After the holiday celebrations, your body can look and feel less than stellar. Choosing to detox this time of the year is a common way to reset from decadent holiday feasts and meet New Year’s resolutions for looking and feeling healthier.
Even though detoxing is a terrific way to kick start a year of healthy eating, it is important that it not just be a week-long venture of crash diets, gimmicky 3-day juice cleanses, month-long cabbage soup diets, and other short-term extremes to get back to your normal. The best way to achieve your new years goals is to treat detoxification as a long-term lifestyle adjustment rather than a diet by making dietary and lifestyle adjustments and bring reset we all desire this time of year.
In this article we provide an overview of detoxification and provide ten self-care measures that you can take to help to rejuvenate your body and energy.
The importance of Detoxing
Detoxification refers to the steps your body takes to break down, metabolize and eliminate substances. Substances can come from external sources like food, beverages, medicines, and skin-care products, or internally from such as hormones. When we think about detoxifying, most think of cleansing our liver. While the liver is the principal detoxification organ, there are four other organs that play an equally key role in keeping our body healthy which include the lungs, kidneys, large intestine, and skin.
A complete detox that focuses on all five organs should take place at least once a year.
Benefits of a full body detox include:
- Getting rid of excess waste
- Boosting energy
- Strengthening the immune system
- Improving respiration process
- Reducing weight
- Providing anti-aging benefits
In short, detoxification supports the following four systems: Digestive, Respiratory, Urinary and Dermal. Any disturbance within these systems can result in the accumulation of toxins in your body that may lead to medical illnesses.
Ten Detoxification Strategies
A homeopathic approach can be helpful in maintaining the proper functioning and balance of the four systems and providing a safe, gentle, and natural way of removing toxins. Examples of homeopathic remedies that support detoxification include:
- Berberis Vulgaris: Acts as a stimulator of liver, gall bladder and kidneys.
- Chelidonium tincture: Reliable liver and gall bladder drainer. It supports liver in removing toxin from your body due to heavy usage of drugs and antibiotics.
- Carduus Marianus: A homeopathic medicine that has been traditionally used for hepatic diseases, as well for reducing hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia.
- Senega: An effective detoxification remedy for people exposed to respiratory issues with allergies.
- Nux Vomica: Used for diseases of the digestive tract and acts as an intestine and liver stimulator.
- Taraxacum Officinale: Used by individuals with stomach and digestion issues,to detoxify the liver and gallbladder and help kidney function.
- Fumaria Officinalis: Detoxifies the body by purifying the blood which can lead to enhanced functioning of the liver, as well used for vomiting, constipation, and dyspepsia.
- Uva Ursi: Used primarily for urinary tract disorders. It is an effective urinary antiseptic that supports the functioning of kidneys and reproductive system.
- Aloe Socotrina: Relieves stomach pain and acts as a laxative to relieve constipation, rectal pain, and rectum irritation.
2. Limit Alcohol Intake
More than 90% of alcohol consumed is metabolized in the liver. Drinking excessive amounts can reduce your liver’s ability to perform its normal functions such as detoxifying.
3. Focus on High Quality Sleep
Ensuring adequate amount of quality sleep each night is necessary to support the body’s health and natural detoxification system. Seven to nine hours of sleep per night on a regular basis helps to promote good health. Sleeping also allows your brain to reorganize and recharge itself and remove toxic waste by-products that have accumulated throughout the day.
If you have difficulties staying or falling asleep at night, lifestyle changes such as maintaining a sleep schedule and limiting blue light (emitted from mobile devices and computer screens) prior to bed are useful strategies for improving sleep.
4. Drink More Water
Staying properly hydrated is important for detoxification. The role of water goes beyond just quenching thirst, it helps regulate body temperature, lubricate joints, aids digestion and nutrient absorption. Water also detoxifies the body by removing waste products by efficiently removing them through urination, breathing, or sweating.
5. Reduce Intake of Sugar and Processed Foods
Sugar and processed foods are at the root of today’s public health crises. High consumption of sugary and highly processed foods has been linked to obesity and other chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. These diseases hinder the body’s ability to naturally detoxify itself by harming vital organs such as the liver and kidneys.
6. Eat Antioxidant-Rich Foods
Antioxidants protect cells against damage caused by molecules called free radicals. Even though the body produces these molecules naturally for cellular processes such as digestion, alcohol, tobacco smoke, a poor diet, and exposure to pollutants can produce excessive free radicals and lead to oxidative stress.
Consuming a diet rich in antioxidants can help the body fight oxidative stress. Consider foods such as berries, fruits, nuts, cocoa, vegetables, spices, and beverages like coffee and green tea that have considerable amounts of antioxidants. Include other foods that contain vitamins and minerals such vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium.
7. Eat Foods High in Prebiotics
Gut health is important for keeping your detoxification system healthy. Your intestinal cells have a detoxification and excretion system that protects your gut and body from harmful toxins such as chemicals.
Achieving good gut health starts with prebiotics, a type of fibre that feeds the beneficial bacteria (probiotics) in your gut. The beneficial bacteria in the gut can become unbalanced with bad bacteria stemming from the use of antibiotics, poor dental hygiene, and diet quality. This shift from good to bad bacteria can weaken your immune and detoxification systems and increase your risk of disease and inflammation. Foods containing a rich source of prebiotics include tomatoes, artichokes, bananas, asparagus, onions, garlic, and oats can keep immune and detoxification systems healthy.
8. Decrease Salt Intake
Too much salt in your diet can cause your body to retain excess fluid which can cause bloating and make clothing uncomfortable. This can be detrimental to your health especially if you have a condition affecting your kidneys or liver, or if not drinking enough water.
Consuming too much salt can increase water retention. This may come across counterintuitive, you can detox yourself of the extra (excess) water weight and waste by increasing your intake of water and potassium-rich foods.
9. Get Active
Getting Regular exercise, regardless of body weight, is well associated with a longer life and reducing the risk of health conditions and diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, certain cancers, as well a key factor in reducing inflammation.
Spending hours on end at the gym is not necessary. At least 150 to 300 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise such as brisk walking can deliver improvements. Participating in 75–150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity physical activity such as running is recommended.
10. Other Helpful Detox Tips
- Consuming foods high in sulfur, such as onions, broccoli, and garlic, enhance excretion of heavy metals like cadmium.
- Take chlorella supplements. Chlorella is a type of algae that is known to be good source of several vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as well delivering many nutritional benefits. Animal studies have shown that it may enhance the elimination of toxins like heavy metals.
- Consider flavouring dishes with cilantro. Apart from adding cilantro to brighten up dishes, it enhances excretion of certain toxins, such as heavy metals like lead, and chemicals, including phthalates and insecticides.
- Enhance glutathione function by eating sulfur-rich foods like eggs, broccoli, and garlic. Glutathione is a major antioxidant produced by your body that is heavily involved in detoxification.
- Switching to natural cleaning products like vinegar and baking soda from commercial cleaning agents can reduce your exposure to potentially toxic chemicals.
- Natural body care products can reduce or limit your exposure to chemicals. Natural deodorants, makeups, moisturizers, shampoos, and other personal care products are much more readily available today.
The simple rule for a successful detox is to consume food that support your vital organs. Committing to this at home is often easier than when going out however it is important to try and maintain the same vigilance for healthy food intake no matter where you are. As well, be sure to drink plenty of water, get good sleep and in no time, you will be back to your best self.
At Centre of Alternative Therapies we specialize in creating workable plans to help manage imbalances that can affect your daily life and overall health. Get on a path to healthier living by finding out what’s really going on by contacting us and working with one of our experts.