How to Detox Your Body
If you find yourself feeling less than energetic, a bit out of sorts, and generally dealing with sluggishness, aches, and digestive troubles, you may need a detox. While many people are quick to discount the concept of detoxification, it’s actually a centuries old practice in many cultures around the world.
What exactly is detoxification? While there are a number of different methods, it all boils down to cleansing toxins from the body, providing clean nourishment, and getting adequate rest. Detoxing your body will not only leave you feeling energetic and refreshed; it can also boost your immune system and protect you from illness, so that you stay as healthy as possible.
Detoxification works by purifying the blood. Most toxins are processed in the liver for elimination from the body, although other organs play important roles as well, including the lungs, lymphatic system, skin, kidneys, and intestines. When these systems are overloaded, they can’t properly filter impurities from the body, negatively impacting your functioning and quality of life.
Start with the basics by cutting out alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, saturated fats, and refined sugars. All of these create a toxic strain on your body, compromising your immune system and ability to heal. Limit your use of toxic chemicals in cleaning and personal care products. Opt for products with natural ingredients instead.
Managing stress is another important aspect of any detox plan. Stress causes the release of adrenaline and other “fight or flight” hormones in the body. While everyone appreciates a good adrenaline rush now and then, a constant overload of stress hormones will take a toll on your body. Techniques like meditation, yoga, and other forms of physical or mental exercise are great stress relievers.
Once you’ve made these broad changes to reduce your toxic load, you may be ready to delve into a more thorough detox program. This type of detox can be intense, and shouldn’t be undertaken constantly. An intensive detox at least once every year is generally a good idea. But, those with health conditions, children, and pregnant or nursing mothers should exercise caution with any detox program and should ensure they are receiving adequate nutrition based on their circumstances. In these cases, it’s a good idea to consult with a doctor before you begin.
The most common detox routines involve a week long program. One approach is to start by fasting on clear liquids for two days, and then gradually increase food consumption over the following five days. Generally, fruit is first reintroduced into the diet, followed by vegetables, then grains, then legumes, and finally animal proteins. Another option is a 3 to 7 day juice fast. Fresh juices made at home are the best option, and they can be made from seasonal fruits and vegetables and consumed in generous quantities, as can fresh, filtered water.
Other ways that you can detox your body include eating foods that contain plentiful fiber and sticking as much as possible with organically grown foods. You can also drink green tea and take herbs like burdock, milk thistle, and dandelion root to aid in cleansing the liver. Plentiful water and a multivitamin supplement that is rich in vitamin C will also help flush toxins from the body.
There are many techniques for releasing toxins through the lungs and skin. Exercise helps release toxins through the sweat glands and through exhalation, and it also provides much needed stress release. Hydrotherapy, saunas, detoxifying foot baths, and dry brushing the skin are also effective detox methods.
In the long run, taking care of yourself day to day will help ensure that you avoid overtaxing your body with toxins in the first place. But, just as your home needs a thorough cleaning every now and then, even the healthiest among us benefit from a thorough detox program at appropriate intervals.