy. The latest studies show that even viruses are detected, killed, and disposed of (19).

Other detoxification-stimulating measures include thorough chewing, alkaline baths, saunas, dry brushing, and trampoline jumping to stimulate lymph cleansing.


Our bodies have a complex cleansing system. Detoxification becomes necessary when our excretory organs are overwhelmed and metabolic waste products can no longer be sufficiently removed and excreted.

A diet rich in fresh plant foods makes it possible to relieve our bodies and activate their natural cleansing processes by:

    • Supporting a smooth metabolism
    • Contributing to the prevention of disease and premature aging
    • Promising health into old age

Rule of thumb:

The more rich with water and low in fat and salt the diet is, the more intensive the detoxification will be.

Would you like to join our unique, based on nutritional sciences and practice-oriented training program for gaining a high level of health?

We are more than happy to inform you about our training program on our website!

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Ulrike Eder (Author)

Ulrike is a naturopath, Holistic Nutrition Coach, Hippocrates Lifestyle Medicine Coach and phytotherapist. Together with her husband, Jürgen, she leads the Holistic Nutrition Coach training program of Your Nutrition Academy.



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