If you’ve overindulged this holiday season, you’re probably not feeling the best in yourself. The standard American diet is full of unhealthy preservatives, saturated fats, salt, sugars, and other ingredients that can affect our health, energy levels, and even day-to-day mood.
If you’re feeling bloated, sluggish, or ill, or you’re experiencing skin problems, unexplained aches and pains, and frequent colds and viruses, these are all signs that you need a detox. Detoxification can help cleanse, rest, and nourish your body from the inside out.
Through a combination of eliminating toxins and providing your body with a whole host of healthy nutrients, detoxing can help reduce your risk of disease and achieve optimum health – and all from your diet and lifestyle choices alone.
How Detoxes Work
Detox is more than just a weight loss diet, as some people assume it to be. Actually, detoxification is the process of cleansing the blood, removing impurities in the liver where toxins are processed for removal. Following a detox can also eliminate toxins from the lungs, liver, skin, and kidneys.
You’ll benefit from detox in a number of different ways. Your organs will be able to rest through fasting, and your blood circulation will improve. Not only that, but a detox can enable you to refuel your body with healthy nutrients that can help you to live more healthily on the whole.
If you’re ready to get going with a detox plan, here are 13 natural ways to detox every day to start you off:
1. Cut down on your sugar intake
Perhaps the biggest detox essential, and the best place to start on your detoxification journey, is to cut down on the amount of sugar you consume. Sugar can throw your body off-whack, leading to weight gain, high blood sugar levels, and even an increased risk of heart disease.
2. Up your water game
Drinking enough water can act as a detoxification practice in itself. Very few of us actually drink the recommended 2 litres of water a day, which can lead to dehydration, sluggishness, digestive problems, and even increased blood pressure.
If you’re the type to forget to drink water throughout the day, get yourself a 2 litre water bottle that marks how much water you’ve drank from morning to evening. Make sure to drink a tall glass of water every morning when you wake up, which is said to kick your liver into detox mode, helping to remove those unhealthy toxins from the get-go.
Add the juice from half a lemon for an extra vitamin C kick.
3. Get a good night’s rest
Detoxification isn’t all about the foods we eat. A lack of sleep over time can lead to all number of health problems while giving yourself a good night’s rest can help your body to detox and rest.
Sleep has been linked to weight loss, as well as reduced stress levels, both of which can be achieved through a well-rounded detoxification plan. Sleeping well is one of the easiest natural ways to detox as it takes virtually no effort on your part.
Just make sure your room temperature is fairly cool, eliminate any outside noises, and follow a healthy nightly sleeping routine.
4. Stock up on herbal tea
More of a coffee connoisseur than a tea lover? It’s time to switch things around. Tea is hydrating and fills you up, making you less likely to reach for an unhealthy sugary drink or snack to keep you going when your energy levels are low.
It’s also full of antioxidants, and certain herbal teas have their own detoxifying benefits. Look for teas that contain ingredients like black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and turmeric, which can help improve metabolism and boost your immune system.
Herbal tea is full of antioxidants, and its caffeine content will give you a pick-me-up without the intensity of a coffee hit.
5. Exercise regularly
If you’re fuelling your body with the right detox foods, you’ll want to maximise your detoxification potential by exercising regularly. Regular exercise is said to encourage circulation in the blood and lymph systems, as well as enhancing digestion, reducing tension, and strengthening your muscles.
Studies have found that people who exercise frequently have fewer toxins in their bodies than those that don’t. You can still find ways to work out if you don’t have time for a full session at the gym – take the stairs, walk instead of driving, or even use a basket instead of a trolly for your mid-week shop.
6. Eat more fruit and veg
The detox diet is a subject of myths and questionable practices. Some people think that living off juices, soups, or “slimming” shakes offer the most detoxification success, but actually, attempting to do this without the support of an expert nutritionist might cause more harm than good.
Instead of cutting everything bad out of your diet, look at adding more of the right stuff in. A colourful variety of fruits and vegetables will help you feel better, promoting weight loss by giving your digestive system a break from over-processed foods and putting your body into fat-burning mode.
Dark green vegetables are particularly effective cleansing foods as they’re full of micronutrients while being relatively low in calories.
7. Fast sensibly
Intermittent fasting might sound a little bit insane to you, but scientists have proved the benefits of short, sensible fasts for eliminating toxins from your body. If you’re planning to fast for detoxification purposes, make sure that when you are eating, you’re getting a high enough calorie intake to provide you with the nutrition your body needs to thrive.
It’s wise to seek advice from a nutritionist before giving intermittent fasting a go or even enrolling in a fasting retreat, where you’ll let the experts handle your diet choices in a controlled environment. Note that fasting is only a short-term practice and most fasting periods last for a maximum of 72 hours.
8. Sweat it out
Ever wondered why so many spas include saunas as part of their wellness treatments? It’s because sweating it out over a short period of time can help your body to detox by sweat loss, which safely and gently eliminates all heavy metals and toxins from the skin.
Most toxins can actually be released through the skin, which relieves the burden on the kidneys and the liver. Saunas using infrared light therapy offer even more detoxification benefits, by stimulating your body’s circulatory system and oxygenating your cells.
Just make sure you don’t stay in a sauna for longer than 30 minutes at a time, and drink plenty of water before and after your sauna experience.
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9. Stay away from the alcohol
No, not even the more unusual green juice alcohols you can find in some bars today are detox friendly. Alcohol is actually one of the biggest toxins you can put into your body, which means when it gets into our system, your body will prioritise removing it – leaving the other calories you’ve ingested from food and drink to be stored as fat.
Drinking too much alcohol over a long period of time can also cause liver disease, which will make it so much more difficult for the liver to remove toxins from your body, process foods, and regulate your metabolism.
10. Drink a fresh fruit or veg juice every day
While drinking only fruit and vegetable juices might be a little bit excessive, starting the day with a homemade juice is a simple, effective way to detoxify your body. Because juices combine multiple fruits and vegetables in one, you’ll be able to treat your body with a plethora of vitamins and minerals and achieve your 5-a-day easily.
Focus on ingredients like lemon, ginger, turmeric, beetroot, kale, and carrot. If you’re not a fan of the taste of juices, try adding spices like cinnamon for a better flavour, or low-fat, low-sugar milk or yogurt to make a simple smoothie.
11. Practice yoga
As unbelievable as it might sound, simply stretching your body into different yoga poses can help to massage your internal organs and detoxify your system. There are a number of systems in the body that yoga can help detoxify, and different poses focus on different areas.
One simple move to try out is the seated twist, which compresses the torso and encourages the downward movement of toxins through the digestive system. Sit with your legs bent at an angle in front of you and your feet pressed flat against the floor.
With your feet together, place one arm behind your back and slowly swivel your torso in the direction of your arm, feeling the pull at your waist. Hold for at least five breaths, deepening your twist with every exhale.
12. Get your vitamin C
Vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients for detoxification, as it encourages the body to produce glutathione, a liver compound that helps to drive away toxins. Flushing your body with vitamin C is said to support immunity and quickly eliminate harmful toxins from your digestive system.
Vitamin C flushing includes taking as much vitamin C as your gut can tolerate saturating your body. Be warned that a vitamin C flush produces a laxative effect, so you’ll need to be at home when you’re flushing.
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13. Don’t deprive yourself
Some detoxes can be pretty intense, but the truth of the matter is that you don’t need to do a seven-day juice cleanse or fast for hours on end to see the best detoxification results. In fact, depriving yourself of everything aside from green things and water will only serve to cause stress – not the optimum mental state for detoxification.
Instead of banning the occasional treat, work to improve your entire diet, replacing high-sodium and sugary snacks with healthier choices. This doesn’t mean the chocolate has to go entirely – just know your limits!
Detoxification might look different for every person, but the end goal is the same: to eliminate toxins for a healthier, happier life. Take your detox in stages, first cutting down on your sugar intake and exercising regularly, which are the two most important factors in detoxing and should produce immediate results. After that, you can start to add in other natural detox methods, like increasing your water consumption, eating more fruit and veg, practicing yoga, and drinking herbal teas.
Detoxing is the easiest way to make your body feel well and fight illness and disease. The sooner you can start practicing good natural detoxification habits, the better – and remember, there’s no need to go in too hard! It’s the smaller practices that make the biggest difference, and there’s no reason why we all can’t benefit from a natural detox at home.