You’re probably not feeling the best about yourself if you’ve been a bit too careless with your diet choices during the past year-and-a-bit of quarantine. The standard American diet is full of saturated fats, sugars, salts, unhealthy preservatives, and other ingredients that can be detrimental to your health, mood, and energy levels.
There are many ways to tell if your body is in desperate need of a detox. Some signs include feeling sluggish, bloated, or ill, or experiencing acne or other skin problems, unexplained pains and aches, or catching colds and other viral infections.
Through a combination of providing your body with a supply of healthy enriching nutrients, and eliminating harmful toxins, a detox helps you achieve optimal overall wellbeing and reduce your risk of disease. It all comes down to your dietary and lifestyle choices—so let’s learn more about it.
How Detoxes Work
A detox isn’t just a diet plan for weight loss – it’s much more than that. Detoxing is a process of cleansing the blood and eradicating liver impurities, where toxins are processed for elimination. Following a detox plan can also do away with the toxins in your skin, kidneys, lungs, and liver.
There are many ways you can greatly benefit from a detox. It allows your organs to rest as you fast and improves your blood circulation. Not just that, but detoxing also lets you refuel the body with a wide range of nutrients that help you look, feel, and live healthier overall.
If you’re ready to take on a detox plan, here’s a detailed list of 13 natural ways to detox daily to start your routine. Let’s get into it!
1. Cut down on your sugar intake
Reducing your sugar intake is probably the biggest essential element of any detox plan, making it the most powerful first step you can take on your detox journey. Sugar can easily throw your body off track, leading to high blood sugar levels, weight gain, and elevated risks of heart problems.
It’s normal to experience sugar cravings as you try to cut your intake down due to sugar addictive potential. When that happens, go for natural sugars like fruits, or a healthier low-sugar option, such as dark chocolate (with at least 70% cocoa). Try replacing the sugar in your foods with cinnamon, as it helps you control your blood sugar, while also giving you the sweet flavour you’re after.
2. Increase water intake
Drinking lots of water is one of the best ways to detox naturally. Not many of us drink the recommended amount of 2 litres of water daily, which potentially leads to dehydration – which is accompanied by sluggishness, dehydration, digestive disorders, and in some cases, even high blood pressure.
If you’re likely to forget about drinking enough water throughout the day, buy a 2-litre bottle that has markings to help you keep track of how much you’ve drunk. When you wake up, make sure you drink 1 to 2 glasses of water right away, as it kicks your liver into detox mode. This helps the body to get rid of unhealthy toxins right when you start your day. For an extra vitamin C boost, you can also choose to add some lemon juice to your water.
3. Get a good night’s rest
Detoxification isn’t limited to our dietary choices. Other factors like poor quality sleep or sleep deprivation can lead to various health issues. Ensuring a good night’s rest can help your body detox on its own as it rests well.
Sleep has also been linked to reduced stressed levels and weight loss, both of which can be direct positive results of a detox plan. Getting sufficient high-quality sleep is one of the best ways to detox naturally as it doesn’t require you to put in any effort—you simply rest, while the body does its thing.
To improve sleep quality, try tweaking environmental factors to optimal levels such as maintaining a fairly cool temperature, reducing or eliminating outside noises, and following a regular sleeping routine.
4. Stock up on herbal tea
If you love coffee more than tea, a detox will require you to switch teams. Tea hydrates the body and helps you feel full, which makes it less likely for you to reach for a fattening snack or a sugary soda. It’s also energizing, which also helps keep those snacking desires at bay.
Tea is full of antioxidants, with herbal teas having their own unique detox benefits. It’s advisable to look for teas that have ingredients like cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, turmeric, and cardamom, which help improve metabolism and give your immune system a serious boost. Herbal tea is also filled with antioxidants, and it has a mild caffeine content that helps wake you up in the morning, even when you’ve quit coffee.
5. Exercise regularly
If you’re looking to refuel and revitalize your body by eating the right detoxifying foods, you should make the most out of that detox potential by putting in regular exercise daily. Getting your heart rate up can encourage circulation in lymph and blood systems, while also reducing tension, strengthening muscles, and stimulating smoother digestion.
According to some studies, people who frequently exercise tend to have fewer toxins lingering in their bodies than those who don’t. Even if you don’t have the time (or motivation) for a full session at the gym on some days, you can still find ways to work out while doing regular everyday tasks.
Taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking or cycling instead of driving, or using a basket instead of a trolly are some examples of how you can increase physical activity while running errands.
6. Up your fruit and veggie game
There’s a lot of misconceptions and stereotypes built around the world of detox. Many people think that living off green juices, ‘slimming’ shakes, and clear soups is the optimal route to detox success. However, attempting to take this on without a nutritionist’s guidance can potentially do you more harm than good.
Instead of cutting everything bad out of your diet, you can start by adding in more healthy foods as a first step. This includes a variety of colourful fruits and veggies that promote weight loss and help you feel better overall.
These healthy foods will also give your digestive system a much-needed break from over-processed foods, putting your body in fat-burning mode. For cleansing purposes, dark green veggies are especially effective as they have relatively lower calorie counts but pack a high amount of micronutrients.
7. Fast sensibly
Intermittent fasting may sound a bit unappealing and unsafe to you, but the benefits behind it have been proven, especially in the case of short and sensible fasts that help eliminate toxins from your body.
If you’re planning to fast as part of your detox practices, make sure you eat well in regular intervals to secure a high enough calorie intake that supplies your body with the nutrients it needs to thrive. Before you plan to fast, it’s best to consult a nutritionist before you give it a go. Get your diet choices approved by an expert and fast in a controlled environment. Remember that fasting is a short-term practice and most periods of fasting last no longer than 72 hours.
8. Sweat it out
Saunas are an essential part of almost all spas as a wellness treatment. That’s because sweating it out over short periods can help the body detox well through sweat loss, which gently, slowly, and safely eliminates all heavy toxins and metals from the skin.
Most toxins can be released through the pores of the skin, relieving the burden on the liver and kidneys. Saunas that feature infrared light therapy offer added detoxification benefits as they oxygenate your cells and stimulate your body’s circulatory systems. Remember to limit your sauna sessions to a maximum of 30 minutes at a time, and drink plenty of water before and after each session.
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9. Say no to alcohol
Alcohol and detoxification simply don’t go together. You might find some unusual green juice alcohols at some bars these days, but sadly, they aren’t detox friendly. Alcohol is, in fact, one of the biggest and most harmful toxins you can add to your body. This also means that whenever it gets into your system, your body will always prioritise removing it first—leaving other calories stored as fat.
Moreover, drinking too much alcohol as a regular lifestyle choice can cause liver disease, making it even more difficult to cleanse out toxins, process foods, and regulate metabolism.
10. Drink a fresh fruit or veg juice every day
What’s a detox plan without some green juices in the mix? While drinking just fruit and veggie juices is a bit too extreme, you can always add a glass of homemade organic juice to your morning routine as an effective yet simple way to detox naturally.
Juices combine multiple vegetables and fruits, allowing you to treat your body with a big nutritious punch and a wide range of vitamins and minerals. To get your 5-a-day easily, focus on involving ingredients like kale, lemon, ginger, beetroot, and turmeric.
If you don’t love the taste of organic juices as much, you can add some spices like cinnamon into the mix for extra flavouring. Low-sugar and low-fat yoghurt can also be great for enhancing the flavour of your smoothie.
11. Practice yoga
Simply stretching your body through yoga can detoxify your system by massaging your internal organs—as unbelievable as that may sound. Many vital systems in the body can be detoxified through yoga poses, as particular poses focus on treating different areas of the body.
One simple move you can try out to aid your detox journey is the seated twist. It compresses the torso and pushes the toxins downwards through the digestive system. To practice this move, sit with your legs bent in front of you at an angle, with feet pressed flat on the floor.
Join your feet together, placing one arm behind your back and slowly swivelling your torso towards the arm. You should feel the pull at your waist. Hold the position for about five deep breaths and deepen the twist with every exhale.
12. Ensure vitamin C intake
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for detoxification. It encourages the production of glutathione in the body, which is a liver compound that helps drive toxins away. Supplying your body with a regular vitamin C intake supports your immunity and helps eliminate harmful toxins from your digestive system quickly.
As a detox practice, flushing your body with vitamin C can be highly beneficial. But keep in mind that vitamin C can have a laxative effect, so it’s best to carry out a vitamin C flush when you’re in the comfort of your home. For safety purposes, you should speak to a nutritionist about undergoing a vitamin C flush for detox purposes, and work under their supervision.
13. Don’t deprive yourself
Detoxes can sometimes be pretty intense, but you don’t necessarily need a seven-day juice to cleanse, and nor do you need to fast for days on end to see the best results. Depriving yourself is the opposite of what you should be doing for improved wellbeing. It causes stress, which is already a bad start, as it’s an unideal mental state to detoxify in.
Instead of banning every occasional treat, you should work towards building healthier habits, better lifestyle choices, and an overall improved diet plan. For instance, replace sugary and high-sodium snacks with healthier alternatives. This means chocolates don’t need to disappear altogether—just be responsible with it.
Detoxification may not look the same for everyone, but the final goal is to eliminate toxins from your body for a healthier and fitter lifestyle. It’s best to detox in several stages, starting from cutting down your sugar intake, then moving onto exercising regularly, and so on. Most of it boils down to these two fundamentals that produce consistent results. From there, you can add other natural detox methods such as upping your water intake, transitioning your diet toward more and more fruits and veggies, drinking herbal teas, and practising yoga.
Detoxing is the best way to naturally improve your immunity, help your body feel better, and fight diseases and illnesses. The sooner you start practising good detox habits, the better—and remember to pace yourself. Going in too hard will only do more harm than good, and might even push you away from trying a detox indefinitely. Incorporate safer, smaller, gentler practices that slowly make the biggest differences.